updated on December 15, 2020:
we have an important message for pet parents looking to plan travel to Australia. due to recent pet program suspensions for major airlines that service this location, we have new temporary routing from the united states. you can read all the details here.
Due to quarantine capacity, the earliest we are planning moves to Australia is June 2021.
We’ve mentioned a few times that bringing a cat or dog to Australia can be a complicated and lengthy process, taking careful planning and attention to detail to handle successfully.
Read on to learn more about import permits, quarantine, and other helpful tips to build a successful move plan for your pet.
Theo moved from the US to Australia with us in 2019
Pet Import Requirements for Australia
Your pet’s requirements for import into Australia is largely determined by the country your pet will be coming from. Australia groups countries into four separate categories: Group 1 (New Zealand, Norfolk Island, and Cocos Island), Group 2 (approved rabies-free countries or territories), Group 3 (approved countries or territories where rabies is absent or well-controlled), and Non-Approved Countries. As the group number increases, the rules and regulations you will have to follow to import your pet increase as well.
When traveling to Australia, you will need to closely follow vaccine and blood test regulations to ensure your pet meets the requirements to obtain an import permit (more on that below). All pets will need a microchip, rabies vaccine, titer test, and internal and external parasite treatment. Dogs, however, will also need additional vaccines and blood tests.
Estimated costs for vaccinations: There are at least five veterinarian visits required for a move to Australia. Depending on your own veterinarian's fees, we estimate approximately $1,500 USD for these services.
Brynn moved to Australia with our help in 2019
Obtaining an Import Permit
After your dog or cat has passing results for the Rabies Antibody Titer Test and these results have been endorsed by a government entity, it’s time to apply for an import permit using Australia’s BICON (Biosecurity Import Conditions) System.
Once you have created an account, simply follow the prompts BICON provides to apply for your pet’s import permit. You’ll be required to upload the following documentation:
- Rabies vaccination certificate
- Rabies Antibody Titer Test results
- RNATT Declaration from your country’s government
Most import permits take 10 to 20 days to be assessed, but it can take longer in busy seasons or if you have a complicated import permit application. For example, if your pet is coming from an unapproved country, there will be more steps and dates to assess. You can usually expect an additional 14 days for approval.
If you have hired PetRelocation to assist in your move, your dedicated relocation coordinator will arrange the import permit for you.
Estimated costs for the import permit: The Australia Department of Agriculture (DAFF) charges $480 AUD for the first pet, and $240 AUD each additional pet.
Health Certificates and USDA Endorsements
For export from the United States to any foreign country, your pet must have a country-specific health certificate issued by a USDA-Accredited Veterinarian. This health certificate must be sent to your state’s USDA office for endorsement. It must be issued within 5 days of travel and endorsed by the USDA.
Ask your veterinarian if they have the proper USDA accreditation. Failure to do so could result in extra time and expenses associated with additional appointments and testing. If you are working with a PetRelocation coordinator, we will work closely with your veterinarian to ensure all complicated requirements are met.
Estimated costs for endorsements: There are two endorsements needed when moving pets to Australia. The first, the RNATT, costs $121 USD per pet. The final paperwork endorsement should be completed no more than 5 days prior to departure at the port USDA office, which costs $150 USD per pet.
Crate Training and Traveling as Manifest Cargo
Pets traveling into Australia may only arrive as manifest cargo. This is for your pet’s safety and accountability. “Manifest cargo allows for traceability of your cat or dog,” states the Australian Government Department of Agriculture website.
This means it’s important to start acclimating your pet to their travel crate early and practice crate training often.
Maverick, practicing crate training before his Australia move in 2016
Estimated costs for manifest cargo airfreight: Manifest cargo flights for pets are based on dimensional weight (or how much space your pet takes up in the aircraft). For international flights, these fees can range from $1,000 USD for a Chihuahua and up to $4,500 USD for a Great Dane.
Once your dog or cat arrives in Australia, they will be transferred directly to the Mickleham quarantine station for a mandatory 10-day stay. Quarantine may seem like a scary time for your pet, especially since there is no visitation allowed, but Mickleham offers great accommodations and care to pets during their quarantine stay. A specific handler is often assigned to each pet to ensure the handler can closely monitor any changes during the pet’s quarantine period and react appropriately.
To learn all about the Mickleham facility, staff, and costs, read our blog post about preparing for your dog or cat’s stay at Mickleham. We also encourage you to visit the Australia website covering this information here.
Please note: Australia's quarantine facility is at full capacity as of December 15, 2020. The earliest availability for arrival into Australia is June 2021.
Luke moved to Australia with us in 2019
Breakdown of Costs for Moving Dogs and Cats to Australia
While this is by no means an extensive list of the possible costs you could incur when relocating your pet to Australia, this chart should help you in understanding what you should be prepared for when budgeting for a pet’s move.
|Service||Notes||Cost (in USD)|
|Veterinarian Services||Includes vaccines, blood work, and final health certificates.||$1,500 (approx)|
Cost for first pet, required to reserve quarantine.
For additional pets.
|Includes entry fee, stay, daily feedings and other accommodations.||$1,320*|
|Two sets of paperwork need to be endorsed with the USDA.||$271|
|Dependent on the size and weight of your pet.||$1,000- $4,500|
Moving Pets to Australia from Non-Approved Countries
If you are planning to move your pet to Australia, the country of export is an important factor. Australia's Department of Agriculture will not allow pets to arrive directly into Australia from countries that are declared “Non-Approved”.
If your pet is currently in a non-approved country, it is still possible to move him or her to Australia. First, you should have your pet's blood drawn for a TITER or RNATT test in the country in which they currently reside. This blood sample should be sent to an approved lab for testing. Then, at least 60 days before your desired date of departure for Australia, your pet must relocate to an approved country. If PetRelocation is arranging your pet's move, we would suggest relocating them first into the United States. If you cannot accompany your pet to the United States, PetRelocation can arrange boarding and veterinary consultation on your behalf.
Estimated costs boarding pets arriving in the United States from “un-approved” countries: Boarding one pet is $40 a day and veternary visits and consultations are estimated at $1600. The minimum cost for boarding and veterinaty accomodations for one pet is $4,000. Please be mindful this is in conjunction with other costs and services listed above.
Pets Other Than Cats and Dogs
It may not be possible to bring pets other than cats and dogs into Australia unless traveling from New Zealand. Australia has strict policies when it comes to importing other species in order to protect the current animal population and environment. It is best to check the BICON (Biosecurity Import Conditions) System to see if your pet is permitted for import into Australia.
We do recommend referencing the DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) website for guidance on your pet’s travels to Australia, but it is important to keep in mind that your origin country’s export procedures and nuances are not included in the information provided.
Pet Export Requirements for Leaving Australia
Leaving Australia with a pet is a much simpler process than entering. However, If you’re planning on returning to Australia after your pet travels abroad, it could be a lengthy process, and if your pet is not a cat or dog, it may be impossible. Before moving from Australia we recommend reading the rules to re-import pets on the website here.