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.

While we’ve covered Australia in our Spotlight Series in the past, we thought it might be helpful to revisit certain pieces that add to the complexity of the rules to import pets to Australia.

Read on to learn more about import permits, quarantine, and other helpful tips to learn how to build a successful move plan for your pet.

Ready to speak with an expert about your pet’s move? Contact us to get in touch with our dedicated Australia team to plan safe travels for your pet!

Pet Import Requirements for Australia

What requirements or process you’ll need to follow to import your pet to 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.

If you are planning on moving to Australia with a pet other than a cat or dog, this may not be possible if you are coming from a country other than 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 to be imported 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.

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 is time to apply for an import permit using Australia’s BICON (Biosecurity Import Conditions) System.

In order to use BICON, you’ll need to first create a user account. Once you have an account, you simply follow the prompts BICON provides to apply for your pet’s import permit. It is important to note that you are expected to upload your pet’s relevant documentation (like a rabies certificate, Rabies Antibody Titer Test results, and the RNATT Declaration from your country’s government) with the import application so have those files ready before beginning the application process.

When it is time to pay for your pet’s import fees, you have the option to either pay by credit card or receive an invoice to pay at a later date. Keep in mind that the import permit application will not be assessed until full payment is made.

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. Either way, you can track the progress of your application on the BICON system and you will receive an email if there are any issues with your application or once the permit has been processed.

Booking Quarantine for Cats and Dogs

Once you have received your pet’s import permit, you can request quarantine space at the Mickleham facility in Melbourne. It is important to do this in advance of your pet’s arrival as much as possible, as space can fill up quickly and your pet’s import permit does not guarantee availability.

To make a quarantine booking, you must use the Post Entry Biosecurity System. This system will walk you through each section needed to confirm space for your pet. Be prepared to supply your pet’s import permit information, along with flight information in order to securely book quarantine.

Similar to the import permit application, you can check your pet’s reservation status using the Post Entry Biosecurity System and make any changes or updates to the reservation as needed. Please also keep in mind that you’ll need to schedule a release appointment for your pet on this system to handling picking them up from quarantine after the mandatory 10-day period.

After your booking is tentatively accepted, you must pay all quarantine fees in full to confirm your pet’s quarantine space. The invoice for quarantine fees will be sent with your pet’s tentative booking, along with payment instructions.

Quarantine Accommodations - Feeding, Medication, and More

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. Often times, they assign a specific handler to each pet to ensure the handler can closely monitor any changes during the pet’s quarantine period and react appropriately.

Each pet is also assigned their own room so pets that are within the same family cannot stay together. This is so the staff can monitor their food and water intake properly and take action should any pet not be handling the stay well. In an event where the staff notices a dog in a family is not handling the new environment well, they will move the dog to the same run as the other family dog to help provide comfort.

Although Mickleham provides high-quality dry food for all cats and dogs staying at the facility once daily (unless otherwise advised by a veterinarian), some pets have sensitive diets and may need special food during their quarantine stay. If this is the case for your pet, you will need to note this on your pet’s import permit application under the “special needs” section. On top of this, you will need to source your pet’s food in Australia to have it posted to Mickleham along with a veterinary letter.

If your pet requires medication during the quarantine period, this must also be noted in the “special needs” section of the import permit application and a letter from your veterinarian listing your pet’s medical history, medication, and dosage must be uploaded as well. The medication, similar to special dietary food, must be sourced in Australia to be provided during quarantine since medication is not allowed to travel with your pet. Also, you will need to make arrangements with a private veterinarian in Australia to visit your pet in quarantine to prescribe the appropriate medication. You can email the booking and invoicing team at PEQservices@agriculture.gov.au to make these arrangements for your pet.

If you have other questions about quarantine care and housing for your pet at Mickleham, you are welcome to ask your PetRelocation specialist or visit the Australia website covering this information here.

Pet Export Requirements for Leaving Australia

Leaving Australia with your pet is a much simpler process than entering Australia with your pet. You will just need to follow your destination country’s import requirements, send a “Notice of Intention to Export” to the Live Animal office in Australia, and (once that has been approved) make an appointment with the Live Animal office along with a registered vet for the issuance of your pet’s export permit and health certificate within 72 hours of your pet’s travel.

If you’re planning on returning to Australia after your pet travels abroad, you will need to notify the Live Animal office of this. Depending on what country you are traveling to, you may not be able to directly re-import your pet to Australia. Also, a rabies vaccination and Rabies Antibody Titer Test may be required, prior to your departure, in order for your pet to successfully return. In any case, we recommend reading the rules to re-import pets to Australia on the website here.

As you can tell from all of the information above, there are many moving parts and details when organizing pet travel to Australia and timing is a huge aspect. To make sure your pet’s move plan is on the right track, contact us to speak with one of our dedicated Australia consultants.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Microchips, Quarantine


Cats, Dogs




Add a Comment

By Giovana T. on December 5, 2018 at 1:07 pm

Hi PetRelocation! I am moving to Australia and I plan on bringing my Alaskan Malamute with me. I was wondering if I will be able to see her when we land in Melbourne (before she goes into quarantine). Also, I am located in Chicago, but I know I will have to fly out of LA to go Melbourne. If we book a flight from Chicago - MEL, stopping in LAX, will I be able to be with my dog during the layover? Do you recommend doing a quick layover, or staying a day in LA - so she can calm down a little bit? Also, could you send me more information about the price of the different services you guys provide?Thank you,Giovana

By Maegan at PetRelocation on December 10, 2018 at 10:23 am

Hi Giovana! I have passed your question along to our AU team and our consultant Katy Payne will be in touch with you shortly with additional information. Looking forward to speaking with you soon!

By Amanda Cox on November 14, 2018 at 10:34 pm

Hi,We are planning to move to Australia and take our 2 cats with us (not till 2020). Can you give me an idea of the process from dropping off at the airport to arriving back with me (Perth)? My cats are very wary of strangers and I am worried about their stress levels. Also what is the approx price for you to take care of the relocation?Thank you

By Maegan at PetRelocation on November 26, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Hi Amanda! To ensure there are no delays with the paperwork being endorsed, we include the final vet check, health certificates and USDA endorsements in all of our move plans to Australia. Once the final paperwork is endorsed, we will get them to the airport for check-in to MEL, then onto quarantine. 10 nights later, they will be released from quarantine and delivered to you in Perth.

Check out this link about costs for pet transport. If you'd like to get an estimate for your relocation,please fill out our Arrange A Move form and consultant will reach out to you. Looking forward to speaking with you soon!

By Philipp Forrest on November 12, 2018 at 7:34 am

Hi PetRelocation,my wife and I are planning to move back to the home country of my wife, and we have some concerns about importing our American Staffordshire Terrier to Australia. As I read, Pit Bull Terriers aren't allowed in Australia. As the breeds look quite similar, I wondered, are they checking your dog once its arrived at the airport? Are they trusting the official veterinarian of Germany? All our documents and the doctors say it's an Amstaff, but I'm just worried someone might see a Pit in our dog.Thank you for your help.Philipp

By Maegan at PetRelocation on November 14, 2018 at 9:55 am

Hi Phillip! Pure bred American Pit Bulls cannot be imported into Australia. However, American Staffordshire Terriers are not on the list of banned breeds, but you'll want to make sure there will not be an issue by contact the Department of Home Affairs on +61 2 6264 1111 or 131 881 (within Australia). Hope this helps!

By Janine on October 31, 2018 at 12:43 am

Hi! I have 2 small dogs, mum and daughter. 1 is 12 pounds the other is 14. Like you mentioned it’s a very overwhelming and daunting to think about.. with air canada they have said we can bring them in the cabin with us for the flight.. what happens after when we arrive? Can you please inform us of the process. They’ll be needing to pee and need food.. getting to Australia with the comfort of know they’ll be ok is the determining factor if we move back home or not. So the more info and knowledge is comforting. Thanks so much in advance.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on November 2, 2018 at 11:52 am

Hi Janine! Australia requires all pets to arrive into the country as manifest cargo, the government will not allow any pets to arrive in-cabin. I apologize Air Canada has misinformed you. When pets arrive as cargo into Melbourne, employees from Mickleham will pick up your pets from the airport and transport them to Melbourne Quarantine.

Once in quarantine, they will be cleared through customs, undergo a vet check, paperwork check, then put into their individual runs. Once they are settled in, quarantine will send you an email letting you know they are all checked in! If you are looking for a company like ours to manage this process for you and remove some of the unknowns, please fill out our Arrange A Move form and a PetRelocation Australia Move Consultant will be in touch shortly. Hope this helps!

By Anjalique on July 23, 2018 at 12:01 am

Hello,I am not quite ready to move to Australia yet, but once I am done with my schooling here in the US, my husband and I are looking to move there (1-2 years). My dog is considered an ESA dog via a letter from my personal mental health provider. She is not professionally trained by a program as she is not a guide dog. Is there any way I would be able to fly with her in cabin from LAX to Melbourne?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on July 24, 2018 at 9:41 am

Hi Anjalique! In our experience, Australia will not permit ESAs to arrive in-cabin. In order to obtain an import permit to allow a pet to travel in-cabin to Australia, application forms must be filled out by you as the client, your doctor and your certified trainer and submitted to the government. Only they will be able to give this permission if you'd like to go down this path so feel free to cite their website here before beginning the process.

If you'd like our assistance with your pet's move, our team is dedicated to Australia pet moves & we safely move pets to Australia every day via manifest cargo. Feel free to fill out our Arrange a Move form here. Looking forward to hearing from you!

By Katie Harris on July 11, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Hi there! My name is Katie and I'm moving my five year old border collie/black lab mix, Bridger, to Australia with me. It's a very daunting process and I'd love to connect with someone at PetRelocation to join the mission in bringing him over! You guys sound great and I'm confident your staff will ensure my boy has a stress-free move! Please contact me at (203) 609-1683 or harris.a.kathryn@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you! Best, Katie

By Christina at PetRelocation on July 12, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Hi Katie,

Thanks for contacting us! A relocation consultant will be in touch with you about your move as soon as possible!

By Cassandra gordon on June 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm

We have 2 cats which we'd like to take with us to Australia. They have both had their rabies shots (4/19/18) , and had their blood tested. Could you give me a quote for their shipment please.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on June 8, 2018 at 9:54 am

Hi Cassandra! Our team would love to help! We just need a bit more information in order to quote for your cats' move. Please fill out our Arrange a Move Form here and one of us will reach out to you with more information. Looking forward to speaking with you!

By James on December 25, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Hi Pet Relocation, I used you guys just over 10 years ago to move my dogs from San Fran to Australia, you guys offered a great service. When it was time for me to come back I used a partner you recommended and I have to say best move i have ever had alongside your own. Dogtainers did everything, collection delivery, vets, it was so easy and I got updates each time something happened. Thanks you so much.

By bethany@petrelocation.com on December 26, 2017 at 10:55 am

Hello James,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us! We're pleased to hear you had a great move from Australia with Dogtainers as well.

We hope your family enjoys San Francisco and wish you the best! Please let us know if there is anything we can help with in the future.

Add a Comment

Name is required

Email is required and must be in the format email@domain.com

Comment is required

Back to top