Relocating Your Family to Australia

You’ll know that relocating to another country has its challenges and can be grey-hair inducing. Add an animal or two into the mix, and your anxiety levels could be through the roof. At PetAir, they understand that these furry animals are very much part of your family, and will help guide you through the process with ease. Remember it’s something that they do all day, every day. PetAir has fine-tuned their services to accommodate both you and your animals and take the stress out of travelling. 

What is the process?

We firstly recommend that you give yourself ample time to ensure the smooth running of your relocation. Please start the process as soon as you have your relocation confirmed because it can take a few months. There can be unplanned setbacks or delays with vaccination requirements, animal illness or administration errors.

Recruit PetAir

The rules and regulations surrounding pet importation are often changing. You can breathe easily with PetAir. They have fully trained experts that understand the importance of your pets and the ever-changing landscape. They will make sure that your pets meet the import requirements. Each pet must be fully vaccinated and be at least three months old. 

Banned breeds

The government has specific guidelines that you must follow. The criteria to import dogs are strict.

The following dogs are banned:

  • Japanese Tosa 
  • Fila Brasileiro 
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Perrode Presa Canario
  • American Pit Bull Terrier

It is worth mentioning that there is not a prohibition on ownership.


Importation Zoned Areas and Procedures:

Group 1

Cats and dogs from New Zealand and Norfolk Island do not require an import permit to enter Australia, however cats from Cocos (Keeling) Islands do. 

Group 2

The following countries are approved rabies-free countries:

American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Christmas Island, Cook Island, Falkland Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Iceland, Japan, Kiribati Mauritius, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.

Some of the South Pacific islands have limited animal health services and might not have a government-approved veterinarian to perform examinations, treatment or blood tests. It is essential to discuss this with PetAir and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on how to proceed further. 

Group 3

Group 3 countries are approved countries in which rabies is absent or well-controlled. Animals imported from these countries require an import permit. 

Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary and Balearic Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Netherlands—Antilles & Aruba, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, the Republic of South Africa, Reunion, Saipan, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States (including the district of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands but excluding Guam and Hawaii) and Uruguay.

Other Countries

Animals from non-approved countries are not eligible for direct import to Australia. Animals falling into this section must be imported from a Group 2 or 3 country. Each animal must reside in this country for at least six months.  



It’s essential to ensure that your pets have all of the relevant vaccinations within the stipulated times.

The department recommends that your dog receives a vaccination that protects against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica and is valid for the entire post entry quarantine period.


  • Leptospirosis
  • Parvovirus (DHLPP)
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Distemper 
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica 
  • Canine Influenza (Singapore, Republic of Korea, Canada and USA only)



  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
  • Calicivirus
  • Panleukopenia (FVRCP)

All of these vaccinations should be administered no less than two weeks before your export date and must be valid post quarantine.

Your pets must also have treatment for internal and external parasites.

Rabies Vaccine and Certificate

Cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies. Your veterinary surgeon will provide you with a certificate that states the microchip number, the validity of the vaccination, and the date of inoculation. Rabies vaccines are valid for one, two or three years. The vaccine must be the inactivated or recombinant variety. The vaccine must be administered between 30 days and 12 months before your pet’s flight into Australia. 

Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titer Test (RNAT) for Cats and Dogs

Once your pet has had their rabies vaccination, you will need to wait approximately four weeks before collecting a blood sample for the RNAT test. The test must meet the following requirements:

  • A government-approved vet must scan the cat’s microchip and collect the blood sample for the RNAT testing in an approved country
  • The microchip number must be recorded accurately on the blood tube and laboratory submission form
  • The test is to be carried out by the competent authority approved laboratory in the country of export. It is possible to draw blood in one approved country and have it tested in another approved country
  • The testing laboratory must use either a fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation (FAVN) test or a rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT)
  • The laboratory report must be in English and written on the testing laboratory’s letterhead. It must include:
  • the cat’s microchip number
  • the blood sampling date and location
  • the signature of the person issuing the laboratory report
  • the test type and test result
  • A result of 0.5 IU/ml or more is acceptable. A result of less than 0.5 IU/ml is not acceptable and you must re-vaccinate and repeat the testing process.
  • The RNAT test is valid for 24 months from the date of blood sampling. If the RNAT test is more than 24 months old at the time of export, it is not valid, and you must have your cat re-tested
  • Your pet is only eligible for export to Australia 180 days after the blood sample arrives at the lab for this RNAT test and has a satisfactory result

Once satisfactory results have been received, you will need to complete the following:

  • Submit the RNAT test laboratory report and rabies vaccination certificate to an official government veterinarian.
  • An official government veterinarian in the country of export must complete, sign and stamp the RNAT test declaration.
  • The microchip number, test result and blood sampling date must be consistent on the RNAT test laboratory report and RNAT test declaration
  • Ensure that the completed RNAT test declaration states the name of the testing laboratory


The authorities will only identify your pets with a microchip, and the corresponding vet stamped pet passport. A microchip is an integrated identification circuit placed under the skin of your pet. The rice grain size chip uses passive radio-frequency identification technology. It must be implanted before the rabies vaccination is administered. The Australian government accepts microchips that comply with AVID 9 or AVID 10 and ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785.

The microchip must have the ability to be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader. If the microchip cannot be read, your pet will not be permitted entry into Australia. Ensure that your microchip number is unique and does not begin with 999.

Your government approved vet must record the microchip number on all documentation.

Import Permit

PetAir can provide you with the necessary import permit that is required to allow your pets into Australia. Each of your pets will require an import permit from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment through their Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON). You will need to provide the following supporting documentation:

  • Rabies vaccination and RNAT test declaration form.
  • RNAT test laboratory report.
  • A veterinary medical form from your veterinarian detailing any medical conditions 

The PetAir team will provide you with the exact requirements for your country of origin. Ensure that you allow at least 20-working days to have your import permit application processed. The import permits are valid for 12-months from the date of issue.

Veterinary Certification

You will need to send an official health certificate that states the name, age, description and microchip identification number of each pet within five days of your flight. The microchip identification number is 15-digits long. Without this, the government will deny your pet entry into the country. 

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment states that the certificate must also include the following information before export:

  • The animal has been examined and found to be healthy and free from any clinical sign of rabies and infectious, parasites or contagious diseases 
  • The animal has been vaccinated against rabies using an approved anti-rabies vaccine
  • The vaccination history and health status of your pet
  • That your pet is healthy enough for air travel 

Make at least five copies of the certification and vaccination records for the following:

  • Airline
  • Pet travel crate
  • Transit permit (if necessary)
  • Australian quarantine
  • One for you


Your pets must spend at least 10-days in Mickleham post entry quarantine facility in Melbourne. Your pets must arrive directly into Melbourne International Airport. Domestic transfers from an Australian city to Melbourne are not permitted. Your pets must travel as manifested cargo in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate.

PetAir is a government registered pet relocation company which means that they can liaise directly with the quarantine facility and do not have to rely on a third-party. 

Each animal will be allocated an individual pen at the time of booking, they are climate controlled for the comfort of your pet. If you are importing multiple animals, they will endeavour to house them next to each other by species. The quarantine centre will provide all necessary bedding and feeding bowls for the animals. A high-quality, vetinerary approved diet is also provided. The quarantine centre will ensure that your pets are groomed and have all necessary vetinerary care.

Plan to visit your pets often. They will need extra love and treats so that they don’t feel abandoned. Don’t forget to take a cushion for you to sit on; there are no chairs provided. 

Additional Information

There are no restrictions on the number of pets imported, but the local Australian authorities might have local regulations about the number of pets that can be kept in residential premises.

You are required to obtain all of the necessary permits that will allow you to import your pets into Australia. PetAir can also help you arrange the import permit on your behalf. Quarantine officers may not allow pets to enter the country if there are no import permits. 

We hope that this reassures you, but should you need more specific advice, please let the helpful team at PetAir help, they are all delighted to help you.

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