A Simple Guide to China Pet Travel

China Dog

Relocating Pets In and Out of China

Moving your pet to or from China can seem quite daunting at first glance due to the strict import rules and quarantine requirements.

There's a welcome "however" though: while China’s regulations are confusing, the good news is that there are several options for leaving and entering China that are safe for pets – whether quarantine is included or not.

Read on to learn how relocating pets to China can be safe and routine with the right knowledge and preparation.

Ready to discuss a specific plan for your pet? Contact us to set up a consultation with our dedicated China team!

Pet Import Requirements for China

Chinese import protocols are quite strict when it comes to pets, as different cities and provinces require different items from owners (visas, passport copies, etc.) or ways of entry (manifest cargo, excess baggage, in-cabin). It's normal to have questions and to feel a little overwhelmed at first.

To start, all of China requires that all pets have a rabies vaccination within a year of departure and older than 30 days at the time of travel. Furthermore, there is a strict one pet per passport rule that cannot be avoided if entering China directly.

Many major cities in China also require that dog owners obtain a dog license once the dog has arrived into the city. Beijing even requires this document prior to export, so if you’re planning on eventually leaving China with your dog it may be a good idea to look into obtaining a dog license upon arrival. This document can be obtained by paying a visit to the local police station with your dog along with your passport, visa, and local address in hand.

Moving Multiple Pets to China

So what happens if you have more than one pet? You’re not out of luck, as there are two options for importing multiple pets into China:

  • Use another relative or friend’s passport(s) to import your other pet(s)

  • Enter China through Hong Kong

The options above also depend on your destination city in China. If you have multiple pets, reach out to your PetRelocation Consultant to determine the best option for your family. (For reference, here's the story of two happy cats who moved to Shanghai with us last summer.)

Pet Quarantine in Shanghai

Many cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, require up to 30 days of quarantine for pets upon entry.

In Shanghai, though the facility is basic, the quarantine station offers safe accommodations for pets. Here are a few helpful facts about the facility:

  • The units pets stay in are air conditioned and clean.

  • There’s an outdoor area for dogs and a cattery for cats.

  • Pets are fed twice a day and dogs are walked regularly.

  • While visitation is not allowed for security purposes, local contacts are welcome to call the facility to check in on pets throughout their stay.

How to Avoid Quarantine in China

Avoiding pet quarantine in China, while possible, can be a little complicated. As mentioned previously, going through Hong Kong is an option for entering China. By following Hong Kong’s strict import rules, we are able to avoid quarantine in China altogether.

If this is the option that interests you the most, please reach out to our team for further details about the process and read about Nela's journey from San Francisco to Shenzhen.

Pet Export Requirements for Leaving China

When you're ready to leave China, there is no pre-export quarantine for pets. This makes the process a little smoother, although it can still be tricky based on the city from which your pet is departing.

Regardless of the city, your pet will need to have a completed vaccination booklet (with stickers) from a Chinese vet, a health certificate, and an export permit. In most Chinese cities, the health certificate can only be obtained by going to a government-approved vet or a government vet, who also issues the export permit.

Because some cities require a copy of your physical passport to be present at the time of check-in for your pet, we highly recommend traveling after your pet has departed to avoid any issues with your own departure.

As you can tell from the above information, how you move your pet to or from China is largely determined by the origin and destination cities. To ensure your pet’s move is on track to be safe and smooth, please reach out to us here for more specific information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Ask the Experts


Cats, Dogs




Add a Comment

By RYADEN WANG on April 8, 2017 at 3:35 am

I have 4 cats and 1 dog want to travel from philippines to China by the end of April. What is the most convenience way? I'm a HongKong citizen but I want import directly to China.By the way, how to do calculate the charges?

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on April 10, 2017 at 8:42 am

Hello, Since you're coming from the Philippines (and we are located in the United States), we'd recommend looking for a local agent to assist you with your pets' move as this will be a more affordable option. We recommend using IPATA.org to find an agent who can help. Hope this helps, good luck!

By Michael on April 13, 2017 at 2:22 am

Hi, I heard that dogs leaving China must now come to Beijing, the quarantine office will scan microchip then can apply for health certificate, and it takes at least 3 working days to get the health certificate. These are new rules this week? But I can't find anything online about it. Is this true and do you have a link? Thank you

By kriste on December 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Hi, I was wondering if you ever figured this out. I am exporting a dog from China and I am trying to learning everything I need to know.

By bethany@petrelocation.com on December 18, 2017 at 9:23 am

Hello! Pets can be exported from any city in China, not just Beijing.

We know exporting from China can be a confusing process so if you have further questions on this, one of our specialist would be happy to advise. You're welcome to fill out our consultation form to speak with one of them here.

We hope this helps!

By Sofia Izabella on June 29, 2017 at 11:24 pm

I have a ferret. :(. I know I can get into HK with a ferret as they allow it. but Can I get from HK to China with a Ferret?

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on June 30, 2017 at 9:18 am

Hi Sofia, it may be possible! Please contact us for a consultation here to discuss your options further. Another option may be to use IPATA.org to find a reputable agent who could assist you. Hope this helps!

By Jamie on July 24, 2017 at 11:17 pm

Hi! We are considering an assignment in China that will last 2-3 years. We currently have 4 small dogs and a cat. Although, I expect we will lose our oldest dog in the next six months and before we go. If we enter through Hong Kong, is it possible to bring them all? Our son would be so upset if we couldn't bring them and it would be a deal breaker for us. I can't imagine leaving them. I am disabled and home all day. They are my companions. We appreciate your helpful information! It is so hard to make this decision from the US and having to rely on the internet to get answers. Can you imagine what people did just 20 years ago?!?

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on July 25, 2017 at 9:55 am

Hi Jamie, thanks for reaching out! Pet travel is definitely complex and often overwhelming, but we'd be happy to help you sort out your options.

To discuss your move with one of our Specialists, please contact us here to set up a consultation. We've helped many pets move to Hong Kong and can give you an overview of costs, logistics, etc. once we have a few more details.

Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!


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