Moving to another country can be a stressful time, particularly if you’ve got to work out the logistics of taking a beloved family pet with you. For those who can’t bear to part with their furry friends, this is a short two-part guide on some of the basic requirements to move pets abroad.
This article is based on UK citizens wishing to become expatriates and for the purposes of simplicity, it focuses on moving cats and dogs. For more exotic pets it would be prudent to contact either your vet or a specialist pet transport agency. It would also be wise to find out about exotic pet policies in the destination of your choice.
Research is key here, the smallest oversight could make the difference between having your pet with you from the off having to wait for a long time before reuniting. It may even be worth employing a specialist lawyer who has had previous experience moving pets overseas, especially if they have done so in the country you are wishing to relocate to.
In part one we explored Pet Passports and moving pets from the UK to Europe and the USA. In part two we’ll be looking at moving pets from the UK to Australia.
UK to Australia
Moving pets to Australia can be much trickier than moving them to Europe or the US. In most cases, the importation of dogs and/or cats to Australia is subject to strict rules and quarantine periods. AQIS is the authority which outlines the guidelines for moving pets ‘down under’.
The rules are as follows; ‘Confirm eligibility of your pet – for example, some breeds are banned. Dogs and cats must have a microchip. Apply for a Permit to Import. If approved, AQIS issue a permit, which contains the veterinary certificates to be completed and instructions on how to proceed. Book Quarantine Accommodation – there are quarantine stations in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne and demand for accommodation can be high. Locate a Government Approved Vet in your home country. Make Travel Arrangements for your pet. Obtain general vaccinations, such as distemper and kennel cough. Obtain a blood test (for dogs). Parasite treatment – within 4 days of export. Completion of Veterinary Certificate A – within 4 days of export, Completion of Veterinary Certificate B – usually on day of departure and Check Pet in with the airline.’
It is well worth trying to find expats who have already relocated to Australia with pets to ask about their experience. Also, having a lawyer or specialist travel agent that has dealt with these issues could be enormously valuable and save you both time and money. The money spent on expertise could end up being fractional compared to the money it would cost to accommodate a pet whilst dealing with delays.
UK to Australia Quarantine and Costs
The time in quarantine varies according to the country of origin. If moving from the UK, pets are generally expected to be quarantined for 30 days. Aussiemove.com comments on quarantine, stating; ‘Quarantine Stations only exist in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne and there can be high demand for accommodation in these stations. You are responsible for daily accommodation fees for your pet while in quarantine, plus a number of additional fees such as airport pickup, vet inspections and so on.’
Aussiemove.com also comments on the costing of moving pets to Australia, stating; ‘Be prepared – bringing a dog or cat to Aus costs much more than a standard airline ticket for anyone else in the family. The cost depends on the size of the dog (not for cats unless they are abnormally large), the length of time in quarantine and whether there are any additional, unforeseen vet bills. As a guide, expect from about £1500 GBP for a small breed (eg. Jack Russell) up to £3500 GBP for a large breed (eg. German Shepherd). Then, quarantine costs in Aus should be around $800 AUD for a 30 day quarantine.’
It is always important to research as thoroughly as possible. When it comes to moving pets abroad you can never be too prepared and you may need to ready yourself for high costs. Moving pets is likely to be much more expensive than moving yourself. If you can find an expat who has already gone through the process use their advice and seek expert support if you feel you need it.
Make sure you get all vaccines and paperwork sorted well in advance of the big move so you have time to fix any issues (should they arise) and have lots of treats on hand to cheer up grumpy pets once you’ve landed.
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