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 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!

By Menh on February 17, 2018 at 1:25 am

Is it possible to bring a hamster from China to Macau, then from Macau to Malaysia?

By cquezada@petrelocation.com on February 19, 2018 at 10:40 am

Hi Menh! To check the requirements for bringing a hamster into Macau or Malaysia, we suggest contacting the government entities that regulate animal imports. You can view the Macau website "here and the information for Malaysia here. If you plan to return to China, you will need to make sure the requirements for import are met there as well. For professional assistance with this move, you can search a directory of local shippers on the IPATA website who may have more specific knowledge in each of these countries. Hope this helps!

By Jai on February 3, 2018 at 7:39 pm

Hello! I want to move from Shenzhen to Beijing. Do I need to obtain paperwork to do so? Thanks!!

By cquezada@petrelocation.com on February 5, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Hello Jai! You shouldn’t need any documents for travel within China other than a health certificate, but you may need a license for your pet in Beijing. I suggest checking with the government there to confirm what type of document residents must obtain for their pets once they move there. Hope this helps!

By Stephanie Priolo on February 2, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Hi, I will possibly be moving from Canada to China. I have two cats that I want to take with me. Is it possible to take them?

By cquezada@petrelocation.com on February 5, 2018 at 10:14 am

Hi Stephanie, and thanks for your question! Yes, you can move to China with your cats. As you begin planning your trip, I recommend reading the guide above, which lists the requirements and options for importing pets there. If you would like to speak with a pet relocation consultant about your move, please fill out some additional information on our Arrange a Move form and someone on our team will contact you as soon as possible!

By Zoe on January 31, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Hi! I have a ferret at Shenzhen, China. I adopted from it’s former master. Is it possible transmit it from China to London. I don’t have any files about my ferret. She is about 3 years old now. How can I make it? And what I shall do for? Please help me. Best wishes for you all Zoe

By cquezada@petrelocation.com on January 31, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Hi Zoe,

Good question. For ferrets, the import requirements for the UK are the same as dogs and cats. You can find a list of these requirements here. Since China is an unlisted country of origin according to the UK, you must have a blood test drawn that checks for rabies antibodies. Here is some additional information on the requirements for unlisted countries.

You will also need to fulfill some requirements to export your ferret. This will likely include a microchip, rabies certification, distemper vaccinations, and an export health certificate issued by a government veterinarian in the origin city. Please check with your government’s agriculture department to verify this information before you begin planning your move.

If you would like to speak with one of our pet relocation consultants about this, please fill out our Arrange a Move form and someone on our team will contact you as soon as possible.

Hope this helps!

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