Non-approved country via Group 2 or 3 Country: step by step guide for cats

Please note: The following guide provides one option available for exporters in non-approved countries.
It is also possible to move your animal and perform all tests, treatments and examinations in a Group 2 or 3 country as per the standard Group 3 country requirements under – Group 3: step by step guide for cats.

Introduction

  • The valid import permit provides the specific conditions for importing your animal. The conditions on the import permit take precedence over any other source of information. The information below is a general guide to assist in the preparation of your animal for export to Australia; it is not a substitute for the import permit.
  • To be eligible for import, all cats must be compliant with all the import conditions stated on the valid import permit. All cats must complete a minimum 10 day period in an Australian quarantine facility.
  • It is a requirement under Australian legislation that live animals coming to Australia from Group 2 or 3 countries must be accompanied by a valid import permit.
  • A Government Approved Veterinarian or Official Government Veterinarian must perform all veterinary procedures listed below, unless stated otherwise.
  • All testing must be conducted in an approved country in a laboratory recognised by the government of the country of export, unless stated otherwise.
  • You must contact the competent authority in the country of export to determine which veterinarians and laboratories are approved to prepare your cat for export.
  • You must contact the competent authority in the country of export to determine if there are any additional export requirements and/or if the country of export has an agreed veterinary health certificate to use in place of the Department of Agriculture’s standard veterinary health certificate.
  • The Department of Agriculture recommends that you take this information to your Government Approved Veterinarian or pet transport agent to assist you with understanding the requirements.
  • Import conditions stated on the Import Permit must be strictly complied with. Any animal that is found to be non-compliant with the import conditions on the Import Permit may be subject to additional testing, held in post entry quarantine for an extended period, exported from Australia or euthanased. Importers will be charged additional fees for costs associated with managing non-compliant animals.

[expand all]

Step 1: Confirm general eligibility
Timeframe: Before starting the export process

  • Cats must not be under quarantine restrictions at the time of export and can only be exported to Australia from an approved country.
  • Pregnancy: Cats must not be more than 30 days pregnant nor be suckling young at the time of export.
  • Cat Breeds: In accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the cat you plan on importing to Australia must not be a domestic/ non-domestic hybrid. These are cats that are derived from a cross with a wild cat species and includes (but is not limited to) breeds such as the Savannah cat (which is a cat derived from crossbreeding a domestic cat (Felis catus) with a serval cat (Felis serval), the Safari cat (crossed with a Geoffroy cat, Oncifelis geoffroyi) and the Chausie (crossed with the Jungle cat, Felis chaus). The only exception to this is the Bengal cat (Felis catus x Prionailurus bengalensis) which may continue to be imported provided it is five generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).
    [For more information on cat breeds and hybrids, contact the Wildlife Trade Regulation Section, the Department of the Environment phone +61 6274 1111.]

Step 2: Verify existing microchip or implant a new microchip
Timeframe: A microchip must be present before you can start blood sampling for any pre export testing

  • Cats must be identified by a microchip that can be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader.
  • The attending veterinarian must ensure that the microchip is scanned at each veterinary visit. They must also check that the scanned microchip number is correctly recorded on documentation.
  • If the microchip cannot be read or is recorded incorrectly across the cat's documentation, it will not be eligible for import to Australia.

Step 3: Check Rabies Vaccination
Timeframe: Dependent on vaccine validity

  • Your cat must be vaccinated with an inactivated or recombinant rabies virus vaccine that:
    • was given when the cat was at least 90 days of age; and
    • is valid, in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions at the time of export.
  • Three (3) yearly rabies vaccinations are acceptable.

Step 4: Initial Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test and waiting period
Timeframe: Between 180 days and 24 months before export

For your initial RNAT test to be valid, the following requirements must be met:

  • Following a rabies virus vaccination a veterinarian must scan the animal’s microchip and collect a blood sample for the RNAT test.
  • This blood sample may be drawn in a non-approved country.
  • The animal’s microchip number must be written on the blood tube and the laboratory submission form.
  • The sample must be tested at either:

The below tables identifies the acceptable OIE Rabies Reference Laboratories. This information is current as of 31 May 2016.

As the list of OIE Rabies Reference Laboratories is subject to change it is the responsibility of the importer to confirm the laboratory they use is still an OIE Rabies Reference Laboratory by referring directly to the OIE Website.

Important: The department has been advised by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in the United Kingdom that they have temporarily suspended all RNAT testing. The department recommends you choose another OIE Rabies Reference Laboratory.

If you do choose to send a blood sample to APHA, it will be forwarded to another laboratory for testing. It is your responsibility to ensure it is tested at an OIE Rabies Reference Laboratory. If the sample is not tested at an OIE Rabies Reference Laboratory it will not be accepted for Australian import purposes.

Prof. Changchun Tu
Diagnostic Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife Associated Zoonoses
Department of Virology
Changchun Veterinary Research Institute (CVRI)
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
Liuying Xi Road 666
Jingyue Economic Development Zone
Changchun 130122
CHINA (PEOPLE'S REP. OF)
Tel: +86-431 81.03.20.22 Fax: +86-431 81.03.20.22
Email: changchun_tu@hotmail.com

Dr Jacques Barrat/Dre Florence Cliquet
Agence nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l'Alimentation, de l'Environnement et du Travail (Anses)
Laboratoire de la faune sauvage de Nancy
Technopôle agricole et vétérinaire
B.P. 40009
54220 Malzéville Cedex
FRANCE
Tel: +33 (0)3 83 29 89 50 Fax: +33 (0)3 83 29 89 58
Email: jacques.barrat@anses.fr / florence.cliquet@anses.fr

Dr Juan Antonio Montaño Hirose
Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria
Km. 37.5 de la Carretera México-Pachuca,
Tecamac, Edo. de México
MÉXICO
Tel: +52 (55) 38 72 03 40
Email: juan.montano@senasica.gob.mx
Email: juan_montano@virologiahoy.org

Dr Dong-Kun Yang
Rabies Research Laboratory
Division of Viral Disease
Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA)
175 Anyang-ro, Manan-gu
Anyang, Gyeongii 430-757
KOREA (REP. OF)
Tel: +82 31 467.1783 Fax: +82 31 467.1797
Email: yangdk@korea.kr
Email: ydk40@hanmail.net

Dr Anthony Fooks
Rabies and Wildife Zoonoses Group
Virology Department
Animal and Plant Health Agency
New Haw, Addlestone
Surrey KT15 3NB
Weybridge
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel: +44-1932 35.78.40 Fax: +44-1932 35.72.39
Email: tony.fooks@apha.gsi.gov.uk

Dr Claude Taurai Sabeta
Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute
Rabies Unit
Private Bag X05
Onderstepoort 0110
SOUTH AFRICA
Tel: +27-12 529 94 39 Fax: +27-12 529 93 90
Email: sabetac@arc.agric.za

Note: It is acceptable to draw blood in one country and test at a laboratory in a different country.

  • The blood sample must be subject to a Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test using either a fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation (FAVN) test or a rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT).
  • The laboratory report must be in English and completed on the testing laboratory’s letterhead. The report must include the animal’s microchip number, the blood sample date of arrival at lab, the signature of the person responsible for issuing the laboratory report, the country where the blood sample was collected, the test type and the test result.
  • A result of 0.5 IU/ml or more is acceptable. A result of less than 0.5 IU/ml is not acceptable and in this circumstance you must re-vaccinate and repeat the testing process.
  • The animal is not eligible for export to Australia until at least one hundred and eighty (180) days have passed from the date that the blood sample arrived at the lab for this RNAT test (with a satisfactory result)
  • Additionally, a second confirmation RNAT test must be performed, with satisfactory results, in the approved country of export (see step 8).

Step 5: Apply and pay for the Import Permit
Timeframe: Once the initial RNATT laboratory report is available

Please ensure you allow at least 20 working days for the processing of your permit application. It is recommended that you read the information provided on how to complete the import application before proceeding. Please ensure you include a note in your permit application that your animal is originating in a non-approved country.

How to apply

  • You may submit your import permit application, as well as full payment and all supporting documentation by any of the following methods:
  • Additional charges may be applied if information required to assess the application is missing or incorrect or if an application is put on hold.
  • Import permits are valid for up to twelve (12) months from the date of issue.

Please note: The Department of Agriculture will not issue an import permit until the second confirmatory RNATT result and an RNAT test Declaration completed by an Official Government Veterinarian are available.

Step 6: Check general vaccinations
Timeframe: Dependent on your the validity of your cat’s vaccination

The department recommends that your cat receives a vaccination that protects against feline enteritis (also known as feline panleucopenia or feline distemper), rhinotracheitis and calicivirus and is valid for the entire post entry quarantine period.

Step 7: Move your cat to an approved Group 2 or 3 country
Timeframe: At least 4 weeks prior to intended date of export

All preparations from this point on must be completed in a Department of Agriculture approved country. The final preparations may take longer than four weeks to complete so please bear this in mind when planning your cat’s move.

Please be aware that this approved country may place its own import conditions on the import of cats. It is your responsibility to check these requirements and ensure compliance.

Step 8: Confirmation Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test
Timeframe: Prior to export

For your confirmation RNAT test to be valid, the following requirements must be met:

  • A Government Approved Veterinarian must scan the animal’s microchip and collect a blood sample for the RNAT test.
  • The blood sample must be drawn in the Department of Agriculture approved country of export.
  • The animal’s microchip number must be written on the blood tube and the laboratory submission form.
  • The testing laboratory must be approved by the Competent Authority in the exporting country.

Note: It is acceptable to draw blood in one country and test at a laboratory in a different country.

  • The blood sample must be subject to a Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test using either a fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation (FAVN) test or a rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT).
  • The laboratory report must be in English and completed on the testing laboratory’s letterhead. The report must include the animal’s microchip number, the blood sampling date, the signature of the person responsible for issuing the laboratory report, the country where the blood sample was taken, the test type and the test result.
  • A result of 0.5 IU/ml or more is acceptable.
  • The department recognises RNAT test results for 24 months from the date of blood sampling to the date of export.
  • Regardless of the result of this confirmation RNAT test, the animal will not be eligible for export to Australia until at least one hundred and eighty (180) days have passed from the date that the blood sample arrived at the testing lab for the initial RNAT test (with a satisfactory result) – see step 4.

Step 9: Repeat rabies vaccination
Timeframe: On the same day as sample collection for confirmatory RNATT

  • Your cat must be vaccinated with an inactivated or recombinant rabies virus vaccine on the same day as sample collection for the confirmatory RNATT.
  • Evidence of this vaccination will need to be provided to the Official Government Veterinarian at step 11.
  • Three (3) yearly rabies vaccinations are acceptable.

Step 10: The Official Government Veterinarian must complete the Rabies Vaccination and Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test declaration
Timeframe: Following the confirmatory RNATT and prior to export

  • You must contact an Official Government Veterinarian in the country of export to complete the RNAT test Declaration. This is not the Government Approved Veterinarian (your preparing veterinarian).
  • You must submit the confirmation RNAT test laboratory report and rabies vaccination certificate to the Official Government Veterinarian so they can complete the RNAT test Declaration.
  • The microchip number, test result and blood sampling date must be consistent between the RNAT test laboratory report and RNAT test Declaration.
  • You must ensure that the completed RNAT test Declaration states the name of the testing laboratory, not the submitting laboratory.
  • Once this document and confirmatory RNATT laboratory report are submitted to the Department of Agriculture, an import permit may be granted.

Step 11: Book tentative post entry quarantine accommodation at an Australian government quarantine facility and make travel arrangements
Timeframe: After you have received confirmation from the department

See the Australian Post Entry Quarantine Facilities webpage for information on booking quarantine accommodation and arranging transport for your cat(s).

Please also note the following:

  • The department does not place any restrictions on the airline you choose. However, the animal must travel as "manifested cargo" (not in the cabin) and in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for cats.
  • IATA guidelines can be viewed at Traveller's Pet Corner.
  • There are animal transport companies in most countries that can make arrangements on your behalf. Visit Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International, Inc for a list of animal transport companies worldwide.
  • The department accepts no responsibility for animals that escape en route, and all transport costs are at the importer's expense.

Transit/Transhipment

  • The cat may transit (touch down but stay on the same plane) or tranship (change aircraft) in any country en route to Australia.
  • Cats transhipped through international airports in non-approved countries must not leave the international side of the airport.

The cat may not be eligible for import if these requirements are not met.

Note: 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
  • any additional conditions that may apply.

Step 12: Internal parasite treatments
Timeframe: Two treatments at least 14 days apart, with the second treatment given within 5 days before export

The cat must be treated by a Government Approved Veterinarian twice with an internal parasite treatment effective against internal parasites (nematodes and cestodes) . The two treatments must be administered at least 14 days apart and within 45 days before export. The second treatment must be given within 5 days before export. Further information on acceptable treatments.

Step 13: External parasite treatments
Timeframe: Commence at least 21 days before export and repeated according to manufacturer’s directions until export

  • A Government Approved Veterinarian must treat the cat with a product that kills ticks and fleas on contact at least 21 days before export. To maintain continuous protection from external parasites until the time of export, treatments may need to be repeated by the veterinarian in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions.
  • You should discuss suitable external parasite treatments with the Government Approved Veterinarian.
  • At each subsequent veterinary visit, the Government Approved Veterinarian should thoroughly examine the cat for external parasites. If any fleas or ticks are found from the time of treatment referred to above until export, they must be removed and the preparation must be restarted.
  • Further information on acceptable treatment

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

The cat must be examined by a Government Approved Veterinarian or Official Government Veterinarian and found to be free from ticks and fleas and clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease within 5 days before export. You must take the cat and all documentation to this examination.

Step 15: Completion of Veterinary Health Certificate (Attachment A)
Timeframe: Within 5 days before export

The Veterinary Health Certificate (Attachment A) is located in your valid import permit. It must be completed by the Official Government Veterinarian.

A valid import permit is a requirement and must arrive with the animal.

The following documents must also accompany the cat on arrival in Australia. Copies can be used, but all documents must bear the original signature of the Official Government Veterinarian and stamp of the competent authority on each page:

  • A completed Veterinary Health Certificate (Attachment A of the import permit);
  • Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test laboratory reports; and
  • Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) Test Declaration.
    [It is recommended that you retain a copy of each of these documents.]

Any corrections made to the Veterinary Health Certificate must be struck through, remain legible and be signed and stamped by the Official Government Veterinarian (NB: Correction fluid must not be used).

Step 16: Travel to Australia

  • The cat must be consigned to Australia in a container that meets the standard required in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulation Container Requirement 1.
  • In most cases the cat will be checked in at the freight terminal, not the passenger terminal.
  • The cat must arrive in Australia prior to the expiry date of the permit.
  • The cat must arrive in the Australian port in the state where they will undergo quarantine.

Step 17: On Arrival in Australia

  • Department staffwill collect your cat on arrival for transport directly to the Quarantine Facility.
  • All cats must complete a minimum of 10 days in an Australian quarantine facility. Please note that 10 days quarantine is the minimum requirement only and that any issues that may increase the biosecurity risk posed by the cat may result in a longer stay in post-entry quarantine (for example, if a tick is found on your cat, they will need to stay for 21-30+ days until they repeat their blood testing; at the importer’s cost).
Last reviewed:
09 Jun 2016