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Moving Pets to Australia: A Guide for Importing Cats and Dogs

Moving Pets to Australia: A Guide for Importing Cats and Dogs

Overview of Moving Pets to Australia

Australia’s biosecurity laws are designed to protect its unique environment and animal populations from diseases from other countries. Pet importation is therefore regulated, requiring:

  • An Import Permit outlines the specific conditions that must be met before a pet can enter Australia.
  • A mandatory 10-day quarantine for pets from all countries except New Zealand, Norfolk Island, and Cocos Island. This quarantine helps ensure that animals do not carry diseases into the country.

Exceptions for New Zealand and Norfolk Island

Pets from New Zealand or Norfolk Island have a streamlined process due to the close biosecurity arrangements with Australia:

  • These pets may not require an import permit.
  • They may be exempt from the mandatory quarantine if they meet all health requirements.
  • They must still meet certain conditions related to vaccinations and treatments.

Import Requirements by Country Categories

Group 1: New Zealand, Norfolk Island, and Cocos Island

  • No import permit is required for cats and dogs.
  • No mandatory quarantine if all pre-entry requirements are met.
  • Must have a valid rabies vaccination if previously lived in a country with rabies.

Group 2: Approved rabies-free countries or territories

  • These include countries such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and Singapore.
  • An import permit is required.
  • Must meet specific vaccination and health testing requirements.
  • A reduced quarantine period may apply if all conditions are satisfied.

Group 3: USA-approved countries or territories where rabies is absent or well-controlled

  • Includes countries like the United States and Canada.
  • An import permit is required.
  • Mandatory quarantine applies.
  • More extensive vaccination, testing, and treatment protocols must be followed compared to Group 2 countries.

Group 4: All other countries

  • These are countries not included in the first three groups.
  • An import permit is required.
  • Mandatory quarantine applies.
  • Must undergo additional blood tests to prove freedom from certain diseases.
  • Pets might need to undergo a preparation period in a Group 2 or 3 country before entering Australia.

Importing Other Species

Restrictions for Non-Cat and Dog Species

  • The importation process into Australia is subject to stricter regulations for animals that are not cats or dogs.
  • This is particularly true for pets originating from countries outside New Zealand.

BICON System

  • Prospective pet importers should use the BICON (Biosecurity Import Conditions) System.
  • BICON is a comprehensive resource to check whether a particular species can legally be imported into Australia.

Reference Resources

DAFF Website

Origin Country’s Export Procedures

  • It is important to note that while DAFF provides extensive information on importing into Australia, it does not cover the export regulations of the pet’s country of origin.
  • Pet owners are responsible for researching and complying with their country’s export procedures.

Microchip Information for Cats and Dogs

Crucial Advice for Importers

  • Ensuring your cat or dog is implanted with a working microchip is essential.
  • The microchip number must be correctly noted on all import documents.
  • This requirement is especially critical for pets from approved Group 2 or 3 countries.

Consequences of Microchip Issues

  • Should an issue arise with the microchip upon arrival in Australia – such as it being non-functional or the number being recorded incorrectly – several negative outcomes could occur:
    • Pets may be subjected to an extended quarantine period.
    • Owners may incur additional costs due to the complications arising from microchip issues.
    • In extreme cases, pets may be re-exported to their country of origin or, as a last resort, euthanized.

Instructions for Prospective Importers

  • Verification
    • Pet owners should confirm that the microchip is scanned at each veterinary appointment related to pre-export procedures.
    • Additionally, they must verify that the microchip number matches the records on all official documentation.
  • Seek Advice
    • If any issues with the microchip are detected before export, it is imperative to contact the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources without delay.
    • Prompt communication with the authorities can prevent misunderstandings and potential issues upon arrival in Australia.

Obtaining an Import Permit

Steps to Apply:

  1. Create a user account on BICON.
  2. Follow BICON’s prompts and upload the necessary documentation.
  3. Choose a payment method for import fees, and remember, assessment only begins after full payment.

Note: Assessment times vary; use BICON to track your application’s progress.

Booking Quarantine for Cats and Dogs

Quarantine Location:

All cats and dogs entering Australia must be directly transported to the Mickleham Quarantine Facility, Australia’s only post-entry animal quarantine facility. It is located on the outskirts of Melbourne, Victoria. The facility is equipped to handle various types of animals and is designed to meet international animal welfare and quarantine standards.

How to Book:

To secure a quarantine space at the Mickleham Quarantine Facility:

  1. Obtain an import permit for your pet by applying through the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
  2. Once the import permit is granted, log in to the Post Entry Biosecurity System (PEBS) using the credentials provided.
  3. Select an available date for quarantine that aligns with your pet’s arrival in Australia.
  4. Submit a booking request through PEBS and await confirmation from the department.

Due to high demand and limited space, booking as early as possible is recommended to ensure availability.

Quarantine Fees:

Following a tentative booking acceptance:

  1. An invoice detailing the total quarantine fees will be issued.
  2. Payment must be made in full by the due date to secure the reservation.
  3. Accepted payment methods typically include credit cards, bank transfers, or other approved methods.
  4. Failure to complete payment may result in cancellation of the quarantine booking.

The fees cover the cost of care, feeding, and veterinary checks during your pet’s stay at the facility.

Quarantine Accommodations:

At Mickleham Quarantine Facility:

  1. Each pet is housed in an individual enclosure designed for comfort and safety.
  2. Routine care includes feeding, cleaning, and daily health checks.
  3. Veterinary staff are on-site to monitor the health of all quarantined animals.
  4. If your pet has special dietary requirements or needs medication, this information must be included in your import permit application.
  5. Owners are responsible for providing any special food or medications, which should be arranged in advance and may incur additional fees.

Import Requirements for Cats and Dogs:

RNATT Rabies Titer Test:

  1. After your pet has been vaccinated against rabies, you must wait 3-4 weeks before collecting a blood sample for the Rabies Neutralizing Antibody Titre Test (RNATT).
  2. The blood sample must be processed at an approved laboratory.
  3. Ensure that all details on the RNATT documentation are accurate and match your pet’s microchip number.
  4. A satisfactory test result must be within the validity period (24 months) at the time of your pet’s entry into Australia.
  5. A mandatory waiting period is 180 days after a successful RNATT before your pet can enter Australia.

Approved Parasite Treatments:

  1. Check the latest version of Australia’s list of approved treatments for external and internal parasites.
  2. Administer the required treatments within the specified timeframe before travel.
  3. Record all treatments accurately, with dates and product names on the veterinary certificate accompanying your import permit application.
  4. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your pet being refused entry or additional treatments at your expense during quarantine.

By meeting these detailed requirements, you can ensure a smooth process for your pet’s entry into Australia and subsequent stay at the quarantine facility.

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