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 Nate on July 16, 2018 at 10:49 am

Hello,I'm going to be flying out of Guangzhou (CAN) airport back to Vancouver (YVR) and a lot of the airlines will have layovers in Hong Kong. With Hong Kong's strict guidelines for quarantine, can be dog simply avoid the quarantine if we're switching planes or on a layover? Thank you!

By on July 16, 2018 at 11:54 am

Hi Nate! Thanks for your question. Here are the requirements for moving your pet to Canada. Specific details about what will happen in Hong Kong will be determined by your airline routing. Typically, if you are not changing airlines & clearing customs - your pet will not need to meet import requirements of the transiting country. If you are looking for a service like ours to help, please let us know!

By nate doyle on July 17, 2018 at 2:28 am

Hi Maegan,I'd be flying out of Guangzhou through Cathay Dragon, then transferring onto a Cathay Pacific flight in HK. Even though it's the same company, is it still considered a separate airline? The rules seem to be the same as they have merged their websites.

By on July 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Hi Nate! We're not quite sure as we have not put pets on Cathay Dragon yet, but if you are not clearing customs in HKG then your pet will not need to meet import requirements. I'd suggest calling Cathay to confirm transit procedures there. Hope this helps!

By edna on July 12, 2018 at 11:52 am

traveling with my pet ( small shihtzu) to clark philippines via asiana airline. we have a 9hours layover. do you have idea which hotel the best to stay with pet that close to the airport. and what is the paper needs of my pet to go out in the airport? thank you ....

By on July 16, 2018 at 11:51 am

Hi Edna! Here are the requirements for importing your pet into the Philippines. We are not familiar with local hotels in Clark but please let us know if we can assist with anything else! Thanks!

By Edna on July 17, 2018 at 7:14 am

Hi.thanks for the reply. I was traveling way back. And the only thing i concerned more is the long layover in incheon airport..if i can take out My dog in the bag during the layover.i am familliar with all the requirments in my country. but i do have contact in incheon airport about it...and it seem its gonna be ok..thank's anyway....

By Alvin on July 8, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Hi I am relocating my dog from South Africa to Malaysia via Singapore using manifest cargo on Singapore Airlines. The layover / transit period in Singapore is approximately 12 hours. Would the dog be subjected to quarantine / transit requirements in Singapore before being allowed to fly to Malaysia? Your assistance on this would be much appreciated.

By on July 16, 2018 at 11:50 am

Hi Alvin! If your pet is just transiting on the same airway bill from South Africa to Malaysia, your pet does not need to meet import requirements for that country. Hope this helps!

By Brie on June 25, 2018 at 2:46 am

I'm trying to figure out the requirements to take my four-month old adopted street dog from Pristina, Kosovo to Boston, USA. She will be too big to fit under the seat, and will have to travel as excess checked baggage. We've found a flight from Pristina to Boston that connects in Zurich, but the first leg (Pristina to Zurich) is Swiss Air, operated by Edelweiss, while the second leg (Zurich to Boston) is Swiss Air. Any idea whether these airlines will transfer our dog, or whether we must take her through customs and re-check her?There are options to book a one-hour layover or a five-hour layover. I don't want to book the longer layover unless I will need to re-check her, but I haven't heard back from either airline about the process of managing this layover. Any advice would be welcome!

By on June 27, 2018 at 8:35 am

Hi Brie! As a rule of thumb, if you are clearing customs in Zurich, you will need to clear your pup through customs. This means you will need to meet the import requirements for pets traveling to Switzerland. We only book flights for pets as "manifest cargo" which means they are not tied to passenger's plane ticket. With this process, typically if a flight is code-shared with another airline (i.e., Swiss Air, operated by Edelweiss) they will not accept pets. However, we're unsure if this same rule applies to pets traveling as excess baggage. Sorry we could not be of more assistance!

By Rosemary on June 15, 2018 at 2:19 am

I am thinking of bringing my cat from India to Los Angeles, leaving from Bangalore and stopping for layovers in Singapore and South Korea. I am flying via Singapore airlines and their rules are that they don't accept pets from other airlines. Unfortunately the first flight that is from India to Singapore is through Silk Air. So is it impossible to bring my cat because of this Singapore airline rule?

By on June 27, 2018 at 8:39 am

Hi Rosemary! We would not recommend having your pet transit Singapore. If you are flying Silk Air to Singapore and then changing airlines in Singapore, then your cat must meet the import requirements for Singapore, which includes a long lead-up time (typically 6 months) and quarantine on the ground in Singapore. More information about requirements can be found here. You might want to research a new route for you & your cat and can do so by checking out our preferred pet-safe airlines here. Hope this helps!

By Rosemary on June 27, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Thank you for the info!

By Tara on June 13, 2018 at 1:37 am

I'll be traveling with my dogs from delhi-amaterdam-Madrid and the transit duration will be 4 hours. It''s a transit from Amsterdam but as the last destination is also a EU country I guess the paperwork of my dogs will be required at the Amsterdam airport? Which airport do I need to inform the arrival of my pets? thank you

By on June 27, 2018 at 8:29 am

Hi Tara! Since the first point of entry into the EU is Amsterdam, your pups' paperwork will be checked here as well as the first vet check. When you make your booking through KLM, they will advise on this process. Feel free to check out our blog post about flight bookings on KLM through Amsterdam for additional information and if there is anything we can do to assist, please do not hesitate to reach out!

By Sam Hurst on June 7, 2018 at 9:19 am

Hi guys - great thread!We will be flying with Korean Air from Da Nang to Seattle with a 13 hour layover in Seoul. The flight is Korean Air all the way - will we be able to be with our dog throughout the layover?Thanks for all your help!

By on June 11, 2018 at 9:43 am

Hi Sam! Thanks for your question. We only know about pets traveling as "manifest cargo" on Korean Air, and with this type of travel, pets do not get a comfort stop. Pets have to stay in their crates the entire length of the layover time and because they are in the care of the airline staff, you will not be able to visit your pup. The KE personnel can refill their water bowls but that’s it. If you are looking to DIY, my recommendation would be to explore other pet safe airlines here because 13 hours is a long time inside a crate! Hope this helps!

By Melinda Knowles on June 3, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Hi! I will be flying ICN to ATL via CDG. My layover is 15 hours, so it seems I won't have to meet the entry requirements of France with titer test, etc for my in-cabin pup. However, my layover is an overnight one, so anyone know of a hotel IN the airport that will take my pet? According to the airline, the pet hotel is closed until further notice and I know that the Yotel doesn't allow pets. I will also be traveling with two toddlers, otherwise I'd sleep in the airport with my dog. Thanks!

By Melinda Knowles on June 4, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Found the answer myself after much confused searching! The Sheraton is also in the airport behind security, so it's considered a transit hotel as well. We'll be staying there. There is a 65euro fee for furry guests.

By on June 5, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Hi Melinda! Thanks for posting your answer. Glad you were able to find the information you needed!

Add a Comment

Name is required

Email is required and must be in the format

Comment is required

Back to top