Bringing Your Pet Guide
Outlined below are the requirements for pet owners wishing to bring their dogs or cats into South Africa. While the procedures for other animals are generally the same, your best bet for ensuring that you follow the right procedures is to send a query regarding your specific animal to the Department of Agriculture’s general enquiries section. Call 012 319 6000 or visit http://www.daff.gov.za
There is no quarantine for cats, but South Africa requires a 14 day quarantine for dogs from certain countries. The list of countries subject to quarantine can change at any time. Visit http://www.globalpaws.co.za/quarantine.htm for the latest updates.
To be imported into South Africa, all pet dogs and cats need to be accompanied by the following documents.
- A valid certificate of rabies vaccination. ‘Valid’ indicates that said vaccination occurred no less than 1 month (30 days) and no more than 1 year before the intended date of travel. Pets coming from New Zealand, Australia and the UK don’t need to have rabies vaccinations.
- An import permit. This can be acquired by submitting one of the “Application to Import Animals” to the offices of the Director for Animal Health. The form you submit will depend on whether or not your pet is subject to quarantine or restrictions.
The different forms are available at http://www.southafrica-newyork.net/consulate/animals.htm and should be addressed to:
The Director of Animal Health
Private Bag X138
The office’s fax number is 011 27 12 329 8292
The form you submit must be accompanied by a fee of R110. You can choose to send cash (personal cheques are not accepted) or a proof of payment after depositing the money into the Department of Agriculture’s bank account:
Bank: SA Reserve Bank
Account Number: 8033 212 9
Branch Code: 910145.
Once the department receives your application, a Veterinary Import Permit and a Veterinary Health Certificate will be sent directly to you from the above address.
It’s then your responsibility to determine what the export regulations of your country are with regard to the type of pet you’d like to bring with you. You can normally determine this with reference to the international animal export regulations laid out on the website of your country’s Department of Agriculture or Department of Animal Health. You should probably also contact a local veterinary service office to assist you with ensuring that your pet travels under safe conditions.
Note that your pet must be booked as “manifested cargo” and not as “excess baggage” when it arrives in South Africa, or it will be returned to its port of origin. It must also be accompanied by its Import Permit and its Veterinary Health Certificate.
It’s advisable to book far in advance if you’re transporting pets, as space in airplane cargo holds can be a problem. You’re not allowed to take your pet on as hand luggage. Airlines typically require animals to travel in the temperature controlled hold of the aircraft, for which they must be at least 8 weeks old.