Pet Travel: Layover and Transit Requirements at Airports

Pets, International Travel and Layovers

Layover and Transit Requirements for Traveling PetsWe received this question recently and thought it was worth sharing, as it addresses a common pet travel concern:

Q: I am traveling with my pet from India to Seattle via Amsterdam using KLM. There is a layover at the airport for four hours in Amsterdam. Will I need a microchip or a blood titre test for the layover? Thanks.

This is certainly a valid concern. When traveling with pets internationally, what do you need for layovers in different countries? The answer is, like most answers about pet travel, somewhat complicated and depends on two factors:

Factor #1: Whether you're switching airlines (not planes, but airlines). 

If you're flying into another country and then changing airlines, then the first airline you are flying will treat your layover city/country as the final destination. You will be expected to fulfill the import requirements for that country and clear your pet through customs prior to re-export on your next flight. 

This means you would also need all necessary export paperwork for the layover country (another health certificate endorsed in that country, for example).

However, if you're staying on the same airline and simply changing planes, your final destination is still considered by the airline to be wherever your last flight lands -- you are simply transiting through the layover country with your pet. In that scenario, you will only need to fulfill the import requirements for your destination country.

Note: Some countries do require 'transit permits' to transit through them -- check with the airline you are flying with in advance to see if this will be necessary.

Factor #2: How long the layover is. 

If you have a layover longer than 24 hours in any country, chances are the country will no longer consider it to be a transit. You will need to fulfill the import requirements for your layover country in that instance.

The Answer

As to the question above, since the pet owner is flying on the same airline (KLM) and the layover is only four hours, she will not need any additional documents to stop in Amsterdam on her way back flying with pets to the United States.


Contact PetRelocation if you'd like some assistance planning your pet's safe relocation, and happy pet travels!


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2009 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Airlines, Airports, Ask the Experts


Cats, Dogs


United States


Add a Comment

By Jeremy on December 22, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hi, I am trying to fly my dog via Emirates from Ahmedabad, India and nobody (including the staff here) seems to know anything about flying dogs via Emirates. The US office of Emirates however assures me that I can fly my pet as excess baggage from Ahmedabad airport. I was wondering if you had any info if Ahmedabad airport allows live animals and if our bried layover in Dubai of 3 hours requires us to clear any import issues of UAE, even though we are flying into US (Houston). Thanks!

By on January 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

@Jeremy: Have you spoken to Emirates directly in Ahmedabad? That would most likely be the easiest way to get some answers. I would advise you to go to the airport in Ahmedabad and ask if they will allow pets on their outbound flights. You shouldn't have any issues with your layover in Dubai as long as you are not switching airlines in Dubai.

By on April 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

Hi Lilly, if you are exiting the airport and staying at a hotel, your pets are no longer considered to be transiting. While you may be able to remain in transit on your airline ticket, your pets will be considered an import into Thailand and then you would have to arrange to re-export them from Thailand. This would be fairly tricky to do, so I would recommend exploring other options. One might be to travel on Lufthansa via Frankfurt.

By Lilly on April 23, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Hello, I am traveling from Colombo Sri Lanka, to LA via Bangkok on Thai airways with my cat as carry on. We have a 20 hour transit in Bangkok and would like to stay at a hotel. I have a few questions but none of the pet control or quarantine department staff in Thailand seem to answer phones. The vet answered once but could not speak any English. Can anyone with prior experience help me with this please? :

A)Do I need a transit permit for my cat?

B)How much will a transit permit cost?

C) Is it granted on arrival, regardless of which country your coming from..or do I have to apply before I leave?

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