Importing Pets to South Africa!

If you are planning on relocating, pet moving or pet travel shipping your dog or cat to South Africa - please make sure to read this list of important import requirements for South Africa! We just got a call from a customer, who is leaving tomorrow to South Africa for vacation with her pets - the airlines told her she just needed a health certificate and proof of rabies... they were so wrong and now she has to leave her dog behind until the fulfill those important import requirements.

When traveling to South Africa, please research the rules and requirements on how it pertains to your destination country - the information below is for those dogs and cats leaving the United States with their destination as South Africa!

Attention: This information is to be used as general guidelines and may not be updated to meet the current requirements. Before you travel, be sure to contact the appropriate authorities for your destination country.


Before beginning the import procedures, make sure that your vet is approved by the Government Veterinarian Authority in the country of origin. For example, if an animal is departing the United States, the vet will need to be USDA Accredited.

When the Import Permit is issued there will be a Veterinary Health Certificate attached for export (2 pages for cats, 4 pages for dogs). This is the only Health Certificate that will be accepted by the South African Vet who inspects the papers upon arrival at the airport. If this certificate has not been completed correctly, endorsed by the competent authority, and/or the original has not arrived with the animal, the animal will be sent back to the country of origin.

Requirements for South Africa:

1. The animal needs to remain the origin country at least 6 months prior to departure and must be micro chipped using an ISO Compatible chip (ISO 11784/11785).

2. Originate from an area, which is not under official veterinary restrictions by the Vet Administration (i.e USDA, CFIA, etc) or the exporting country for any disease to which carnivores are susceptible.

3. Did not come in contact with animals infected or suspected of being infected with rabies.

4. Has a valid rabies vaccination no more than one year old but older than 30 days.

5. Originate from a country free of the following diseases (Dogs only):

  • Brucella Canis
  • Trypanosoma evansi
  • Babesia Gibsoni
  • Dirofilaria immitis
  • Leishmania

(The US is free of, and does not test for Trypansoma evansi).

6. If the country of origin contains any of the diseases above, the animals need to be tested, with negative results, within 30 days of export for the following conditions at an officially approved laboratory, using testing procedures described in the OIE Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines, 2004 (Dogs only)

These test results will need to be noted on the Import Permit Veterinary Health Certificate with negative results.

7. Unless the country of origin is certified free of the diseases under number 5, the animals need to be treated for the following conditions as prescribed below:

  • Trypanosoma Evansi: From the date of negative testing until export with Suramin or Diminazene aceturate, according to the instructions for use thereof by the manufacturer.
  • Dirofilaria Immitis: From the date of negative testing until export at the required intervals with:
  • Diethylcarbamizine (5-6 mg/kg per os daily) Or Ivermectin (6 micrograms/kg per os monthly) Or Milbemycin oxime (0,5 mg/kg per os monthly) Or Moxidectin (3 micrograms/kg per os monthly)

Treatment for Dirofilaria must continue for 6 months after arrival in South Africa and be noted on the Veterinary Health Certificate up to departure.

8. The pet needs to be examined by an official veterinarian within 10 days of export and need to be found to be free from internal and external parasites, contagious and infections diseases, and fit to travel. This test date and results are noted on the South African Veterinary health certificate required to enter the country. At this same time a US Health Certificate needs to be issued. This will be required to board the airplane. This document is generally APHIS Form 7001 and is valid for 10 days upon completion.

Happy Pet Travels!


PetRelocation Team




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