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Top Tips for Importing your Dog or Cat into South Africa

1. Does My Pet Need an Import Permit

Top Tips For Importing Your Dog Or Cat Into South Africa

A veterinary import permit is needed to import Dogs & Cats into South Africa.

• Non - quarantine import permit - valid for 6 months
• Quarantine import permit - valid for +/- 10 days

2. Must My Pet Go Into Quarantine?

• CATS: Cats are not routinely quarantined on arrival in South Africa. The cat must however have a valid import permit and a correctly completed health certificate, signed and stamped by a government veterinarian of the exporting country. If the originals of both the Veterinary Import Permit (VIP) and the Veterinary Health Certificate (VHC) are not available at the time of the cat’s arrival in South Africa, the cat will be kept in quarantine until the required documentation is presented at the quarantine station.
• DOGS: Quarantine of 14 days will be imposed on some dogs, depending on the country of origin of the dog. Dogs from the following list of countries below do not need to go into quarantine on arrival in South Africa. The dog must however have a valid import permit and a correctly completed health certificate, signed and stamped by a government veterinarian of the exporting country. If the originals of both the Veterinary Import Permit (VIP) and the Veterinary Health Certificate (VHC) are not available at the time of the dog’s arrival in South Africa, the dog will be kept in quarantine until the required documentation is presented at the quarantine station.

- Non - Quarantine countries: Dogs from countries listed below won`t be quarantined upon arrival.

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland , UK, Norway, Hungry, Bulgaria and Romania.

North America: Canada and United States of America
Australasia: Australia and New Zealand
Africa: Botswana, Comoros, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Reunion.

Asia: Israel

South America: Argentina

- Quarantine countries: Dogs imported from countries not mentioned in the above list will be quarantined on arrival. (If you are importing a dog from an island please contact the Import Export Policy Unit to find out if your dog will be quarantined on arrival in South Africa) Before a quarantine booking for a dog can be confirmed, the importer must sign an indemnity form.

- Dogs that will be quarantined on arrival in South Africa may only be imported into South Africa via OR Tambo (Johannesburg) or Cape Town International Airports. Dogs and cats that are being imported from countries not subject to quarantine can also be imported into South Africa via Durban International Airport. Dogs and cats will not be allowed to enter South Africa via any other airport or port of entry.(including land border post)

• In cases where quarantine of animals is required, the importer must contact the Quarantine Officer at the port of entry:

• Johannesburg Tel +27 (0) 11 973 2827 or Fax +27 (0) 11 973 2828
• Cape Town Tel +27 (0) 21 551 2050 or Fax +27 (0) 21 551 1378

3. Must they have a Rabies Vaccination?

Dogs and cats must have a valid rabies vaccination.

• In the case of primary (first) rabies vaccination the vaccination must be given not more than 12 months and not less than 30 days before the date of import.

• In the case of a booster rabies vaccination the vaccination must be given not more than 12 months before the date of import.

Vaccination against rabies is not required for cats/dogs imported from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, but vaccination against rabies for cats/dogs imported from these countries is advised. This will ensure that the cat/dog has sufficient immunity against rabies on arrival in South Africa to prevent it from contracting rabies in South Africa.

Puppies/Kittens under three months of age do not need to be vaccinated for rabies.

• But puppies/kittens less than 3 months of age can only travel to South Africa if the dam/queen of the puppy/kitten has been vaccinated for rabies more than 30 days before and less than 12 months before the birth of the puppy/kitten. These puppies/kittens must be vaccinated for rabies after arrival in South Africa at 3 months of age and proof of the vaccination must be presented to the South African Veterinary Authorities.

4. Does my Pet need a Microchip?

All dogs and cats imported into South Africa must be permanently identified with a microchip (tattoos will not be accepted).

The microchip must be able to be read by an ISO 11784 or ISO 11785 scanners.

5. What Blood tests are needed if any?

• CATS: Cats do not require any blood testing in order to enter South Africa.
• DOGS: Before dogs can be imported the dog needs to be certified free from the following five diseases by means of blood tests.

Please see separate paragraph for details on blood testing of dogs.

6. Can my pet fly as Excess Baggage?

All dogs and cats imported into South Africa must be registered, as manifest cargo and cannot fly as excess baggage. The Directorate Veterinary Services does not have veterinary officials at the passenger terminal of OR Tambo (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International Airport to check the paper work of dogs entering South Africa via the passenger terminal of the respective airports. The dogs and cats can only disembark via the cargo terminal of the respective airports.

On arrival at the airport the original Veterinary Import Permit issued by the Directorate Veterinary Services and the original Veterinary Health Certificate signed, stamped and certified by Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country must be presented to the veterinary officials at the airport before the dog or cat can be released. The documents can either travel with the animal or the person collecting the animal must present the documents to the officials at the airport. The latter is only for animals that are not going into Quarantine on arrival in South Africa. The paperwork of animals going into quarantine must travel with the animal.

7. How does the Health Certificate Work?

Please note that cats and dogs have separate permits and separate health certificates.
When an Import Permit is issued there will be a Veterinary Health Certificate In Respect of Cats/Dogs for Export to the Republic South Africa attached to it (2 pages for cats, 4 pages for dogs).

This is the only health certificate form that will be accepted by the South African Government Vet who inspects the papers on arrival in South Africa.

The final health certificate must be done WITHIN 10 days of your pet(s) arrival in South Africa.

After your vet has completed this form, it must be STAMPED AND SIGNED BY THE GOVERNMENT VET OF THE EXPORTING COUNTRY. This health certificate will not be acceptable without the Government Vets signature and stamp.

If this health certificate has not been completed correctly, or the original does not arrive with the animals, the animals will not be allowed entry into SA

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