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How to move with your pet internationally as an expat?

How to move with your pet internationally as an expat? That will be the topic of this article.

Nothing written here is formal legal advice, and the situation is always changing, especially with Covid-19, but we have done our best to ensure the information is accurate.

If you are looking to invest as an expat, don’t hesitate to contact me, email (advice@adamfayed.com) or use the WhatsApp function below.

The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving.


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How to move with your pet internationally as an expat? 3

Moving to a new country with a pet can be quite a hassle if you don’t read all of the rules and regulations governing the transportation of animals. It is highly recommended to use a professional pet transport service in order to avoid the myriad of problems that can arise if the transport is not handled properly.

So moving overseas with pets requires some preparation: you need to vaccinate them, obtain the necessary documents and create comfortable conditions for the cat or dog for a long flight. Without observing a number of requirements, the animal may simply not be allowed on board. We have compiled all the information on how to move abroad with a pet in different popular among expats countries such as the US, the UAE or Canada.

In this blog post, we will introduce you all the necessary information that is useful for anyone moving with pet. 

How to move your pet to Canada?

If you have already figured out how to move to Canada yourself (we have a post about it), and the hour of moving is getting closer, the question inevitably arises of how to bring your favorite pet with you. 

There are a lot of conflicting rumors about the importation of pets into Canada, because of which the process itself sometimes seems very complicated, but for most common pets, on the contrary, it is quite simple.

Under the National Animal Health Program, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sets import requirements for all pets entering Canada, including non-standard pets.

Non-standard domestic animals such as pigs, sheep, goats and poultry (including but not limited to ducks and pigeons) pose the same level of risk of animal disease as livestock. 

Therefore, before entering Canada, these animals must meet import conditions for farm animals, including testing and quarantine. Quarantine is generally not required for common pets. Although, of course, the CFIA reserves the right to refuse entry to Canada with any animal.

The requirements for the importation of animals into Canada apply if:

  • The animal enters Canada very often
  • The animal is in transit through Canada on its way to its final destination
  • Animals in Canada for a temporary stay
  • Canadian animals return to Canada

What you need to know:

Domestic dogs or cats entering Canada do not need to be quarantined.

Canada does not require identification details such as microchips or tattoos for dogs imported as personal pets. However, this may be required by the country of origin, so this point should be clarified in advance, otherwise your dog will simply not be allowed on the plane.

Dogs under 8 months old imported under a commercial category (dogs for retail sale, breeding purposes, shows or exhibitions, research dogs, dogs in “special training status” and dogs intended for adoption and / or animal welfare organizations) must be identified using an electronic microchip.

A pet dog will need a veterinary passport with all vaccinations (rabies, anthelmintic, at least), made no later than one month before the date of entry. A certificate (Form 1) from the local state veterinary clinic that the animal is healthy is also required, which is taken three days before departure.

Requirements for veterinary passport and vaccinations depend on the country of entry of the dog, the age of the animal and the purpose of entry into Canada. 

Form 1 must be changed to the International Certificate at the Veterinary Control Service. As a rule, these services are available at airports, but it is worth checking their operating hours in advance to be sure that you do not bump into a closed door 2 hours before departure. If time permits, it is better to obtain this certificate in advance.

If you are planning to transport a dog yourself, you must notify the airline when buying a ticket, because the number of places for animals on one board is limited. In addition, check the requirements of the specific airline for the size of the cages for transportation.

In case you cannot accompany the dog, you can order the transportation service from the airline. However, puppies can be problematic. For example, KLM takes unaccompanied dogs on board from three months, and LOT from four months.

Not all dogs can be transported in the cabin, so this point should also be checked with the airline in advance.

It is better to arrive at the airport with a pet a lot in advance, because its registration may require additional time.

The Canadian Border Guard Agency (CBSA) may submit any animal presented at the border for secondary inspection by the Canadian Food Control Agency (CFIA). Expect arrival delays.

Upon arrival, it is recommended that you take out health insurance for your dog and find a veterinary clinic that you can attend.

How to move your pet to the UAE?

According to UAE law, all pets entering the country must obtain an import permit issued by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) prior to entering the country.

The procedure for obtaining permission to import animals into the UAE

To obtain an import permit, you must visit the official MOEW website (section Our Services => Service Directory => Permits => Import Permit for Pets (Cats / Dogs)) and follow these three steps:

  • Fill out an electronic form
  • Pay the fee and submit the required documents
  • Obtain an electronic import permit

The import permit is valid only for 30 days, during which the pet must be brought into the UAE. According to the UAE federal law, all pets are imported into the country exclusively as a manifest cargo.

It will take 3 to 5 working days to issue an import permit.

Documents required to obtain permission to import animals into the UAE:

  • A copy of the pet’s owner’s passport.
  • Valid UAE Residence Visa or copy of Emirates ID.
  • A copy of the passport and passport of the animal’s vaccinations (Animal Book of Immunization).
  • Vaccinations.
  • A copy of the blood test (for animals from the list of countries according to the MOEW Decision).

The health conditions of pets for their entry into the UAE

The import of animals into the UAE is permitted in full compliance with the following provisions:

The animal must be microchipped before starting a vaccination schedule approved by the authorities, this vaccination schedule includes vaccination against rabies. Microchip must have ISO standardization, AVID standardization is not accepted.

The animal must travel accompanied by a vaccination passport, an animal passport, in which the date of birth of the animal, the microchip number must be indicated, all vaccinations that have been given, indicating the dates of vaccinations, the drugs used and their manufacturers, while the vaccination passport must contain labels from all used vaccines.

The animal must be accompanied by a health certificate issued by an accredited veterinary authority in the country of export. This certificate must contain the full designation of the type of animal, microchip number, all types of vaccinations and drugs used.

The health certificate must clearly state that the animal was examined by a veterinarian authorized to issue such a certificate within 48 hours prior to departure, and that during this examination the animal was healthy and did not show any symptoms. 

Within 10 days before departure, the animal must undergo procedures against external and internal parasites. The health certificate must contain detailed information about the drugs used, the names of the active ingredients and their doses.

Vaccinations for animals in the UAE

Importation of pets (dogs and cats) into the UAE Rules for vaccinating cats and dogs against rabies

Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies within the last year. Vaccination must be done in accordance with all the vaccine manufacturer’s instructions. The first vaccination should be given after the animal is 3 months old. In the case of recent vaccinations, 21 days must elapse after the introduction of the rabies vaccine as a prerequisite for allowing the pet to enter the UAE.

All rabies vaccinations from year to year must be done on time without time intervals (if any vaccinations were carried out late, a rabies negative test must be taken).

Compulsory procedures against external and internal parasites for cats and dogs

All cats and dogs should undergo procedures against external parasites (ticks) and against internal parasites (worms) in accordance with all the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Anti-external parasites with Fipronil or Permethrin (Frontline)
  • Deworming or Anthelmintic with Praziquantel

Both procedures are carried out no earlier than 10 days before departure.


Dog breeds prohibited for import into the UAE:

  • All types of pit bull terriers
  • Japanese fighting dogs (Tosa Inu, Tosa Ken, Japanese Mastiff)
  • Argentine fighting dogs (dogo argentino, argentine mastiff)
  • Brazilian fighting dogs (fila brasileiro, brazilian mastiff)
  • Hybrid breeds of a wolf and a dog (any dogs born as a result of crossing a wolf and a dog)
  • American Staffordshire Terrier

Airlines restrictions

When buying airline tickets, it is important to remember that many airlines have their own restrictions regarding the transport of animals. It is highly recommended to agree on this issue before purchasing tickets.

Arrival in the UAE with a pet

Upon arrival of your pet in the UAE, you must present the following documents:

  • Original vaccination passport
  • Original health certificate
  • Original certificate of negative reaction to rabies (if applicable)
  • A copy of the import permit

Service Fee

  • Import permit fee – 500 Dhs for each pet (cat or dog)
  • Fee for conducting an inspection of cats at the entrance – 500 Dhs for each cat
  • Fee for conducting an inspection of dogs at the entrance – 1000 Dhs for each dog

Sanctions for violations of the rules for importing pets into the UAE:

  • A fine of 5000 Dhs for each animal.
  • The pet will be denied entry or the pet will be confiscated. All costs incurred in this case must be covered by the owner of the animal.


All vaccinations must be valid (not expired).

In the UAE, it is prohibited to import cats and dogs under the age of four months.

The health certificate must be signed by the issuing veterinarian. The document should be published on A4 paper and titled “Health Certificate”. For all European vaccination passports, the signature on the Clinical Examination page at the end of the passport alone is not sufficient.

Animals must always travel with the originals of all their documents.

Each person, upon personal registration of documents for the import of animals into the UAE, has the right to import only 2 pets. However, if a specialized service for the transport of animals is involved in the processing of documents, then MOEW allows the import of up to 5 animals per person.

All documents must be published in English or have a translation into English.

How to move your pet to the US?

In any veterinary clinic, you can issue a veterinary passport for your pet. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recommends a pet health certificate (such as APHIS Form 7001). The department warns that this may not be necessary, but they strongly recommend that such a certificate be issued by a USDA-accredited veterinarian.

Canine rabies was eradicated in the United States in 2007 and is under control in several other countries. 

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and other post-Soviet countries are on the list of states from which there is a high risk of importing canine rabies into the United States. 

Therefore, all dogs arriving from these countries must have valid vaccination certificates against this dangerous infectious disease. 

According to the CDC, all dogs that are vaccinated against rabies for the first time must be vaccinated at least 4 weeks (28 days) prior to travel. 

Puppies do not need to be vaccinated if they are under 3 months of age (12 weeks or 84 days) at the time of travel. Adult dogs (15 months and older) must have a veterinary passport with a history of previous rabies vaccinations (the first should be given at 3 months of age) and have a record of all boosters. 

The rabies vaccination certificate must contain the following information: 

  • Name and address of the owner; 
  • Breed, sex, date of birth (approximate age if date of birth is unknown), color and other identification information; 
  • Rabies vaccination date and vaccine information; 
  • The date until which the vaccination is valid; 
  • Name, license number, address and signature of the veterinarian who vaccinated. 

But in addition to the CDC rules, you must also comply with the requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the state you are traveling to. It is important to know that these rules are often stricter than the federal ones. Also, please note that dogs that are imported for commercial purposes (resale or looking for new owners) are subject to additional requirements from USDAExternal.

According to the CDC, cats do not need to be vaccinated against rabies to enter the US “According to www.usa.one. 

However, some states require vaccinations, so it is recommended that you check with the state and local health authorities of your destination. If your pet does not meet CDC requirements, it may be denied entry into the United States.

Does a pet need to buy a ticket? 

Basically, there is no such thing as a pet ticket. There are 2 options for how your animal will fly – with or without you. 

In any case, you need to notify the airline representatives to make a reservation for your pet. It is important to remember the following nuance: each airline has its own rules for transporting animals. 

For example, there are certain restrictions on the number of animals on board or in the cabin, so the sooner you tackle this issue, the better. 

If your pet is a turtle, parrot or guinea pig, then you need to discuss this point directly with the airline. For example, if you fly with Ukraine International Airlines, this carrier transports only dogs and cats, both in the cabin (up to 8 kg with a container) and as checked baggage (up to 75 kg with a container). 

If we talk about Aeroflot, then this airline allows the carriage of cats, dogs and birds as a special type of non-standard baggage with payment at a special baggage rate. Other pets may also be allowed on board if they are domesticated pets. Transporting pets is far from cheap. An exception to the rule is a guide dog, which has a special training certificate, and an emotional support animal.

How to move your pet to European countries?

Many holders of a residence permit in Europe or second citizenship spend a lot of time in the EU and do not want to part with their pets. Indeed, any dog ​​or cat may not endure several weeks or even months of separation from the owner / mistress. The only way out is to take them with you. In addition, individuals regularly participate in international animal shows.

If you fulfill all the conditions of the EU directives regarding the import of animals, then no problems will arise. By the way, it is useful to study the information on the official website of the European Union, to familiarize yourself with the Rules for the carriage of pets. However, that there are special conditions in individual European countries that you should also be aware of.

In addition, if an outbreak of a virus, infections occurs in one of the countries, the rules can be tightened up to the complete suppression of the movement of animals in the EU. These requirements will have to be reconciled, they are temporary.

In the EU, the regulations of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission 576/2013 and 577/577 on the transport of pets, which came into force on 29.12.2014, are in force. There is no tax on the import of pets for temporary stay in the EU.

So in order to safely bring animals (dog, cat or ferret) into any of the countries of the European Union, you should adhere to the following rules for the procedure for the import and export of animals.

Animal marking. The pet (dog, cat or ferret) must be marked with the implantation of a transponder (see Technical Specifications in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 576/2013).

Rabies vaccination. The animal (dog, cat or ferret) must be vaccinated against rabies by an authorized veterinarian in accordance with Annex III to Regulation (EU) No 576/2013:

  • The animal must be at least 12 weeks old on the day of vaccination
  • The vaccine administration date does not precede the date the transponder was marked or read
  • The vaccination period begins no earlier than the 21st day from the date of the primary vaccination, and any subsequent vaccination was carried out during the validity period of the previous vaccination

Rabies antibody test. The pet must undergo a rabies antibody titration test in accordance with Annex IV to Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 as follows:

  • The test must be performed on a sample collected by an authorized veterinarian at least 30 days after the date of vaccination and at least three months before the date of transport of the animal.
  • The test should measure a serum level of anti-rabies virus neutralizing antibody equal to or greater than 0.5 IU / ml.
  • Testing must be performed in an approved laboratory

Treatment for Echinococcus multilocularis A pet (dogs only) must be treated against the parasite Echinococcus multilocularis before entering Finland, Ireland, Malta, the United Kingdom or Norway in accordance with Commission Delegation Ordinance (EU) No. 1152/2011, as follows:

  • Treatment should be administered by a veterinarian within 120 hours and at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment.
  • Treatment must be confirmed by the managing veterinarian in the appropriate section of the animal health certificate.

This is all about the most visited countries, we hope this blog post was helpful for you and you already know the continuation of the steps, what you have to do, approximately how much you will pay, etc. 

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