Importing pets into South Africa

We would like to make you aware that pet travel is vastly different to human travel. Importing pets into South Africa can be a very tricky process, therefore it is important that you follow the guidelines provided by your dedicated pet travel consultant very carefully.

We primarily assist with importation of dogs, cats & birds but we can assist you with the importation of other family favourite animals too. Should you have a different type of pet, please contact us in order for us to find out if they are allowed to be imported into South Africa.

We would strongly recommend that the very first thing you do is acquaint and establish yourself with these few very important points:

  • Obtain, receive and accept our quote
  • Understand your pet’s travel requirements with your dedicated consultant’s guidance
  • Adhere to your pet’s veterinary schedules and timelines provided by your consultant

You do better when you know better…. Read the below points to Know Better.

Understanding your import pet travel quotation.

Our standard Import Quote usually includes only the entry into South Africa import services and excludes the airfreight and export services from your country of origin. However, should you require a full door to door service we can happily oblige and provide you with an all inclusive quote.

Quote for Import services only. …What does this mean?
  • Your dedicated consultant will advise you on the requirements and documentation needed to enter South Africa.
  • We will apply for and collect your import permit.
  • Upon arrival in South Africa we will meet the incoming flight and liaise with the state vet and customs officers to clear your pets into South Africa. We will collect your pet from the airline and deliver to your new residence.
  • If quarantine is required, we will arrange their stay at the quarantine facility and once completed we will collect (usually a Friday) and deliver your pets to your new residence.
  • Please note: You or your appointed travel agent are responsible for your pet’s export preparations to South Africa. Your appointed travel agent in your origin country should also be responsible for making all travel arrangements and provide all Export services.
Quote for Full Export & Import services – door to door. …What does this mean?
  • Your dedicated consultant will advise you on the requirements and documentation needed to enter South Africa.
  • We will apply for and collect your import permit.
  • We will appoint a travel agent at your origin and arrange all the veterinary preparations and Export services e.g. schedule for veterinary tests and treatments, endorsement of the health certificate and book flights from your origin country to South Africa.
  • Upon arrival in South Africa we will meet the incoming flight and liaise with the state vet and customs officers to clear your pets into South Africa. We will collect your pet from the airline and deliver to your new residence.
  • If quarantine is required, we will arrange their stay at the quarantine facility and once completed we will collect (usually a Friday) and deliver your pets to your new residence.

Accepting our quote for your pet’s travel services.

Please let us know that you are accepting our quote so our Admin. department can supply you with your invoice.

You can either pay the required non-refundable deposit or the full amount.

Once your payment reflects in our account, your file will be allocated to your dedicated consultant.

Working with your dedicated consultant.

Your dedicated consultant will contact you to establish a relationship with you and your pets and at the same time collect all the travel information specific to your pet’s relocation needs.

You will be asked to send us copies of your pets’ veterinary documentation so your consultant can establish your travel preparedness and advise accordingly.

You will be asked to complete our Required Information Sheet, the Import Permit Authorisation and Quarantine Indemnity documents with your contact details, collection / delivery addresses. It is important that you do this immediately, because if there is anything wrong with your paperwork, your consultant will be able to pick it up timeously and guide you accordingly.

Kindly note it can take 2 – 3 working weeks to obtain an import permit from the permits office, therefore it is important to send the signed Import Permit Authorisation form and Quarantine Indemnity form onto your dedicated consultant as soon as possible to avoid any delays.

Adhering to South Africa’s import requirements.

All dogs and cats imported into South Africa must be registered, as manifest cargo and cannot fly as excess baggage. The Directorate Veterinary Services does not have veterinary officials that can check paperwork at the passenger terminal of O.R.Tambo (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International Airports. Dogs and cats can only disembark via the cargo terminal of the respective airports.

Cats do not require any blood testing or quarantine in order to enter South Africa.

All dogs arriving into South Africa require blood testing.

Dogs from certain countries require to be quarantined on arrival in South Africa. A full list of the non-quarantine countries can be found under the requirements for pets into South Africa.

Required documentation for CATS:
  • Import permit – we will obtain it on your behalf. Please note it might take 2-3 working weeks to receive the permit. An Import Permit is valid for 6 months.
  • Microchip – The microchip must be able to be read by an ISO 11784 or ISO 11785 scanner.
  • Valid rabies vaccination – must be older than 30 days and younger than 1 year.
  • South African Health certificate endorsed by Government Veterinarian within 10 days of export.
  • Cats do not require any blood testing or quarantine in order to enter South Africa.
Required documentation for DOGS:
  • Import permit – we will obtain it on your behalf. Please note it might take 2-3 working weeks to receive the permit. Non-quarantine permit is valid for 6 months.
  • Microchip – The microchip must be able to be read by an ISO 11784 or ISO 11785 scanners.
  • Valid rabies vaccination – must be older than 30 days and younger than 1 year
  • 5 Blood tests are required. These blood tests need to be done within 30 days of shipment. Please refer to the paragraph below.
  • Dogs imported from countries not certified free from Dirofilaria immitis must be treated from the date of negative testing until export at the required intervals as stipulated in the South African health certificate. Sufficient Dirofilaria immitis medication needs to accompany the dog to South Africa so that the dogs can receive a six month course of medication after importation into South Africa.
  • This might not be necessary for import, but will be specified on the health certificate which is issued with the import permit.
  • The South African Health certificate (including blood test results) must be endorsed by a Government Veterinarian within 10 days of export.
  • Quarantine is required for dogs only and only from specific countries. Please check with your consultant if quarantine will be applicable to your dogs upon arrival in South Africa.
Blood testing for dogs.

It is important to familiarise yourself with the testing requirements. We suggest that you print out the requirements for pets into South Africa and take it to your vet to discuss the required testing methods for the 5 blood tests and 2 blood smears required for dogs to enter South Africa. It is best that this is done sooner rather than later.

You need to ensure that your vet understands the requirements and that they ensure that they send the blood samples onto an approved government laboratory that can test the samples according to the specified testing methods. We recommend that the blood samples are send to Ondersterpoort Laboratory in Pretoria for testing to ensure that the correct methods are used. If you are using a laboratory other than Ondersterpoort please double check the methods used and make sure the laboratory is aware of the methods as stated on the South African Health Certificate. The methods MUST also be noted on the tests results.

Dogs arriving into South Africa with incorrect results might be returned to the country of origin at their owners’ expense.

All the blood tests must be done within 30 days of departure to South Africa. Only if the Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country have an agreement in place with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa, stating that the exporting country is free from one or more of the above mentioned five diseases then the dogs exported to South Africa do not need to have blood tests done for the disease that the exporting country is free from. Dogs imported from the USA and EU Member States must be tested for all five diseases, as listed below.

Click to read more Import requirements for cats and dogs into South Africa.