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VI. Travel and pets

A. Importing your pet into Hong Kong

1. Dog or cat

It is necessary to have secured a permit from the AFCD before importing a pet dog or cat into Hong Kong. A permit may be issued to a pet owner by the AFCD after an application has been made on the prescribed form and a fee of $432 has been paid. The application for a permit can be downloaded from the AFCD webpage.

Quarantine periods of at least four months may be enforced against animals from jurisdictions where rabies is still considered a risk. Dogs and cats imported directly from rabies free countries, which are Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Fiji, Hawaii and Japan, normally will not be required to undergo quarantine. However animals imported from these seven countries must still be accompanied by a prescribed Animal Health Certificate to show they are disease free. The requirements for an Animal Health Certificate can be downloaded from the AFCD webpage.

The Certificate requires veterinary certification that the animal has, within the past year, been vaccinated against parvovirus, distemper and infectious hepatitis (for dogs) or cat flu and infectious enteritis (for cats). The animal would normally also need to have resided in the country from which it will enter Hong Kong for at least six months (or from birth).

It will also be necessary for dogs and cats aged five months and older to have been vaccinated against rabies within the past year before being importedfrom Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belguim, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Island, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guam, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Norway, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Taiwan, USA (Continental), Vanuatu and the Virgin Islands. The Certificate which must accompany the animal can be downloaded from the AFCD website.

For dogs and cats imported from other countries not listed above (including China) a minimum of four months quarantine should be expected. They should be micro chipped before import and fully vaccinated against parvovirus, distemper and infectious hepatitis (for dogs) or cat flu and infectious enteritis (for cats). A Health Certificate showing the animal’s vaccination history must accompany the animal. Details of the requirements for certification are available on the AFCD website.

For animals to be imported from China a permit must be sought before entry. The permit is available for download from the AFCD website.

It is also a requirement that dogs and cats imported from China must have an Animal Health Certificate showing the animal has been fully vaccinated against parvovirus, distemper and infectious hepatitis (for dogs) or cat flu and infectious enteritis (for cats). This certificate must accompany the animal. The Animal Health Certificate requirements can be downloaded here.

As there are only two quarantine facilities operating in Hong Kong, space should be booked in the kennel/cattery on Hong Kong Island or Kowloon at least three months in advance. Dogs of five months of age and older will be licensed on entering Hong Kong and, if not already so vaccinated, they must be vaccinated against rabies.

Importing a disability or guide dog

Special permits are granted for the import of service dogs (e.g. guide dogs) and quarantine periods are usually waived if the animal has an Animal Health Certificate declaring it has been vaccinated for parvovirus, distemper, infectious hepatitis and rabies. The application for a permit to import a disability or guide dog can be downloaded from the AFCD website.

Information on the Rabies antibody test are detailed on the AFCD website.

A declaration regarding the type of service provided by the dog must also be completed. This can be downloaded from the AFCD’s website.

The requirements for the Animal Health Certificate for a service dog can be downloaded here.

2. Birds

The fee for importing a pet bird is $344.

Pet birds may be imported with a special permit where the AFCD does not consider there is risk of Avian Flu. The bird must have been quarantined for 21 days prior to export and checked for Avian Flu. The bird must also be accompanied by a health certificate signed by a vet within 5 days before export. The requirements for a pet bird import permit can be downloaded from the AFCD website.

3. Rodents and reptiles

The fee for importing pets of this nature is $344.

A special permit must be obtained before the animal can be imported to Hong Kong. Mammals must have been kept indoors for six months prior to import (or from birth) and must show no signs of rabies. Chinchillas must be over 12 weeks old and certified as bred in captivity. The permit application can be downloaded from the AFCD website.

Pet turtles must be certified as free of salmonellosis. The application for a permit for importing a pet turtle can be downloaded here.

For reptiles, the AFCD has a list of approved species and some pets may not be permitted entry. A permit should always be sought and where necessary the owner of a snake may be required to pay for an expert snake handler to handle the snake during inspection. The application for an import permit can be downloaded here.

B. Taking your pet with you when you leave Hong Kong

Overseas countries have their own import requirements and many will require advance planning and vaccinations before the animal can be transported abroad. In Hong Kong there are a few commercial companies that can assist with the logistical arrangements for moving pets to countries abroad. If it is truly impossible to take the animal to the new country and the owner is migrating permanently then careful arrangements should be made for its re-homing with friends in Hong Kong. Giving animals to already overcrowded animal shelters is not usually in the best interests of an animal which has known the security of a private home. Giving the animal to strangers met on the Internet may result in it ending up abandoned or imprisoned in a puppy/kitten breeding farm.

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