The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources manages the biosecurity risk associated with bringing dogs – including assistance dogs–to Australia.
An importer of an assistance dog must provide evidence that satisfies the general eligibility criteria.
Please do not attempt to use the assistance dog import process for your animal unless it meets the department’s assistance dog criteria exactly.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has identified several cases of prospective importers attempting to claim their companion dog as a bona fide assistance dog. In some cases, the prospective importers appear to have been the victims of fraudulent websites that offer assistance dog certification/accreditation services; in other cases, prospective importers have knowingly submitted false documentation in an effort to obtain a valid assistance dog import permit.
Consistent with the
Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the department is able to ask applicants that submit an assistance dog import permit application to provide evidence that supports the applicant’s claim that their dog is a bona fide assistance dog. It is important to note that applicants should not assume their dog will comply with Australia’s requirements, even if the dog is recognised as an assistance dog in the country of export. Further details on the required evidence is provided below.
The department will make inquiries to verify the authenticity of documents provided by applicants. If documents are suspected to not be genuine, the department will initiate an investigation and this could result in charges being laid.
Please note that it is a criminal offence under the
Criminal Code Act 1995 to knowingly give false or misleading information to a Commonwealth officer exercising powers under Commonwealth law. This offence carries a potential penalty of 12 months imprisonment.
Please also note that any website that offers to certify/accredit your pet dog as an assistance dog without a comprehensive training program is likely to be a scam. Documentation that such websites provide won’t be accepted by the department and your application for an import permit may be significantly delayed.
General eligibility criteria
The importer must attach the following completed documents to their import permit application:
Assistance dog declaration form, completed by the handler, declaring that the dog has been in the continuous service of the handler for at least six months prior to export, and agreeing to the conditions of post-arrival quarantine isolation in Australia.
Medical history form for assistance dog handlers, completed by a medical practitioner, providing evidence of a disability and ongoing dependence on an assistance dog.
Assistance dog training form, completed by a representative of a recognised assistance dog training institution, providing confirmation of specialised training. Suitable institutions are member organisations of the
International Guide Dog Federation or
Assistance Dogs International. Alternatively the dog and/or their trainer is accredited under a law of an Australian State or Territory.
These forms are available in the table under
How to complete the Application to import assistance dogs.
If you want to bring your dog from a Group 3 country, you will also need to attach the
Rabies vaccination and rabies neutralising antibody titre test declaration form, completed by the Official Government Veterinarian in the country of export, providing confirmation that the dog has been rabies blood tested at least six months prior to export.
If you are unable to meet the eligibility criteria you can still import your dog under the standard process and will be liable for all fees.
You do not require a permit to import a cat or dog from
New Zealand, however conditions apply. The department will e-mail you confirmation of your dog’s eligibility for import based on the documentation you have supplied. The dog must not be loaded on the airplane without this confirmation.
How to complete the Application to import assistance dogs
You can complete the application manually or electronically. If you require assistance please contact us on 1800 900 090 (within Australia) or +61 3 8318 6700 (outside Australia) or by
- Complete and submit the electronic
Application to import assistance dogs online. It can be submitted electronically within our secure environment.
- Download and complete the manual
Application to import assistance dogs, and post, fax or scan and email it to us.
If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit
web accessibility for assistance.
Please send the completed form to:
Animal and Biological Import AssessmentsFax
: +61 2 6272 3110Post
Animal and Biological Import Assessments
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Import conditions for assistance dogs
The pre-export conditions are the same as for standard dog imports. Please refer to the step-by-step guide for your country of export. There are some important transport, arrival and post-arrival steps that differ from the standard (pet) dog import process. These are outlined below.
Notify the department of your intended arrival
- The importer must notify the department’s office in the state in which the dog will arrive, at least three working days before export, and provide the following: A copy of the valid import permit, completed health certificate and attachments.
- Name of the handler of the assistance dog.
- Nominated address where animal will be held for the minimum post-arrival quarantine isolation period.
- Flight details including airline, flight number, port of departure, port of arrival, time and date of arrival. Please also advise whether your dog will arrive as manifest cargo or in the cabin.
Travel to Australia
The following travel requirements apply to assistance dogs:
- The dog and handler must travel to Australia on the same flight.
- Your assistance dog may travel with its handler in the cabin or as manifested cargo (not in the cabin). If your dog is travelling as manifested cargo, he/she must be contained in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for cats and dogs.
- Your dog can enter Australia at any international airport and must be presented to the department for clearance at this first port of arrival.
- Once the department has cleared your dog, you may take your dog on any Australian domestic flight.
- You should allow at least two (2) hours for the department to perform the clearance process on your dog.
- During transport to Australia dogs may transit (touch down but stay on the same plane) in all countries.
- If you are seeking to change planes in a third country en route to Australia, you may require prior approval from the government of that country.
If you are seeking to arrive in Australia by sea please contact the department for further information.
On arrival in Australia
In recognition of the critical, ongoing and dependent relationship between assistance dogs and handlers, the department will:
- provide a veterinarian to meet clients with eligible assistance dogs in person at the airport (they will audit all documents and examine the dog)
- oversee the dog’s 10 day post-entry quarantine at the client’s home
- waive standard departmental fees.
If the documentation is satisfactory, a biosecurity officer will endorse the paperwork and direct the dog for movement and isolation at your nominated residence. The biosecurity officer will provide a copy of the endorsed paperwork and direction to the handler.
If the documentation is incomplete or unsatisfactory, or if the dog is showing signs of disease or infestation with external parasites, the biosecurity officer may order the dog to be re-treated, order the dog to be isolated at the government operated animal Post Entry Quarantine facility, or exported to the country of origin.
Post entry quarantine isolation
A minimum period of 10 days post entry quarantine isolation will apply to the assistance dog (the details of which are set out in the import permit application form). A biosecurity officer may visit the nominated address at any point during this period.
You must take the dog to a veterinarian on the proposed end date of this period. The veterinarian must examine the dog and complete the ‘Report to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on the health of an assistance dog completing post arrival quarantine isolation’ form provided to you on arrival in Australia. You must then submit the completed form to the Department so that the dog can be considered for release from biosecurity control (the form contains details of where to send it.).