Whether you have brought your beloved pets with you to China or adopted them locally, it’s never too early to learn about exit requirements to ensure a smooth departure when preparing to take your pets with you when you leave China.
Keep in mind that you will need to prepare for two sets of processes when moving to another country with your pets. The first is clearing the exit process for China, which is easy and straightforward (see below). The second process is fulfilling the entry requirements for the country to which your pets are relocating. This may be more involved, depending on the country, and is best managed by preparing well in advance of your departure date, usually 6 months or more if heading to countries within the European Union and strict quarantine control countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
Entry requirements for each country vary, so it’s recommended that pet owners check with the embassy, department of agriculture or quarantine bureau of the country in question for accurate guidelines on vaccination and other requirements.
Here are the three simple steps for clearing exit requirements for pet owners based China:
Step 1: Rabies vaccinations and the Vaccination Immunity Certificate
Complete rabies vaccination and obtain official Vaccination Immunity Certificate at least 30 days but not more than 12 months prior to departure.
Animals departing China must be rabies-vaccinated at an official animal vaccination hospital in the PRC and must have the official Shanghai Animal Health and Immunity Certificate (vaccination book). The rabies vaccination must have been administered at least 30 days but not more than 12 months before the departure date.
It’s a good idea to keep good records of your pet’s local vaccinations upon adoption or arrival in Shanghai. By law, all dogs must be rabies-vaccinated annually in the PRC.
Step 2: Health examination and health certificate
Undergo health examination not more than 7 days before departure date at the government run Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureaus animal hospital.
After your pets have completed their vaccinations and have obtained the official vaccination book, pet owners may schedule an appointment for an exit health examination for their pets at the designated government quarantine bureau animal hospital, 7 days prior to departure date from China. Your pets will undergo a brief examination that may include blood tests and stool checks. Once completed, you will be issued an Animal Health Inspection Certificate (Health Certificate), which is required to obtain the official Animal Health Certificate for Exit (Exit Permit) from the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.
Fees will be charged for the examination and the tests. Owners should bring the pet, the vaccination book, passport (one passport per pet) and cash at the time of the visit.
It’s best to go for the health examination early in the morning; the hospital opens at 8:30am. If you’re not proficient in Mandarin, it’s recommended you bring a Chinese-speaking friend to help with communication.
The Health Certificate is usually issued within 2 business days of the examination and is valid for 7 days from issue date. If the Health Certificate is not exchanged for an exit permit before the expiration date, the health examination must be repeated.
Step 3: Animal Health Certificate for Exit (Exit Permit)
Pick up the Exit Permit from the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau after receiving the health certificate.
Owners may exchange the health certificate for the official Animal Health Certificate for Exit (Exit Permit). The Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau operates a processing office inside the quarantine bureau’s animal hospital, where owners may apply for the Exit Permit. Bring your vaccination book, the health certificate and your passport. It’s not necessary to bring your pet. The Exit Permit is usually processed within 2 business days and is good for 14 days once issued. Please confirm the latest regulations with the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, since government agencies may revise policies at any time without prior notice. With the Exit Permit, pet owners have 14 days to take their pets overseas.
Entry regulations for pets
Entry requirements for the importation of pets vary from country to country. A brief summary of entry requirements for popular destination countries is provided below, for reference only. Regulations are subject to change without notice. Please research entry requirements as early as possible and contact the embassy, department of agriculture or quarantine bureau of your destination country for the latest regulations.
CONTINENTAL USA AND CANADA
- Rabies vaccination required (at least 30 days to 12 months before entry)
- No microchipping, no rabies antibody titre testing, no quarantine if requirements met
EU COUNTRIES AND JAPAN
- Rabies vaccination and rabies antibody titre testing at least 3-6 months before animal arrives
- Microchipping and/or tattoo (varies by country)
- Japan requires 2 rabies vaccines within six months of arrival
- UK has mandatory 6 months quarantine for animals from the PRC
- Quarantine if requirements not met in all other EU countries
- No direct importing of animals from PRC
- Animals must reside in another approved country for at least six months before entering Australia/New Zealand (approved countries include USA, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and some EU countries)
- Mandatory 30 days quarantine upon arrival
- Microchipping, rabies and other vaccinations and rabies antibody titre testing required
MICROCHIPPING FOR EXPORTING PETS
Please check the pet import requirements of your destination country with the embassy, department of agriculture or quarantine bureau. Microchipping is required by Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union, among others. Canada and the United States (excluding Hawaii) do not require pets to be microchipped for entry. To import pets into Hawaii, please check the USDA or CDC web sites for import requirements as regulations are very different to those of the continental USA.
RABIES ANTIBODY TITRE TESTING
All European Union countries require rabies antibody titre testing for pets entering the EU. The continental United States and Canada currently do not.
Countries requiring the rabies antibody titre test usually stipulate that the pet be vaccinated for rabies at least 4 to 7 months prior to departure. One month after the rabies vaccination, the pet’s blood needs to be sampled and the separated serum taken to an official EU-authorised laboratory that can perform the rabies antibody titre test.
QUARANTINE BEFORE EXIT FROM CHINA
There is no quarantine requirement for pets exiting China. There may be quarantine requirements in your destination country. Please check with the embassy or government quarantine bureau of your destination country.