Sending cats and dogs to Australia
To take your cat or dog to Australia there are requirements to meet. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved. Other types of pets follow a different process.
UPDATE – 2 FEBRUARY 2021
Dogs imported into New Zealand for onward travel to Australia
All dogs which have been imported into New Zealand require testing for Leishmania infantum and Ehrlichia canis prior to entry into Australia.
We strongly recommend that all dogs being imported into New Zealand and which are being exported to Australia at a later date, are tested for the diseases before they come to New Zealand.
However, pre-entry tests cannot be used for certification requirements of dogs to Australia. Your dog will have to be tested again before it's sent to Australia. That test must be done after your dog has been living in New Zealand for at least 21 days. (And dogs cannot be sent to Australia until they have lived in New Zealand for more than 90 days).
Note that Leishmania infantum is an unwanted, notifiable organism in New Zealand. If your dog tests positive for the disease in New Zealand:
- it is unlikely your dog will be allowed to remain in New Zealand
- it will not be eligible for export to Australia.
When to alert MPI
If you're exporting a pet, you're responsible for telling MPI within 24 hours if the pet:
- doesn't have the required export documents – for example, if they're removed or lost
- fails to meet relevant overseas market access requirements (OMARs)
- is refused entry by a foreign government.
Follow the steps
What you need to know
An overview of exporting cats and dogs to Australia from start to finish.
Types of pets included in this process
This process covers exporting only cats and dogs to Australia. Exporting other types of pets to Australia or pets to another country, follows a different process.
To export your cat or dog to Australia successfully you must:
- have your cat or dog microchipped
- ensure your cat or dog meets all of the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR’s) for cats and dogs to Australia
- use a pet exporter (recommended)
- ensure all the necessary documentation is completed correctly
- check if you have to complete an Owner Statutory Declaration form
- get an export certificate from an MPI-approved veterinarian
- be aware of relevant legislation.
If you're planning to later bring your pet back to New Zealand, make sure you check the requirements for bringing pets into New Zealand before you leave.
Consider using a registered pet exporter
MPI recommends you use a registered pet exporter to help arrange tests, treatments, flights, crates and other requirements. Most airlines will only deal with a pet exporter as this adds assurance that all requirements will be completed at the appropriate time before departure. Fees and charges apply.
New Zealand has an agreement with Australia that makes it easier to export your cat or dog. Unlike most other countries, you don't need an Animal Welfare Export Certificate.
Before sending your cat or dog to Australia, contact an MPI-approved veterinarian. They're authorised to certify your pet is fit and healthy for travel. And they sign the export certificate.
Note that MPI-approved vets:
- are not employed by MPI
- exercise their own clinical judgements and professional practices
- have sole discretion to decide the tests and checks needed for export certification.
What you need to do
The tasks you need to complete.
Check Australian requirements
Export requirements are detailed in legal documents called OMAR’s (Overseas Market Access Requirements). The OMAR for taking cats and dogs to Australia explains all of the requirements that must be met prior to export, including:
- ensuring your cat or dog is microchipped
- what parasite treatments are needed
- whether any tests are needed
- when the treatments and tests need to be done.
Download the OMAR for cats and dogs to Australia. [PDF, 501 KB]
Early preparation is recommended. Your pet may require tests or treatments to be done weeks before it leaves. Your vet might also have to order in some infrequently used treatments.
Use a registered pet exporter (recommended)
While MPI doesn't require you to use a pet exporter, most airlines will only deal with pet exporters. MPI recommends you use a registered pet exporter – they know the exporting system and can help make the process a lot smoother for both you and your pet.
Note that pet exporters will be able to give an idea of the total cost of exporting your pet. MPI can only provide you with information about the fees we charge.
If you're exporting commercially, you must register with MPI as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter. Exporter registration can be done online, or by completing a printed form.
If you have questions about registering as an exporter, email email@example.com
Get a suitable crate and other provisions for travel
Your pet will need to travel in an approved crate and have other provisions to comply with International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements – unless it's travelling on a personal boat or yacht. Your pet exporter can arrange this for you. It's a good idea to get your crate early and get your pet used to being in and around it.
Get an export certificate
MPI-approved vets issue export certificates for cats and dogs travelling to Australia. Contact one of the approved vets to get a certificate for your cat or dog. We recommend you ask for a pre-export check before your vet does the actual export certification.
Do you need an owner's statutory declaration?
If someone is exporting your cat or dog to Australia on your behalf (for example, a registered pet exporter or a representative), you need to complete an owner statutory declaration. An owner statutory declaration has to be witnessed by an authorised person like a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a lawyer. MPI-approved vets require the original owner statutory declaration form so that the nominated person presenting the cat or dog to them can sign all the necessary documents on your behalf. Note, you don't need a declaration form if you're presenting your own cat and dog for export certification.
Download the owner statutory declaration form [PDF, 158 KB]
Who can witness statutory declarations?
The types of people who are authorised to witness statutory declarations are listed in the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 (section 9 for declarations made in New Zealand and section 11 for Australia). In New Zealand, the list includes lawyers, JPs, some court registrars and police officers, and members of Parliament.
Assistance dogs are exempt from export certificate fees. Assistance dogs have to meet all the requirements of Australia.
If you are planning to export pet ashes, contact Australian officials for the requirements. You may also have to meet other requirements. These might be commercial requirements or requirements set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service.
Be familiar with the official assurance programme
MPI's official assurance programme (OAP) for exporting live animals helps exporters meet the import requirements of their destination country. The focus is on the export of live animals for commercial purposes. However, pet exporters and vets should be aware of all aspects of the OAP for live animals.
How you know you're ready to export
Getting your export documentation.
You're officially ready to export your cat or dog to Australia when you have an MPI export certificate.