This post was most recently updated on March 10, 2021 

If you’re planning a move to Australia, you are likely already aware of the strict import requirements pets must meet. One such requirement is that live animals must first enter Australia through Melbourne to begin their quarantine. There is no way around this. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two of our most commonly used airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia have suspended their pet programs. As these are the only airlines from the United States to fly pets directly into Melbourne, many of our furry clients are having to delay their travel plans. In an effort to offer support to our clients, we’ve put our problem-solving skills to work and come up with a plan for those hoping to move to Australia this year. We’re happy to present the following options with two excellent airlines.


Emirates is a fantastic option for transporting your pets into Australia from the United States. With flights currently departing from Chicago, Washington DC, Houston and New York, Emirates is the best choice if you are starting in Texas to the East Coast. 

When traveling on this airline, your pets will have a layover in Dubai. While there, cats and dogs will be cared for by the staff of the award-winning Dubai Kennel and Cattery. Our agents will report to your relocation coordinator with an update on the status and well-being of your pets. After a short stay in Dubai, your pets will then travel directly to Melbourne.

mini schnauzer moved to dubaigunee, the mini schnauzer, in dubai
Gunee flew on Emirates in 2018

Singapore Airlines 

A newer option in 2021 for flying pets from the United States to Australia is Singapore Airlines. With flights departing Los Angeles and San Francisco, Singapore Airlines will be an excellent choice when traveling from the West Coast of the United States. 

When flying this route, your pets will enjoy their comfort stop in Singapore's Changi Animal & Plant Quarantine Station (CAPQ) at the Singapore Changi International Airport. 

Air New Zealand 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of January 6, 2021, Air New Zealand has suspended their pet program for live animals traveling out of the United States for the foreseeable future. This is due to changes in routine to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their cargo staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. PetRelocation is keeping a close eye on this as it develops and will continue to keep you updated. 

Air New Zealand is another option if your pet must travel in 2020. With flights departing from Los Angeles and San Francisco, Air New Zealand is the best choice when traveling from the west coast.  

When your pets fly this route, they will have a layover in Auckland, New Zealand. Our agents will ensure your pets are looked after at the Auckland Quarantine facility before traveling on to Melbourne. Any pets traveling through Auckland will require a transit permit, which your relocation coordinator will assist you in obtaining

border collie, Indy, moved to New Zealand with PetRelocaiton

Indy flew on Air New Zealand in 2019

Other Considerations: 

  • Quarantine availability:  Mickleham quarantine station, Australia's only pet quarantine facility, is reportedly at capacity and will not have availability for new pet bookings until August 2021. If you are planning a move to Australia and have yet to reserve your pet's spot, please plan accordingly. 
  • Snub-nosed pets: As of December 1, 2020, there are no airlines that will fly snub-nosed pets from the United States to Australia. PetRelocation is staying informed of the situation and will update this article as changes occur. 
  • Airline Routing: Airlines are constantly shifting and changing their routing throughout the world due to COVID, subsequent lockdowns, and safety regulations to protect their staff. While these changes can impact your pet’s flight routing, PetRelocation works closely with these airlines on a daily basis and our team is working to keep you informed of all options available to your pet. 
  • Health certificates: The USDA now accepts health certificates to be submitted digitally through a program called VEHCS. Due to the quick turnaround time, we can only assist with relocations where the client’s veterinarian is willing to submit their paperwork digitally. If your vet is unfamiliar with VEHCS, PetRelocation will hire an accredited veterinarian trained in this process. 
  • Flying in-cabin: Despite the recent changes, pets are still not allowed to fly in-cabin and must still arrive in Australia as manifest cargo.

PetRelocation is proud to provide safe and creative solutions for our clients. Keeping families together is so important, especially during times like these. If you’re planning your pet’s move to Australia and don’t know where to start, we can help! Start planning your move with us today!


PetRelocation Team


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