For many households, pets are part of the family and making sure you understand what is involved with taking Fido and Fuzzy to Australia when you and your family immigrate is not to be underestimated.
If you intend to import cats and dogs into Australia you will need to ensure you comply with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources import conditions. These include:
• South Africa is a non-approved country in terms of allowing pets into Australia. This means your pets may join you Down Under but not without the proper rules and regulations being followed to the letter
• It is a requirement under Australian legislation that lives animals coming to Australia from Group 2 or 3 countries must be accompanied by a valid import permit
• A Government Approved Veterinarian or Official Government Veterinarian must perform all veterinary procedures listed below unless stated otherwise
• All testing must be conducted in an approved country in a laboratory recognized by the government of the country of export unless stated otherwise
• It is a complicated process and you certainly don’t want to be separated from your pet, we suggest you speak to an immigration consult experienced in relocating pets to Australia about what to expect from the process
In broad terms, the process of relocating your pets is a 17-step process and you will need a professional to guide you through your pet’s permit application.
What are the steps?
Step 1: Confirm general eligibility
Animals must not be under quarantine restrictions at the time of export and can only be exported to Australia from an approved country and should not be pregnant or suckling.
Step 2: Verify existing microchip or implant a new microchip
Your pet must be identified by a microchip.
Step 3: Check Rabies Vaccination
All animals must have proof of vaccinations including the Rabies virus.
Step 4: Initial Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test and waiting period
Pets must spend between 180 days and 24 months in quarantine before export – depending on how recent their Rabies vaccination had been administered.
Step 5: Apply and pay for the Import Permit
Allow at least 20 working days for the processing of your permit application.
Step 6: Book tentative post arrival quarantine accommodation at an Australian government quarantine facility and make travel arrangements
Step 7: Check general vaccinations
Your animal should have all their vaccinations up to date.
Step 8: Move your animal to an approved Group 2 or 3 country
At least 4 weeks prior to intended date of export you should move your pet to a Group 2 or 3 country, your consultant will assist you with this process.
Step 9: Confirmation Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test
This means that Australian authorities will test your pet to ensure that your pets do not have rabies and have developed the antibodies to ward it off.
Step 10: The Official Government Veterinarian must complete the Rabies Vaccination and Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test declaration
Step 11: Internal parasite treatments
Pets must be treated by a Government Approved Veterinarian twice with an internal parasite treatment effective against internal parasites (nematodes and cestodes).
Step 12: External parasite treatments
A Government Approved Veterinarian must treat pets with a product that kills ticks and fleas on contact at least 21 days before export.
Step 13: Pre-export clinical examination
Pets must be examined by a Government Approved Veterinarian or Official Government Veterinarian and found to be free from ticks and fleas and clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease within 5 days before export. You must take the cat and all documentation to this examination.
Step 14: Completion of Veterinary Health Certificate
The Veterinary Health Certificate is located in your valid import permit. It must be completed by the Official Government Veterinarian.
Step 15: Travel to Australia
Cats and dogs must be consigned to Australia in a container that meets the standard required by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulation Container Requirement 1.
Your pet must arrive in Australia prior to the expiry date of the permit and must arrive in the Australian port in the state where they will undergo quarantine.
Step 16: On Arrival in Australia
Australian authorities will collect your cat on arrival for transport directly to the Quarantine Facility where they will be held for 10 days.
If your pet gets the all clear he may then join you at home!