Many people we encounter would rather have their pets in the cabin on a long flight. However, this often just isn't possible. While it may be disappointing not to be able to bring your pet in-cabin on a long flight, it's essential to understand the reasons behind countries' regulations on live animal travel.

Regarding pet travel, airlines usually restrict in-cabin travel to small pets that can fit under the seat in front of you and limit the number of pets per flight. On the other hand, Manifest cargo is generally considered a safe and reliable method of travel for pets, as they are typically kept in a temperature-controlled area of the plane and have access to water during the flight.

When a country is considered "rabies-free," it will typically require all live animals to arrive as manifest cargo (PetRelocation's preferred method of travel fot pets). There are a number of reasons each country implements this rule. Often, the government agency responsible wants to ensure they can more easily oversee the documentation of each pet and process their paperwork more efficiently. Sometimes, the reason is so pets can be brought to quarantine more efficiently. 

Our most commonly serviced destinations require pets to arrive as manifest cargo. 

Countries with Manifest Cargo Requirements for Live Animals

Australia and New Zealand

We've mentioned a few times that are successfully bringing a cat or dog into Australia can be complicated and lengthy, requiring careful planning and attention to detail. Australia and New Zealand only allow pets to 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. After a pet has arrived in Australia, they are moved directly to the Mickleham Quarantine Station.

If you are moving to Australia or New Zealand with pets, start planning by contacting our team! The entire preparation timeline is 180 days.

The United Arab Emirates

The UAE is another common destination that requires pets to arrive as manifest cargo. When traveling in manifest cargo, pets travel on their ticket (called an air waybill), and you do not have to fly on the same flight. This can come in handy when traveling to cities like Dubai. Due to the high temperatures, pets usually must arrive on flights that land in the middle of the night (when it is not so hot). 

Arriving before your pet can also allow you time to make your new home comfortable before their arrival.

border collie in Dubai

Clementine moved to the UAE in 2018

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is another country that requires your pets to arrive as manifest cargo. Not all Asian airlines meet our pet-friendly standards. This often results in owners and pets needing to fly on different flights. In those cases, manifest cargo is the better option anyway! 

Did you know that when dogs arrive in Hong Kong, they are given a new rabies vaccine and a nine-digit AVID microchip (if they do not have that already) before they are allowed back into their owner's possession? 

The United Kingdom 

The United Kingdom is one of our most popular pet travel destinations, so we often cover their rules and requirements. However, a frequently asked question is, "can I take my pet in-cabin with me across the pond?" And, in most cases, the answer is no. 

The United Kingdom is very particular, and all rules must be followed precisely when importing your pets into the UK. The London Heathrow Animal Reception Centre offers excellent detail on what happens upon your pet's arrival. The official recommendation from London Heathrow is that you hire "an IPATA approved pet transport agent" to assist. 

Golden retriever in London
Riley moved to the UK. 

These are just a few of the most common destinations that require your pet to arrive only as manifest cargo, but it's not an extensive list. Other countries include South Africa, Ireland, and Bahrain. It's essential to plan well in advance if you're planning to move to a country with manifest cargo requirements for pets, as the preparation timeline can be up to 180 days. Working with a professional pet transport agent, such as PetRelocation, can help ensure that all necessary documentation and requirements are met for your pet to travel safely and legally to your destination.

 If you are starting to plan your move but are unsure how your pet can fly, let us help! Schedule your consultation today!


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Airlines, Ask the Experts



UK, Australia, Hong Kong, UAE, South Africa
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