Relocating your family to The United Arab Emirates

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, and most airlines that fly to the UAE insist you use a professional pet exporter to make sure that you follow all of the rules. 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.

Sadly, there are several breeds, cross-breeds or specific hybrids of dog that are banned, including:

  • American pit bull terrier, pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Brazilian fila
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese tosa
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Fila Brasileino
  • Brazilian Mastiff
  • Any breed of Mastiff, Rottweiler, Doberman. Pinscher, Canario Presa or Boxer


No hybrids (offspring of dogs or cats crossed with another species) are eligible for importation, including the Wolf Dog Hybrid.



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


  • Leptospirosis
  • Parvovirus (DHLPP)
  • Hepatitis
  • Distemper 



  • 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. You must provide a vaccination certificate that clearly displays your pet’s current rabies vaccination, manufacturer, batch number and expiration date.



External parasite treatment must be administered within 10-days of transportation. The treatment must be effective against fleas and ticks. Treatment for internal parasites must be effective against nematodes and cestodes. Your pet must be free of evidence of external parasites, and clinical signs of infectious and contagious disease.

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 variety. The vaccine must be administered between 21 days and 12 months before your pet’s flight into the UAE, whether it is a primary vaccination or a booster. You do not require a titre test. 

Rabies Controlled Countries

The following countries are considered rabies-controlled by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Environment and Water. Pet’s arriving from these countries do not need a titre test.

The list is subject to change, so please check with your PetAir co-ordinator. Dogs and cats living in these countries for at least six months prior to travel are exempt from the titre test process. In alphabetical order; Australia, Austria, Andorra, Barbados, Bahrain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Falkland Island, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Malta, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Palau, Latvia, Albania, Bahrain, Croatia, Maldives, Spain, Cyprus, Slovakia, Korea, Montenegro, Seychelles, Suriname, Micronesia, Greece, Marshall Islands and the Bahamas.

All other countries are considered as high-rabies countries and will need to follow the strict rabies titre tests. 

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

If you pets originate from a non-recognised country, you will need to arrange a titre test. Once your pet has had their rabies vaccination, you will need to wait for at least three weeks before collecting a blood sample for the RNAT test. The test must meet the following requirements:

  • The blood test must be taken at least 21-days after the vaccination 
  • Your vet must scan the cat’s microchip and collect the blood sample for the RNAT testing 
  • The test is to be carried out by the competent UAE Government approved blood testing laboratory 
  • 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.
  • Your vet must record the test results and the date that the blood sample was taken in the health certificate
  • The rabies vaccination and corresponding titre test must not expire before import to the UAE. If your dog or cat is returning to the UAE, was vaccinated against rabies and it still has validity, then a titre test is not necessary.


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 UAE government accepts microchips that comply with  ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785.

Import Permit

PetAir will provide you with the necessary import permit that is required to allow your pets into the UAE. They will apply for the permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment at least 21 days after your pet’s rabies vaccination. The import permit is valid for 30 days from the date issued. Each permit can list up to two pets; multiple permits can be issued. If you return to the UAE with your pet, they will need a re-entry card instead of an import permit. The PetAir team will provide you with the exact requirements for your country of origin.

Please note that the UAE will permit a maximum of two pets per person per year. You can import up to five pets if you use PetAir.  

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 24-hours of your flight. The microchip identification number is 15-digits long. Without this, the government will deny your pet entry into the country. PetAir will check all of the details in advance to ensure that they are correct.

 The health 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, contagious diseases or parasites 
  • 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)
  • UAE quarantine
  • One for you

Travel Crate

Your pet will be transported in an IATA approved crate.

All bedding, toys and clothes that travels with your pet will be destroyed on arrival in the UAE. 

On Arrival 

On arrival in the UAE, your pets will be inspected by an official veterinarian. If all requirements are met, they are allowed to enter the country. 


Approved entry points: Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport, and Sharjah International Airport. Pets should arrive on Mondays to Thursdays.

The inspection process is somewhat complicated and can take several hours. We recommend that you employ our services the United Arab Emirates so that we can handle all of the details for you and arrange for speedy clearance through immigration.

Please note that the UAE temperatures soar during the summer months; where possible, it is advisable to avoid the particularly hot months of June, July and August. Each year, Ramadan takes place for a month and working hours are shorter.


Any dogs and cats arriving into the United Arab Emirates from a country that is not listed and considered a high-rabies country without a rabies titre test will be quarantined, and titre tested at your expense. 

Additional Information

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

If you plan to live in the Emirate of Dubai, the breeds as mentioned above (if already resident) and any bull terrier, miniature bull terrier, husky, English bulldogs, Perro de Pressa Mallorquin, bull dog and Shar Pei must be registered with the Veterinary Services Division. They are not permitted to reside in an apartment and, when outside, must be muzzled and leashed at all times.

You are required to obtain all of the necessary permits that will allow you to import your pets into the UAE. Quarantine officers will 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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