Please review the requirements below to ensure your pet is compliant with the Australian pet import regulations. These requirements are for pets traveling from the USA to Australia.
The requirements for cats and dogs to enter Australia are as follows:
- Identity Verification (dogs only)
- Rabies Vaccination
- General Vaccinations
- Rabies titer test
- RNAT Declaration
- Import Permit
- Quarantine Reservation
- Additional Blood Tests (dogs only)
- External Parasite Treatments
- Internal Parasite Treatments
- Final Exam & Health Certificate
Your cat or dog must be implanted with an ISO-compatible microchip BEFORE the below required treatments. The correct microchip number must be accurately recorded on all of your pet's paperwork.
ISO-compatible microchips have 15 digits and the chip should be scanned at every vet visit by a USDA-Accredited Vet to ensure it is readable & consistent with your pet's records.
Microchips that begin with the numbers "999" are NOT acceptable. If your pet's microchip cannot be read or is not correctly reported on their paperwork, they cannot enter Australia.
2. Identity Verification
As of March 1, 2023, Australia is implementing this new requirement.
The microchip must be scanned & verified by the "competent authority" (in the USA, this is the USDA) BEFORE the blood is drawn for the rabies titer test. The USDA will then be required to send this evidence directly to DAFF in Australia.
If your pet is able to complete the identity verification OR if they originated in Australia and have proof of identification with Australian documentation, then they will be eligible for a 10-day quarantine.
If your pet is NOT able to complete the identity verification, then they will be required to spend 30 days in quarantine.
Please note that the USDA is unable to meet this requirement at this time. This means that pets traveling from the USA that did not originate in Australia, will be required to spend 30 days in quarantine.
3. Rabies Vaccination
AFTER the microchip is implanted/scanned, your pet must be given an inactivated rabies vaccination.
It must be administered when your pet is at least 84 days old, and must be kept current, without expiring, through the rabies titer test and until the time of export.
3-year vaccinations are acceptable as long as they are administered according to the manufacturer's instructions.
The Rabies Vaccination Certificate must contain the following details:
- Date given
- Date due
- Pets details & microchip number
- FULL name of manufacturer (ex. Zoetis, Merial, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck)
- FULL name of vaccine product (ex. Defensor 3, Imrab 3, Rabvac 3, Nobivac-1)
- Serial or lot # of the vaccine
- Lot expiration
- Original ink vet signature
- Vet license #
4. General Vaccinations
If you don't want to do a blood test, dogs must be vaccinated for Leptospirosis in a series of two shots following manufacturer guidelines - with the second vaccine or annual booster given at least 14 days before travel. Unvaccinated dogs must be tested for Leptospirosis (see other blood tests).
Dogs coming from the US must receive full canine influenza virus (CIV) immunization, at least 14 days before departure. (You must follow manufacturer guidelines with a primary vaccination + booster given 3 weeks later. All boosters thereafter are valid for 1 year.
If your pet will be boarding at all prior to or after travel, then they will still require these additional vaccinations:
- FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus & Panleukopenia)
- CIV (Canine Influenza Virus)
- DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza)
5. Rabies Titer Test
Pets must complete a Rabies Neutralizing Antibody Titer (RNAT) blood test at least 3-4 weeks after the rabies vaccination. A passing result is >/= 0.5 IU/mL.
The RNAT blood draw must be completed by a government-approved veterinarian (USDA-Accredited) and the blood samples must be sent to an approved laboratory (The Rabies Laboratory at Kansas State University in the USA). The testing laboratory must complete a Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) test or a Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test (RFFIT).
The RNAT test is valid for 12 months from the date of the blood draw.
Cats and dogs cannot enter Australia until at least 180 days after the blood sample arrives at the lab. There is no exception to this rule.
It can take 3-4 weeks (or more) to receive the results of the rabies titer test back from the lab.
6. RNAT Declaration
The USDA must verify the rabies titer test results and rabies vaccination certificate and then complete, sign & endorse the RNAT Declaration.
**Starwood will take care of this requirement on your behalf.
It can take several weeks for the USDA to review, endorse and send it back to us.
7. Import Permit
AFTER the RNAT Declaration is received back from the USDA, then we can apply for the import permit.
**Starwood will take care of this requirement on your behalf.
The Import Permit takes 6-8 weeks on average to be issued by the Department of Agriculture in Australia. We cannot make a quarantine reservation until the import permit is issued.
8. Quarantine Reservation
Once the import permit is received, then we request a quarantine reservation.
All pets must fly directly into Melbourne International Airport to complete their post-entry quarantine period.
Quarantine takes several weeks to get back to us with the approved arrival date.
Quarantine space is limited and is granted on a first-come-first-serve basis. We cannot guarantee the date you request will be accepted by PEQ. We will let you know the approved arrival date once PEQ has confirmed it.
Pets cannot arrive in Australia on a weekend or Australian holiday.
9. Additional Blood Tests (dogs only)
Dogs are required to complete additional blood tests and the blood draw must be done by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian and submitted to an approved lab. It is NOT recommended that your vet uses an intermediary lab as they are not all approved for export testing and this may cause problems or delays. We strongly recommend that you use Protatek Reference Lab.
The below tests are solely for dogs; cats only require the Rabies Titer Test (FAVN). All of the results for these tests must be negative or your dog cannot travel to Australia.
These tests must be completed within 45 days prior to travel:
- Leishmania Infantum: Using either an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) or an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
- Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola (only required if the dog is not fully vaccinated for Leptospirosis): A Microscopic Agglutination Test (MAT) is required. The result must be negative at a serum dilution of 1:100.
- Brucella Canis (for intact dogs only - if your pet is spayed or neutered, this is not required): Any of the following test types are accepted - rapid slide agglutination test (RSAT), a tube agglutination test (TAT) or an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT). If your dog is intact, they cannot be mated from 14 days prior to Brucella testing until export.
10. External Parasite Treatments
A USDA-Accredited Vet must treat the animal in their office with an approved external parasite treatment effective against ticks & fleas.
Dogs must be treated at least 30 days prior to export. The treatment must remain valid until the time of export, so additional treatments may be necessary.
Cats must be treated at least 21 days prior to export. The treatment must remain valid until the time of export, so additional treatments may be necessary.
The vet must examine your pet to make sure they do not have any ticks or fleas on them. If ticks or fleas are found then they must be removed and the treatment must be restarted.
11. Internal Parasite Treatments
A USDA-Accredited Vet must treat the animal in their office with an approved internal parasite treatment effective against both nematodes and cestodes.
Cats and dogs must be treated twice within 45 days prior to travel. The first treatment must be done at least 14 days prior to the second treatment. The second treatment must be given within 5 days prior to export.
12. Final Exam & Health Certificate
Cats and dogs must be examined by a USDA-Accredited Vet within 5 days prior to export. The vet will also need to complete the Australian International Health Certificate.
The certificate and supporting documents will then be sent to the USDA for their official endorsement. These endorsed documents must travel with your pet on the day of departure.
Copies of the documents can be used, but they must bear the original signature & stamp of the official government veterinarian (USDA) on every page.**It is recommended that you also keep a copy of your pet's documents.
**Starwood will take care of the final exam, health certificate, and USDA endorsement on your behalf.
You can also view these requirements on the Australian Government's website here.