Hong Kong continues to be a popular destination for pet owners moving for work and adventure, and we are happy to make pet travel to Hong Kong as smooth as possible in spite of the somewhat complicated requirements.
Here are a few questions we frequently answer about traveling with pets to Hong Kong—read on to find out more and let us know if you need help arranging your pet's move!
What are the requirements for moving pets to Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a rabies free country, which means its pet import requirements are a bit more strict than they are for many other countries (such as the United States). With at least 30 days of preparation time they are fully manageable, however, especially with the help of experts. When you're ready to dive deeper, here's a look at what to expect of Hong Kong's import rules for pets.
Can my pet travel in the cabin with me?
Pets are not permitted to fly in the cabin when entering Hong Kong, and must arrive as manifest cargo.
Though many pet owners are initially skeptical about pet cargo travel, talking over the details with one of our Consultants can help to dispel the myths (the cargo area is pressure and temperature controlled, for example). As you learn more, it becomes clear why professional pet travel companies (like us) prefer this method of pet transport.
If you have questions about possible exceptions, such as service animals traveling in the cabin, check with the airline directly to find out what your options may be or contact a pet relocation consultant.
One more thing: keep in mind that most airlines bringing pets to Hong Kong do not work with the public when it comes to making pet reservations, so pet owners will need to hire someone to assist with booking their pet's flight.
How do I obtain the import permit?
Hong Kong requires that all pets be issued and import permit before entering the country, and this can be obtained with proof of the required vaccinations (including rabies and DHLPP) and proof of an existing microchip. Our agents will apply for the permit on your behalf, and because it can take a few days to be issued, this is another reason we recommend starting to prep for your pet's move to Hong Kong at least 30 days in advance of your desired departure.
My pet is flying via manifest cargo—can I at least travel on the same flight?
While it is possible to travel on the same flight as your pet, we generally advise against it. For one, often it's simply logistically easier to fly separately from your pet, as you may prefer a different airline and/or your schedule may not align with the flight we choose (we make this decision with your pet's comfort and safety in mind first and foremost). Also, it can be more stressful to be on the same flight for psychological reasons—knowing pets are feeling the same bumps as you and imagining their proximity without being able to see them can be frustrating, so we encourage our clients to reserve their flights on their own while leaving their pet's scheduling and booking to us.
Is quarantine required?
If you're arriving from a Group 1 or Group 2 country (and if your pet has been there since birth or at least 6 months), then quarantine is not required for pets arriving into Hong Kong.
If your pet is arriving from a Group 3 country, a four-month quarantine will be necessary (assuming all requirements have been met). Quarantine space opens up twice a year, so if you're coming from a Group 3 country we would request a six month lead time to organize the process.
If you have any questions about quarantine requirements and country group designations, please let PetRelocation know. We're happy to help you explore your options and avoid quarantine whenever possible.
What is the customs clearance process like?
The process of clearing customs in Hong Kong usually takes about two to six hours, and if you're working with PetRelocation our representative will be onsite for the duration. In addition to reviewing paperwork, all incoming dogs who do not have Avid 9 microchips are implanted with one, and dogs and cats are given new rabies vaccines by official government staff (this may seem unnecessary but is typical for rabies-free countries and is not harmful to the pet).
What else is there to know?
Another topic that often comes up is the dog license: all dog owners living in Hong Kong need to obtain a dog license from a designated government office (this can be done within a few days of your dog's arrival).
Finally, we often receive the question “why does it seem so expensive to move a pet to Hong Kong?” We'll discuss this in greater detail later in our Hong Kong Spotlight, but for now here's a summary: by the time you add up the manifest cargo fees, hire agents to assist with check-in and customs clearance, cover import fees, airfare, and more, you can see how costs easily add up. (It's all worth it when your pet is by your side in your new home, of course.)
Read the rest of our Hong Kong Pet Travel Spotlight
Banner Photo: Anton/Flickr