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Australia - Importing Pets

There are very strict regulations concerning the importing of animals to Australia and it is necessary to make an application before you begin the moving process. Australia is not a member of the PETS scheme so you will need to ensure that you follow the detailed procedures carefully. The website of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service has a section which tells you if imported pets are permitted from your home country. If the import is permitted then you need to complete an application form to obtain approval for the pet or pets. There are also information packages available to download which tell you the procedures that you need to follow.

Once the application has been approved it can take around 10 days for the import permit to be issued. If there are any problems with the form this can take longer. Permits can be issued electronically, by mail or by fax. When the import permit is issued it is valid for only one quarantine station so if your plans change you will need to apply for an amendment to the permit and pay any additional fees.

The application form for the permit can be completed and submitted online or sent by post or fax. You will need to supply a certain amount of information and documentation. This includes the details of the import and export, the details of the animal, arrangements for quarantine and any additional information such as vaccination details. Separate applications need to be made for each animal.

It is possible to bring a number of animals into Australia. These include cats, dogs and horses, but there are many different household pets that are not permitted. These include hamsters, guinea pigs, some caged birds and ferrets. You can buy animals like these when you arrive in the country. If your country of origin is New Zealand you may be able to bring in certain types of caged birds.

The information package supplied by AQIS will tell you which breeds of dogs are permitted in the country. This is a list that is reviewed regularly so should be checked before you make your application. The information pack will help you to determine if your pet is allowed into the country. You should ensure that your cat or dog is microchipped for identification purposes. Once you have made the application you will receive the permit which contains details of the veterinary certificates which should be completed before the animal is imported.

You are also able to book the quarantine accommodation for your pet. You should ensure this is done as far in advance as possible. Quarantine accommodation is in demand and is limited. There are stations located in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

The veterinary certificates need to be completed by a veterinarian in your home country who is approved by the government. All pets must be up to date with their vaccinations and your veterinarian can advise you on exactly which ones your pet should have but rabies vaccinations are essential and the type will depend upon the country you are travelling from. Dogs must have a blood test and four days before they are due to be exported. In addition they should be given treatment for parasites within four days of travelling. The certificates are completed by the vet within a few days of departure.

All pets must spend some time in quarantine when they arrive in Australia unless they are travelling from New Zealand. For pets that are travelling from the UK the quarantine period is 30 days, although pets travelling from South Africa will spend around 7 months in quarantine. Fees incurred while the animal is quarantined are the responsibility of the owner.

There are different regulations for dogs which are trained to help those with disabilities. In addition to the veterinary certification for the pet there must be a doctor’s note confirming the details of the owner’s disability. The documentation should also detail exactly how the owner is helped by the dog and in order to qualify the owner must have had the dog for a minimum of 6 months prior to travel. The dog must be registered with either the International Guide Dog Federation or Assistance Dogs International. A copy of the licence should be sent with the application for the import permit. For an ADI dog the licence must be less than 18 months old due to the reassessment requirements of ADI. Assistance dogs must not travel separately from the owner.

Pet supplies are widely available. Most supermarkets sell a wide variety of pet foods and accessories and there are specialist pet stores in most towns. Most branded pet foods which are available in both the UK and the US are also available in Australia and vets sell a variety of specialist foods for those pets that have specific medical conditions.

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