Pet Travel to Australia – Changes in Import Rules in 2014

Pet Travel to AustraliaWe get a lot of questions about traveling to Australia with a pet. It is an exciting and beautiful destination and worth spending time exploring with your pet.

Australia just announced changes to its import policies which will make it easier and less expensive for pet owners to bring their dog or cat Down Under. Starting in February 3, 2014, pets will be able subject to reduced quarantine (30 days to 10 days) if they have a Blood Titer Test (RNATT) done between 6 and 24 months prior to entry. (Presently, regulations call for 3 months ahead of time.) This will reduce costs for quarantine, much less time spent away from our pets.

There is another important change to the rules for pet import to Australia. Dogs and cats originating in non DAFF approved countries can enter Australia through an DAFF approved country as long as they meet the regulations to enter the approved country.  No longer must pets reside in the approved country for six months prior to entering Australia.

You will still need an Import Permit and your pet will need a 15 digit microchip and veterinary health certificate. There are also vaccination requirements and tests. If you are planning a trip to Australia with a pet and you already have an Import Permit, you can change your permit as long as you remit a fee and are not importing your pet until February 3, 2014.

There are other changes as well. You can find current regulations to import your dog or cat to Australia here.

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Pet Travel to Australia – Changes in Import Rules in 2014 — 60 Comments

  1. Jack – yes, your son’s dog must fly as air cargo into Melbourne for 10 days of mandatory quarantine anyway and it can fly unaccompanied under this class of service. We generally transport out of LAX. There are agents there that can assist with booking and final preparations. You can search for one at

  2. My son has been transferred to Australia so there is no time to go through the 6 month pre-process here in the states before my son leaves for Australia. If I go through the front end of the process in the U.S. and complete all of the necessary steps can the animal be transported at a later date to Australia without me traveling on the flight to Melbourne with the animal?

  3. Swetha – it is very challenging to import a dog or cat to Australia from any country. Because India is not an approved country for direct import to Australia, you will need to move your dog to an approved country 4-6 weeks before import for testing and treatments. The entire process to import a dog or cat to Ausstralia takes a minimum of 180 days to complete. You can find it here: It will be a very expensive move as there are hefty import taxes and your dog will need to fly as air cargo which is also an expensive class of service. Let us know if you need more information.

  4. Hi guys,
    I want my dog , shihtzu breed to bring from India to Australia only for 3 months and send it back again to India. Before taking this step I just want to know what are the procudures to be followed and what will the cost be involved for this?

  5. Hi Jemma – yes, this forum is active and checked every day (sometimes twice a day) for questions and comments.

    As to your question, we are not aware of the prices that all of these labs charge for the titer test (wish we could help you with that). Exchange rates could also play a part. We do know that the rates for the lab in the UK seem competitive; however, we do not know how they compare to the other labs.

    It is interesting that this agency that you are working with requires that you identify your pet’s mix as Australia does not ban crosses. (although some airlines do…) Breed identification is something you may want to discuss with your veterinarian if you decide to pursue this agency.

    Assuming that you are still in the Philippines, it may behoove you to work with an agent in an approved country to be sure your pup has proper documentation to clear customs and then proper documentation to enter Australia. The hardest part of this transport is the verification that all the testing and treatments have been done according to Australia’s regulations before import. If you need an agent in your approved country, then you can search for one at (not sure where you will be moving your pup)

  6. I’m not sure if this thread will still be active but I’ll ask my question here just in case. I’m try to bring my rescued street dog from the Philippines to Australia (via an approved group 2 or 3 country). The rabies titre test must be performed in Australia or an OIE lab overseas. The costs of sending the blood to Australia to be tested are close to $1000. I have emailed some of the OIE approved labs listed on the Australian government import checklist online to see which will accept blood from the Philippines. Most of the costs seem to be in the postage of the sample rather than the testing fees and I’m not sure how to find out where will be cheapest. If you have any idea how I could find this out I’d be very grateful.

    I also want to know if my dog being a mongrel street dog/local dog (askal/aspin) will make the process any more difficult. I tried to go through a service that arranges all of the requirements for travel but they couldn’t proceed without me being able to select a breed or mix of breeds from a list.

    Thank you very much for your help,


  7. Gautam – importing a pet, especially a cat, is challenging for any pet owner entering Australia from any country. But those wanting to enter from non-approved countries is more difficult because of change to an approved country prior to transport to Australia. Many pet owners move their pet to countries where they have family or friends in an approved country who can care for their pet, but many do not have this opportunity. It is also very expensive as Australia requires that pets enter the country as air cargo and pay a hefty import fee. All said, if you are traveling to Australia to visit, you may not want to put that stress on your cat. If you are going to Australia to live for a significant amount of time, and you have no one in India to care for your cat and cannot find a loving family to adopt your cat, then this is a question you need to ask. Is turning them into a shelter a good alternative?

    Your cat will take a bit of time to get over the process, but they do. The best thing you can do is to get your vat acclimated to being in a crate and get it out of its environment in the crate. If you do this way in advance of travel, it will help them see their crate as their safe place. This takes effort on your part but it makes a difference.

    Malaysia will require 7 days of quarantine to enter the country ( while Singapore will require 30 ( when entering from India.

  8. I wish to take my cat to Australia from India. How risky is air travel for cats knowing the fact that they get stressed as soon as they step outside the house. Will my cat survive the number of blood tests, air travel to Singapore, Quarantine of 45 days in Singapore/Malaysia followed by another leg of travel to Melbourne and another quarantine there for 10 days. Appreciate your input and any positive case studies please.

  9. Gerry – it will take 180 days to complete the requirements for your pet to enter Australia. The first steps are to get your pet microchipped and vaccinated for rabies if you have not done that already. If your pet was not vaccinated recently, then wait for 3-4 weeks and get it a rabies titer test. This must be done 180 days before entering Australia. The blood sample must be processes in an OIE laboratory if you are not located in a country that is approved for import to Australia. More details here:

  10. Hi, I have submitted my PR visa to Australia and it could take 7 to 9 months. Can I start to apply for my pet’s import permit and do the medical check few months before my visa approval?

  11. Nathan – Assuming your dog is in a country approved for direct import to Australia,once the results of the 180 day titer test have returned, you submit them to the veterinary division of the Dept. of Agriculture for endorsement. Then you can file for import permit and quarantine space. You must wait for 180 days before importing your dog, but you can follow the time frames of other tests and treatments during this period.

  12. Hi I have a question regarding the 180 day process.

    I am in the process of taking my dog back to Australia, Once I do the RNATT test do I have to wait until the 180 days has passed until I can apply for the import permit and Quarantine? Or can this be done during the 180 day period as long as my dog is coming into Australia after the 180 days have passed? I am hoping to be back in Melbourne by March next and and I am not sure on waiting times at quarantine to have a Kennel available.

  13. Nadya – you can start the 180 day titer test in Indonesia. Your dog will need another one when you move it to an approved country. It can stay in Indonesia until 6-8 weeks before traveling to Australia. The concern is that you cannot apply for the import permit and reserve quarantine space for your dog until the second titer test is done in an approved country. You do not need to live in the approved country for 6 months, but all testing and treatments must be done in an approved country and your dog must enter Australia from the approved country. More details here:

  14. Hi there, i have flown my dog from sydney to indonesia, and it was a piece of cake.
    Now bringing back in i dont know where to begin. So how to relocate a dog to an approved country? I’m thinking the closest is malaysia / singapore. If i’m not wrong, the 1st step is to export a pet to singapore/malaysia? , and how long to stay in this transit country? It says in category 2 country like singapore a pet must stay for 6 months, but in category 3 country like malaysia did not stated how long a pet must stay.
    Do we have to do the paperwork done in Indonesia or in approved country?

  15. Paul – the titer test to re-enter Australia is good for 24 months after the date the blood is drawn. That said, the Philippines is not an approved country for direct import to Australia. What that means is that as long as your dog is microchipped, vaccinated for rabies and titer tested in Australia, the rabies vaccination has been kept current, and you are not entering Australia more than 24 months after the date of the titer test, you will need to take your dog to an approved country at least 6 weeks ahead of time for additional testing and treatments. Your pet must enter Australia from the approved country. You should discuss this with the Department of Agriculture before leaving Australia. Details here:

  16. I am relocating to the Philippines from Australia in January for 2 years. If I have the titer test done in Australia before we depart can I bring my dog back under the normal 10 day quarantine providing I return her inside the 24 months.

  17. Jade – in order to conform to Australia’s requirements to import a pet, it will take a minimum of 180 days. Your pet does not need to stay in the approved country for the entire time, but it needs to go to the approved country for all vaccinations, tests and treatments. As far as entering the approved country, different countries have different rules. In order to qualify for rabies-free or rabies-controlled status, your pet must reside in the country for at least 6 months. That is the general rule. You can import a pet who has not lived in an approved county for 6 months, but it will be subject to more stringent regulations in most cases.

  18. Hi there,
    I am trying to find out whether I need to be a resident of a country for six months or more to be able to import a pet cat to Australia please? It will have to be via an ‘approved’ country as the pet is currently in Nepal with my sister, who is working there for three months.
    Alternatively, are there any approved countries that do not require six months of residency to import a pet?
    Thank you in advance.

  19. Hi ,

    I am moving to Australia and want to take my pet dog along .Can someone help me with the procedure and the approximate cost for the same.

    Please advise .Need urgent help

  20. Luna – you have a very good handle on the process. Your pup will need another titer test after entering the US and a licensed vet will do the blood work and parasite treatments according to Australian regulations. Your pup will leave from the US to Australia. Not sure which coast you will be leaving from, but we always use LAX for our transports to Australia. Once arriving in Australia, your pet is subject to 10 days of quarantine. Yes, if they do find a tick on your pet, there will likely be additional quarantine until the treatments are administered. You will be allowed to visit your pet. The quarantine facility is in Melbourne and is that is the only city you can enter Australia with your pet.

  21. Hi, I have two cats (each one year old) who are both neutered and vaccinated. I’m from a non DAFF-approved country (India) and wish to import my pets to Australia. I have read here that the rules for import have changed recently. So i’m asking this question here just to make sure that I have understood them correctly.
    First I do a titer test in India atleast 6 months in advance.
    Secondly, stay in a DAFF-approved country, lets say the USA, for 6 weeks while conforming to USA’s entry requirements. During this stay I have my pets undergo a final round of vaccinations in the US.
    After these 6 weeks in the USA, pets enter Australia where they stay in quarantine. so this is where its confusing for me. Do they stay in quarantine for 10 days or 30 days, or longer? Or is quarantine of more than 10 days required only if they find something on the pets (ex:ticks)? During this period of seclusion, will I be allowed to visit them?
    Kindly help!

  22. Jane – according to regulations, the titer test must be done 180 days in advance. Australia does not offer the option to import a pet earlier for extended quarantine.

  23. I know to bring a cat into Australia “quarantine” is 180 days in the originating country (USA) and then the cat only spends 10 days in quarantine in Australia. If you need to send the cat prior to the 180 days are you allowed to with just a longer period of quarantine in Australia?

  24. Australia requires a titer test be administered 6 months in advance of entry. The date the blood is drawn is recorded as is the place where the test took place. There are additional tests that must be done in timed intervals ahead of travel. It is up to the owner to provide dated results of those tests. It would be ill advised to mis-represent the dates these tests were performed. Your pet would immediately be returned to the country of origin.

  25. I am just curious… and going to play the devils advocate…if I go to a category 2 country with my dog before australia, how do they verify my dog has been there six months? Maybe I go to (category 2 country like singapore) and adopt a street dog. Then want to go to Australia one month later. How does the country verify where the dog has been for six months?

  26. For those commenting i imoorted my dog from thailand to aust in 2014. He and i flew to america and had to live there for 6mnths to be elligible to enter aust, as america in an ‘approved country’ and thailand is not.
    Afrer america he had to do 10days quarantine in aust. That part alone cost $1800.
    i beieve now animal can stay in its own country for that 6mnths as long as it has an rnat test done – must be done 180days prior to entering aust. It has to follow other requirements too, and then has to reside for 45 days in approved country before entering aust. So that part has changed from 6mnths in approved country to 45 days in approved country, but the 180day test precedure and other tests still remain.

  27. Sheetal – India is not a DAFF-approved country and so, your pups cannot be imported directly from that country, regardless of their origin. What you can do is to have them both titer tested (in India) as this must be done a minimum of 6 months in advance. About 6 weeks prior to import, you must take them to a DAFF-approved country, they must conform to the requirements of that country, and have the final rounds of testing done in that country and enter Australia from that country. You can find more information about this here:

  28. Hi,
    I want to bring my two miniature dachshunds to Australia from India. They are originally from the United States(born and resided). They have all the paper work from their country of origin. Also they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and are in perfect health. I will do all the mandated tests and the documents for them before I leave. Kindly Advise.

  29. I cant seem to f?nd the l?st of parroved countr?es for Asutral?a…I have looked everywhere! Can ? br?ng my cat to Austral?a from Turkey?

  30. Deidre – unfortunately, Indonesia is not a DAFF approved country and your pet cannot enter from that country. You will have to enter an approved country, meet their requirements and enter from the approved country.

  31. Check the department websight. It has a calculator. You put in where you are comibg from, what animal and when you plan to artive. It list what you need to do and when it should be done.

  32. Nancy – it is expensive to bring cats into Australia and they have recently increased their import fees significantly. We know of no way to consign cats, although your airline may accept them in the same crate if their policy permits it. You may have to shop around for that benefit.

    It would be advisable to prepare in advance, however. If you have 6 months to do the titer test, you can cut your quarantine from 30 days to 10 days. Wish we could offer more advice on how to make the import more reasonable.

  33. Hi, I’m moving back to Australia from Taiwan and I’m planning to bring my 3 cats with me. Just wondering is there any chance I can bring down the cost, for example by having them in the same consignment? I remember there used to be a discount for shared consignment… The 3 of the get alone very well.

    As Sue said it’s now very expensive to bring pets to Australia. But I really don’t want to give up any of my cats.

  34. Sue – you have a valid point and we objected to the higher fees when given an opportunity. It is unfortunate that the island is in such demand from travelers and their quarantine facilities are expensive to run. Insufficient funding is always a difficult issue to overcome, even when public input is welcome.

  35. I find your article interesting by you saying it is cheaper and easier.

    It certainly is not cheaper. Quarantine may have come down to ten days, but the fees have doubled. $2500 for import permit and ten days of quarantine.

    Most will still be required to wait the 6 months after the rnat testing. I’m yet to see where it is cheaper an quicker.

  36. Kami – your pets must have met Singapore’s quarantine requirements and enter the country. This would most likely take 30 days to accomplish. After that time, you could enter Australia from by meeting their requirements with a 30 day quarantine unless your vet administers the Blood Titer Test at least 180 days prior to travel, then the quarantine would be reduced to 10 days.

  37. I want to bring my 2 beautiful dogs from India to Australia. Am I able to take them to Singapore and have them in quarantine for around 30 days, then I can take them on to Australia? Or does it mean that they will have to be quarantined for a further 5 months in Australia? I thought the new rules meant that Australia now accepts the approved country’s quarantine rules and that there would only be 10 to 30 days for quarantine in Australia.


  38. Hi Peta – South Africa is not a DAFF approved country, so you will not be able to enter Australia directly. You must enter a DAFF approved country first, conform to their requirements, then fulfill requirements for Australia. You can find a list of DAFF approved countries here: Many of the DAFF approved countries in Asia are difficult to enter or have residency requirements. Entering from New Zealand will require quarantine and a 90 day stay after quarantine. You can find entry requirements for all countries here:

    Miniature MALTESE 2.4kg

    Please advise
    Kind regards

  40. Hi
    We are planning to leave from SOUTH AFRICA with two dogs….Arrival TIme JANUARY 2014

    WHAT doe we need to do?

    WHAT set of inoculations do we need to do?

    When do we need to start?

    How long would Quarantine be for?

    We heading OF to BRINGELLY NEW SOUTH WALES …where will the dogs be kept in Quarantine??

    Please can you help me with this

  41. Manasi – legislation passed over one year ago prohibited pets from entering India unless they were accompanied by their owners who were relocating to India to live or re-entering the country for residence purposes. It is not feasible to take your pets to India for short periods of time. In your case, there is another problem. India is not a DAFF approved country to import a pet. It will be extremely expensive and difficult to get your pets back into Australia. Best to leave them in Australia if possible. Sorry.

  42. Hi There,

    I have been living in melbourne for past 7 years and I have a dog who is 3 years old and my cat is 2 years old .I was wandering what would be the quarantine time and requirements for me,if I want to take them to India for a 4-6 weeks and then bring them back to melbourne?

  43. Renata – according to the DAFF website: The animal is not eligible for export to Australia until at least one hundred and eighty (180) days have passed from the date that the blood sample is drawn for the RNAT test (with a satisfactory result).

  44. Renata – I think you are mistaken, those are the old rules the new rules only require 10 to 30 days (maximum)quarantine in Australia and not at all in the country of departure.

  45. I have done extensive research and spoke to authorities, the stay in quarantine in Australia has to cover the 6 months if not taken in the exporting country. So if you have 3 months only in exporting country, then 3 months will be required in Australia.

  46. Julie – in order to be eligible for the minimum 10 day quarantine stay, you would have to be entering from an approved country and have the RNATT done at least 6 months ahead of time. Because that is not possible, your pet would be subject to the 30 day quarantine.

  47. I know about the rule changes for quarantine times once a dog arrives in Australia – but what I want to know is IF I don’t get the RNATT done at least 6 mths before departure – does that automatically mean a longer stay in quarantine once the dog arrives in Australia ? My plan is to fly in late March – which gives me only 3 months.
    Please advise what this would mean for length of stay at quarantine facility.

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