Group 2: step by step guide for dogs

  • ​​Dogs coming to Australia from group 2 countries must be accompanied by a valid import permit, which provides the conditions for importing the dog.
    • The conditions on the import permit take precedence over any other source of information. This step-by-step guide explains what you must do to prepare your dog for export; it is not a substitute for the import permit.
    • Dogs must comply with all conditions on the import permit.
    • Failure to comply with the conditions on the import permit may result in the dog being (at your cost):
      • held longer in post entry quarantine
      • subjected to additional testing
      • exported
      • euthanased.
  • On arrival dogs must spend a minimum of 10 days at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility.
  • A government approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian must perform all veterinary procedures listed below.
  • All testing must be conducted in an approved country in a laboratory recognised by the government of the country of export.
  • The department cannot give advice on treatments for diseases. Seek advice from a veterinarian if your dog tests positive to an infectious disease listed in the import conditions.

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Step 1: Contact the competent authority
Timeframe: Before starting the export process

  • Contact the competent authority in the country of export to find out:
    • which veterinarians and laboratories are approved to prepare your dog for export (all veterinary procedures and testing must be done in an approved country and testing must be completed in a laboratory recognised by the competent authority of the approved exporting country)
    • if the country of export has any requirements in addition to those stated on this webpage
    • if the country of export has an agreed veterinary health certificate to use instead of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources standard veterinary health certificate.
  • The department recommends that you take this information to your government approved veterinarian or pet transport agent to help you understand the requirements.

Step 2: Confirm general eligibility
Timeframe: Before starting the export process

  • Dogs
    • can only be exported to Australia from a department approved country
    • must have been continuously resident in an approved rabies free country (group 1 or group 2) since birth or direct importation from Australia, or for at least 180 days before the date of export
    • must not be under quarantine restrictions at the time of export
    • must not be more than 30 days pregnant nor be suckling young at the time of export.
  • In accordance with the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956, the following pure breeds cannot be imported to Australia:
    • Dogo Argentino
    • Fila Brasileiro
    • Japanese tosa
    • American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier
    • Perro de presa Canario or presa Canario.
  • Domestic/non- domestic animal hybrids (e.g. wolf-dog crosses) are not eligible for import.
  • Contact the Australian Border Force on +61 2 6264 1111 or 131 881 (within Australia) for more information on prohibited dog breeds.

Step 3: Verify existing microchip or implant a new microchip
Timeframe: Before you can start blood sampling for any pre-export testing

  • Dogs must be identified by a microchip that can be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader.
  • A government approved veterinarian must scan the microchip at each veterinary visit and check that the scanned microchip number is correctly recorded on all documentation.
  • If the microchip cannot be read or is recorded incorrectly in the dog's documentation, the dog cannot be imported to Australia.

Step 4 Apply and pay for the import permit
Timeframe- After a microchip has been implanted and at least 42 days before the proposed date of export

  • Submit your import permit application, as well as full payment and all supporting documentation online through our Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).
  • Supporting documentation (original documents are not required) may include a completed veterinary medical form or letter from your veterinarian detailing any ongoing medical conditions.
  • Additional charges may apply if information is missing, incorrect or if an application is put on hold.
  • Please allow at least 20 working days for processing your application.
  • Import permits are valid for up to twelve (12) months from the date of issue.

Step 5: Book tentative post entry quarantine accommodation and make travel arrangements for your dog
Timeframe: After you have received your import permit

Dogs must spend at least 10 days at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility in Melbourne. See the Australian post entry quarantine facilities webpage for further information.

Travel arrangements:

  • The department does not place any restrictions on the airline you choose. But the dog must arrive direct into Melbourne International Airport. Domestic transfers from an Australian city to Melbourne are not permitted.
  • The dog must travel as manifested cargo (not in the cabin), in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for dogs. IATA guidelines can be viewed at Traveller's Pet Corner.
  • There are animal transport companies in most countries that can make arrangements for you. Visit Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International Inc. for a list of animal transport companies.
  • The department accepts no responsibility for animals that escape en route.
  • All transport costs are at the importer's expense.

Transiting

  • During transport to Australia dogs may transit (touch down but stay on the same plane) in all countries.

Transhipment

  • The dog may only tranship (change aircraft) in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, London, Dubai, Hong Kong or another approved group 1 or 2 country.
  • The dog must not leave the international side of the airport and must be under the supervision of the competent authority in the country of transhipment, in a place where contact with other animals is restricted.
  • If the crate is opened during transhipment, it must be resealed, and the competent authority of the transhipment country must provide a certificate / declaration detailing the circumstances. The crate must be re-sealed and the certificate / declaration must include the new seal number.
  • The dog may not be eligible for import if these requirements are not met.

It is the importer’s responsibility to contact the competent authority in the country of transhipment to find out:

  • whether they allow animals to tranship
  • whether they have a facility to accommodate animals during transhipment
  • how long the animals can be held
  • if any additional conditions apply.

Step 6: Check vaccinations
Timeframe: Dependent on the validity of your dog’s vaccination and at least 14 days before the date of export

Dogs may be vaccinated against Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola as an alternative to the testing outlined under Step 11. If you choose to do this, dogs must be fully vaccinated against Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola, according to manufacturer’s recommendations (usually an initial course of two vaccines 2-4 weeks apart followed by yearly boosters), at least 14 days before export. The vaccination must be valid at the time of export.

The department recommends that your dog also receives a vaccination that protects against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica and is valid for the entire post entry quarantine period.

Step 7: External parasite treatments
Timeframe: Start at least 21 days before the date of blood sampling for Ehrlichia canis (Step 8)

  • A government approved veterinarian must treat the dog with a topical product that kills ticks and fleas on contact at least 21 days before blood sampling for Ehrlichia canis antibodies. They may need to repeat the treatment to make sure the dog stays protected until export.
  • To calculate 21 days after initial external parasite treatment, count the first day the treatment is applied as day 0. For example, if treatment is given 1 January then the blood sample cannot be collected until 22 January.
  • At each subsequent veterinary visit, a Government approved veterinarian should examine the dog for external parasites. If fleas or ticks are found they must be removed, the treatment restarted and the dog tested for Ehrlichia canis antibodies 21 days later.
  • Further information on acceptable treatments.

Step 8: Testing for Ehrlichia canis
Timeframe: Within 45 days before the date of export

  • A blood sample collected at least 21 days after the start of external parasite treatment (Step 7) and within 45 days before the date of export must be tested for Ehrlichia canis by an Indirect Fluorescent Antibody Test (IFAT). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are not accepted.
  • The test must produce a negative result at a dilution of 1:40.
  • If external parasite treatments don’t give continuous protection from 21 days before the date of blood sampling for the Ehrlichia canis testing until export, the test result will be invalid and steps 7 and 8 must be repeated.

Step 9: Testing for Brucella canis (brucellosis)
Timeframe: Within 45 days before the date of export

  • If the dog is desexed it doesn’t need testing for brucellosis (evidence of desexing may be requested by the competent authority in the exporting country or the department).
    OR
  • If the dog is not desexed, a government approved veterinarian must take a blood sample and test it for Brucella canis using a rapid slide agglutination test (RSAT), a tube agglutination test (TAT) or an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) within 45 days before the date of export.
  • The test must produce a negative result.
  • If the result is positive or inconclusive contact the department for further advice.
  • The dog must not be mated or artificially inseminated from 14 days before blood sampling until export.

Step 10: Testing for Leishmania infantum (leishmaniosis)
Timeframe: Within 45 days before the date of export

  • A government approved veterinarian must take a blood sample and test it for Leishmania infantum using either an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) or an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) within 45 days before the date of export.
  • The test must produce a negative result.

Step 11: Testing for Leptospira canicola (leptospirosis)
Timeframe: Within 45 days before the date of export

This step only applies if the dog has not been vaccinated against Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola as per Step 6.

  • A government approved veterinarian must take a blood sample and test it for Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola using a microscopic agglutination test (MAT) within 45 days before the date of export.
  • The test must produce a negative result (less than 50% agglutination) at a serum dilution of 1:100.

Step 12: (only if your dog has ever visited mainland Africa): Babesia canis treatment
Time frame: Within 28 days before the date of export

If your dog has ever visited mainland Africa, it must be treated by a government approved veterinarian with a single dose of imidocarb dipropionate at a rate of 7.5mg/kg body weight, or two doses at a rate of 6.0 mg/kg body weight given at least 14 days apart. Treatments must be by subcutaneous injection and given within 28 days before the date of export.

Step 13: Internal parasite treatments
Timeframe: Two treatments at least 14 days apart but within 45 days before the date of export, with the second treatment within 5 days before the date of export

The dog must be given two internal parasite treatments effective against nematodes and cestodes, by a government approved veterinarian. Two treatments must be given at least 14 days apart and within 45 days before the date of export. The second treatment must be given within 5 days before the date of export.

Further information on acceptable treatments.

Step 14: Pre-export clinical examination
Timeframe: Within 5 days before the date of export

The dog must be examined by a government approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian and found to be free from external parasites and clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease within 5 days before export. You must bring all documents to this examination.

Step 15: Completion of veterinary health certificate (Appendix 1)
Timeframe: Within 5 days before the date of export

  • The veterinary health certificate is Appendix 1 of your import permit.
  • A valid import permit, with a veterinary health certificate completed by an Official government veterinarian in the country of export must accompany the dog on arrival in Australia.
  • An Official government veterinarian must:
    • complete, sign and stamp all pages of the veterinary health certificate
    • give you a seal to be placed on the dog’s crate at the time of export. The seal number must be recorded on the veterinary health certificate.
  • Any corrections made to the veterinary health certificate must be struck through, remain legible and be signed and stamped by the Official government veterinarian (correction fluid must not be used).
  • An Official government veterinarian must also sign and stamp every page of the:
    • Ehrlichia canis laboratory report.
    • Leishmania infantum laboratory report.
    • Brucella canis laboratory report (if not desexed).
    • Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola laboratory report (if not vaccinated).
  • Copies can be used, but they must bear the original signature of an Official government veterinarian and stamp of the competent authority on every page.
  • It is recommended that you also keep a copy of every document.

Step 16: Travel to Australia

  • The dog must travel in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for dogs (see Step 5).
  • On the day of departure, seal the dog into the crate, using the seal supplied by the official government veterinarian.
  • In most cases the dog will be checked in at the freight terminal, not the passenger terminal.
  • If in exceptional circumstances the dog's crate must be opened during travel, an Official government veterinarian, airport authority, or captain of the aircraft must reseal the crate and provide a certificate to the department detailing the circumstances. The certificate should be attached to the outside of the crate before departure from the port where the seal was broken.
  • The dog must arrive in Australia before the import permit expires.

Step 17: On arrival in Australia

  • Departmental staff will collect your dog on arrival for transport directly to the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility.
  • Dogs must stay at Mickleham for a minimum of 10 days. Any issues that increase biosecurity risk may result in a longer stay.