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 Jacqueline on June 27, 2018 at 7:24 am

Hi,I'm about to move to Nanchang to teach at JXUT. How difficult would it be to bring my Ring Neck Parakeet with me?Many thanks.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on June 27, 2018 at 8:59 am

Hi Jacqueline! We only move pets as "manifest cargo" which means they travel on their own plane ticket and are not tied to passenger's plane ticket. When traveling this way to China, only dogs & cats are able to be imported. It would be best to contact China directly for any import requirements. Feel free to check out our blog post about moving birds for any additional tips & tricks. Sorry we could not be of more assistance, hope this helps!

By Kai on June 25, 2018 at 9:43 am

Hi!I am trying to move a dog out of Macau. Can he fly directly to my country or will he have to go through Hong Kong? I’ve seen Hong Kong has a 4 month quarantine.. do you know what the process looks like on the Macau side?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on June 27, 2018 at 8:48 am

Hi Kai! Thanks for your question. Routing will depend on what country your pet will be relocating to. However, moving pets out of Macau is a bit of a complicated process, but is something we have arranged before! Your pup will need to see the Macau Government for the issuing of the Macau Health Certificate. Then you will need to purchase a customs form before departure on Macau side. We typically take a ferry from Macau to Hong Kong then arrange for your pet to stay overnight in Hong Kong. There is also a transit permit required to transit Hong Kong which we would obtain on your behalf. Then we would book your pet's flight the next day. If you would like to get a consultation from one of our specialists, please fill out our Arrange A Move form. Looking forward to speaking with you!

By Omri on June 16, 2018 at 7:38 am

Hi, I’m visiting China soon and I would like to come back to Israel with a dog.. We gonna visit Beijing, can you recommend me any service can take care for the documents and approvements required..? Thanks!

By Maegan at PetRelocation on June 16, 2018 at 5:47 pm

Hi Omri! Yes, please fill out our Arrange A Move form here and one of our representatives will reach out to you to discuss options. Looking forward to speaking with you!

By Anthony Edwards on May 30, 2018 at 11:04 am

Hello... I am going to be working in Tianjin, China. I am wondering if I can fly into Tianjin with my cat, using Asiana Airlines, and if there is a current quarantine there? I have heard of Asiana Airlines travelers flying there and not having had to quarantine them. You are right...it is confusing and complex, mainly because there is not a "black and white" site that states policies clearly... Please help.... lol

By Maegan at PetRelocation on May 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm

Hi Anthony!

To the best of our knowledge, if you are booking your cat as "excess baggage" or "in-cabin" into TSN there is no quarantine. Since your pet will be tied to your plane ticket, you will be responsible for all the paperwork for entry & customs clearance for your kitty. We have not had specific experience with pets traveling on Asiana Airlines.

When using our services, we would book your pet's flight as "manifest cargo" which gives us the ability to control the import requirements & paperwork. We typically fly all pets into the larger ports in China (PVG, PEK, CTU) because we have better flight routing, agents & offices available for customs clearance. Unfortunately, if you are looking for assistance into TSN, we do not have an office in Tianjin (TSN) that could assist. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please fill out our Arrange A Move form here. Thanks!

By AH on June 12, 2018 at 8:26 pm

Which airlines allow cars to travel in the cabin to China or Hong Kong?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on June 16, 2018 at 5:49 pm

Hi! We only book pets as "manifest cargo" which means they travel safely in the cargo hold. Feel free to check out our Airline Booking Guide for DIY information. Good luck!

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 at PetRelocation 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 at PetRelocation 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 at PetRelocation 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 at PetRelocation 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!

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