How To Move Overseas With Your Pet

How To Move Overseas With Your Pet

So you’re making the big move overseas. Moving with your cat or dog is stressful enough, but moving overseas is the next level.


Before The Move

  • The hardest and most heartbreaking question is whether the move is the best decision for your pet. Consider your pet’s age and health. Talk to your Vet if you need help with the decision.
  • Will you be able to keep your pet with you in your new living situation?
  • Will your pet’s quality of life be at least as good as it is now?
  • Is there a Veterinary Practice within an acceptable distance from your new home?
  • Do you intend to go back to your home country eventually with your pet? If so, what are your country’s requirements for your return?

The Move

  • Take action as soon as you know you are moving. The preparation can be a long and expensive process.
  • Consider consulting a pet transport service. They have the knowledge and experience to take the pressure off you.
  • Work out a timetable for the tasks required.
  • Contact the Consulate of your destination country. Every country has its own regulations, including vaccinations, health certificates and quarantining.
  • If you are not driving, contact the airline, Amtrak, or rail services for other areas, such as Canada or Europe. They will be able to advise of their rules, including the type of travel crate or carrier required. The Queen Mary 2 allows pets on their cruises.
  • Keep in mind any stopovers and changes of airline along the way. There may be a list of different requirements.
  • Contact your Vet. If they are not experienced in preparing a pet for overseas travel, ask them to recommend an alternative Vet. Your Vet can also help you to put your pet’s passport together.
How To Move Overseas With Your Pet

Pet Passport

The Pet Passport originally referred to the documents required for a pet to travel around the EU. Now it is the general term for a group of documents that will allow your pet to visit a foreign country.

Your Pet Passport will allow your pet to be accepted without quarantine in some countries. However, some countries require quarantining as a matter of course.

Your pet’s passport will contain at least the following items, but some countries may require more information.

  • Your pet will need a Health Certificate prepared by your Vet. It may also be known as a Veterinary Certificate or even a Sanitary Certificate. If you are traveling from the USA and the country you need to enter does not have a specific health certificate, you can use an International Health Certificate USDA-APHIS 7001. The Health Certificate will require a minimum of the following information:
  • Pet’s name
  • Breed
  • Color
  • Pet's age
  • Country of origin
  • Owner's name and contact details
  • You will need an Annex IV form specific to each country you will be entering. This will be prepared by your Vet.
  • Your Vet needs to attach your pet’s inoculation record to the Annex IV. This is also known as Proof of Rabies Vaccination.
  • Your Vet will be able to tell you when the rabies vaccination needs to be administered before travel.
  • Check the regulations of the country you are entering regarding rabies vaccinations.
  • Some countries require proof of other vaccinations or tests, such as tapeworm or ticks.
  • If you are traveling from the USA, you will need your documents to be endorsed by the USDA.
  • Some countries will require a translation of the documents to be included.
  • Some countries require an Import Permit or a Declaration of Non-Commercial Transport to show that your pet is not being sold.
  • Some airlines require an Acclimation Certificate as well as a health certificate before air travel.
How To Move Overseas With Your Pet

Documents To Keep With You While Traveling

  • Health Certificate
  • Annex IV form – one for each country
  • Inoculation record including any tests required for a specific country
  • Import permit, if required
  • Declaration of Non-Commercial Transport, if required
  • Acclimation Certificate, if required
  • Recent color photo of your pet
  • Your Vet’s contact information
  • List of Vets for emergency treatment during your journey and at your destination
  • Insurance papers for your pet’s possible veterinary treatment
  • A copy of your pet’s health records
  • Any medications required by your pet
  • Microchip details
  • Travel ID tag with local contact details for each country you are visiting

Take A Deep Breath

Don’t let this process overwhelm you; you can do this with a bit of organization. If I were undertaking this move, I would be buying a notebook specifically for my pets’ arrangements, and I would take the notebook with me while traveling.

  • Read as much as you can about each countries’ requirements
  • Take notes of requirements and write down your questions regarding unclear items
  • Speak to the people involved and ask questions until you fully understand what is required
  • Take notes of what people say, and who said it when
  • Create a timetable as you confirm each requirement
  • Create reminders for each task on the timetable

When you are in the middle of this and you are wondering why on earth you are doing this, go over to your pet and look into his or her eyes.

If you have any stories about moving overseas with your pet that might help someone else, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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