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 erika on May 22, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Hi, I have been offered a job in Guangzhou and would like to take my two cats from the UK with me. My husband will be coming as well. What procedures do I need to follow? Also would it be worth asking a friend to bring them via Hong Kong to avoid quarantine? Thanks, Erika.

By maegan@petrelocation.com on May 24, 2018 at 11:48 am

Hi Erika! Congrats on the new job! The process of moving pets to China is quite complex. We'd like to suggest a phone or email consultation with one of our sales representatives. If you'd like someone on our China team to reach out to you about more information, please fill out our Arrange A Move Form Here. Looking forward to speaking with you soon!

By Emi on May 9, 2018 at 5:22 am

I would like to travel from Beijing to Berlin with 2 cats, I've read is one pet per passport but lately a few people have said this is not always followed, do you have more info about it? Also, are there any specefic regulations with regards to bringing the pets on the plane (max flight time...etc.)

By maegan@petrelocation.com on May 10, 2018 at 9:09 am

Hi Emi! Thanks for your question. China is quite complex to export pets out of. According to our local agents, in order to export your pets out of Beijing on the same airway bill, you must supply an original passport and the rule requires one passport per pet & last names must match. If the names do not match a marriage certificate is required. If a marriage certificate is not provided, pets will be shipped on separate AWB's incurring additional costs at the destination end. Flight regulations will depend on which flight is being booked for your cats. Check out our Airline Booking Guides to see our preferred commercial pet airlines. Hope this helps!

By Del on April 30, 2018 at 8:26 am

Hi there Can I relocate from singapore to bejing with my African grey parrot? I realise that Asian countries are stricter on bird entries because of avian flu... anyways I cannot find any clear answers about this. Hope you can help. Thanks

By maegan@petrelocation.com on May 10, 2018 at 9:01 am

Hi Del! Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, only dogs & cats are able to be imported into China. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

By Joanna Ma on April 22, 2018 at 7:46 pm

I'm wondering about re-entry with pets, do I need to go through all the same process again when entering or leaving china with my pet?

By maegan@petrelocation.com on April 24, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Hi Joanna!

Whenever you leave a country, your pet loses it's "resident status" so you would need a full import & export every time. Exports from China are a bit tricky depending where you are exporting your pets from. If you are looking for a service like ours to manage this process for you, here is a quick reference of what is required for export:

-One passport per pet
-Copy of valid Chinese visa page and latest entry stamp (must be current)
-Pet owner travel itinerary
-Vaccine books if the pets were vaccinated in China. If a new rabies vaccine is needed in order for a government vet to create a booklet, 30 days must still pass prior to entry.

Hope this helps!

By Brandon Lee Hinojosa on April 14, 2018 at 1:29 am

Hello,I am an American living in Macau currently but will be moving to Hangzhou in September, I have a member of the family that is a cat that was bought/rescued in Macau. What would be the process to get this little guy moved safely with me.Kind Regards

By maegan@petrelocation.com on April 16, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Hi Brandon, Thanks for your question! First, we recommend consulting with official government sources, such as a Ministry of Agriculture website when looking for export guidelines. For pet travel to China, it looks like your cat will need an ISO microchip, updated rabies vaccine, an import permit and a veterinary health certificate. If we can help in any way, please fill out our  Arrange a Move Form here. Looking forward to hearing from you!  

By Ed on March 28, 2018 at 4:58 am

Hi there,I would like to import a pedigree puppy from abroad (eg Japan) into China, where I live, I'm worried about the conditions/ reputability/ ability of local Chinese breeders.What would the best way be to get a new pup (eg 8 weeks) into China in the most painless way for a young dog being separated from its mum for the first time?Thanks!Ed

By cquezada@petrelocation.com on April 5, 2018 at 11:30 am

Hi Ed! Since we don't move puppies under four months old, I recommend contacting an IPATA pet shipper to see a) if they move puppies, and b) what they would suggest in this situation. There is a directory on their website where you can search pet moving companies by location. Hope this helps!

By Sarah on March 10, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Hi! We're two Americans living in Prague but are relocating to Shanghai. We have a two year old bunny who is part of our family. Can you bring rabbits into China? If so, can you take them back out? Thanks for the info!

By maegan@petrelocation.com on March 14, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for reaching out! Importing rabbits to and from China is quite complex. If you'd like a consultation about your options, please fill out our Arrange A Move Form here.

Good luck and please let us know how we can help!

By Jason Roseberry on February 27, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Hello. I am considering a year-long contract to teach at university in China. My wife, 4 month old daughter and 4 dogs (2 Labradors, a Border Collie and an American Staffordshire Terrier) will be going as well. All of my dogs have flown/moved across country (Indianapolis, IN, to San Francisco, CA, and back) before, but they are all seniors now (labs and border collie are 10, AmStaff is 8).What is the least stressful way to move them there and back (flight...how long; ship, etc.)? Also, given their age, what is the best way to avoid quarantine as they would not do well in isolation for 30 days (our AmStaff is leery of strangers and afraid of other dogs she does not know)?Obviously, whether or not we accept this assignment, which would be a wonderful experience for our family, depends on if we can bring along our furry family members without too much stress.

By cquezada@petrelocation.com on February 28, 2018 at 2:08 pm

Hello Jason!

First of all, it is great that your dogs are experienced travelers and seem to have done well on prior trips—acclimation to a crate (as I’m sure you know) is a big part of successful pet travel! To go over your options on a move like this, especially with you wanting to avoid quarantine, I recommend submitting this form for a complimentary consultation with one of our experts who knows the ins and outs of China travel. We have relocated many dogs there including Nela, Luca and Polo. We look forward from hearing from you!

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