This is a step-by-step guide on how to export companion animals and other live animals.
Follow this guide to export:
- dogs and cats
- birds and poultry
- zoo, exotic and native animals
- laboratory animals and arthropods
- fish and aquatic animals not for human consumption.
You do not need an export licence to export animals other than livestock overseas.
You need to meet extra requirements if you are exporting some animals, such as:
- animals listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
- Australian native animals not listed on the CITES list.
Each country has their own health requirements for importing animals. These can be complex and can change without notice.
For more details, you should:
- review the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor)
- contact the relevant authority of the importing country.
It is your responsibility to provide the importing country requirements in writing to the registered veterinarian that will prepare your animal for export.
You may need an import permit for some countries. The permit will specify the health requirements you must meet. You may need to arrange testing, treatments, examinations, and pre-export isolation.
We also provide information on bringing cats and dogs into Norfolk Island from mainland Australia.
Do you plan for your dog or cat to return to Australia? Make sure you contact our imports team as early as possible and before export to discuss this.
Be aware that:
- some animals cannot be imported or returned to Australia under any circumstances
- you cannot import some animals to Australia from certain countries
- you may need to meet pre-export requirements if you are planning to import your animal back to Australia within 6 months of export
- whilst an importing country may be prepared to accept a dog as an assistance animal, all dogs including assistance dogs are subject to biosecurity import conditions upon return to Australia.
Find out more about pre-export preparations for dogs and cats returning to Australia.
Preparing your animal for export can be a complex process. It is important to correctly prepare your animal for export. Delays to their departure can occur if steps are not completed properly.
If your animal fails to meet importing country requirements, the animal may be detained on arrival.
Consider using a pet transport company to help with some or all pre-export preparations.
Contact a registered veterinarian and discuss your plans for export with them before beginning the process. We provide information for veterinarians to prepare companion animals for export.
You must provide the importing country’s requirements and your import permit, if applicable, to them and arrange the relevant:
- supporting documentation.
You must complete the Notice of Intention (NOI) to Export Live Animals (other than Livestock) form and prepare supporting documents.
Use the NOI form to book your pre-export appointment with us. We also recommend booking the final examination with your registered veterinarian when you submit your NOI form. This ensures both appointments are booked within the required time and prevents delays.
If an import permit is needed, submit it with your NOI and supporting information.
We only accept documents issued by the importing country’s government as the basis for issuing the health certificate. If relevant documents are not in English, you must provide a certified translation by a NAATI 2/3 level translator or equivalent.
Email the NOI and documents to the regional office in the state or territory of departure. Do this at least 10 working days before the departure date or start of isolation. If you use a pet transport company, you should confirm if they will submit the NOI on your behalf.
We will assess your NOI and let you know if it is approved. If we cannot approve your NOI, we will let you know why. We charge a fee to assess an NOI application.
Approval of the NOI does not mean that we will issue the export permit and health certificate. These will only be issued once we are satisfied that the animal has been prepared in accordance with the importing country's requirements and complies with Australian export legislation.
Note that we may revoke the approval of your NOI if you provide false, misleading, or incomplete information or documents to us.
You must arrange all transport and any post-entry quarantine that may be required by the importing country.
You must use an appropriate container or crate for your animal’s journey. The container or crate must meet International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards.
Before the container or crate is used you must present it to the registered veterinarian involved in the export process. They must inspect it and confirm it is suitable to use.
If you are planning to export by sea, please contact our live animal office in the state or territory of departure.
Work with your registered veterinarian to prepare your animal for export. Depending on what is required by the importing country, this may include undertaking pre-export isolation, testing, treatments, examinations and preparing your documentation for the export permit and health certificate.
The documentation needed for an export permit and a health certificate may include:
- import permits and accredited translations where required
- laboratory reports
- vaccination certificates
- treatment, testing, isolation, and examination declarations.
You must ensure that all information and documentation you provide to us is true and accurate.
Arrange a final health and welfare examination with your registered veterinarian. This must be within 72 hours of departure, or a period set by the importing country.
If you use a pet transport company, they can attend this appointment on your behalf.
You must complete the declaration of pre-export veterinary health and welfare inspection for live animals (other than livestock) form. You and your registered veterinarian must sign this from.
This appointment must be before your appointment with our certifying veterinary officer.
You will need to arrange a pre-export appointment with our relevant regional office. You can nominate a date and time on your NOI form. The relevant regional office will confirm details of your appointment.
You will need to provide us with all documentation that has been completed to demonstrate you have met the importing country requirements. This can be provided by email prior to your inspection appointment or presented during the appointment.
If you use a pet transport company, they can attend this appointment on your behalf.
Our certifying veterinary officer will assess your documentation to determine if your animal is eligible for export.
Some countries need our officers to verify an animal’s identity. In this case, we will let you know, and you will need to bring your animal with you to your appointment.
We charge a time-based fee to assess and prepare your health certificate. We also apply a fee for your export permit.
You must pay at or before your appointment with us. Your regional office will guide you on how to provide evidence of payment.
Information on fees, invoicing and payment can be found in our charging guidelines.
Note: fees and charges will increase from 1 July 2023. For more information about 2023-24 fees and charges, see the Live Animal Exports Cost Recovery Implementation Statement.
Sealed transport containers
Check if the importing country requires the animal to be sealed in the transport container or crate. Some countries do including Fiji and Singapore. Japan requires a seal only if transhipping.
We provide you with the seal. You or the pet transport company must apply the seal. Check with one of our veterinary officers in your region for advice.
Your export permit and health certificate will be issued when we are satisfied the:
- animal has been prepared in line with the importing country’s requirements
- consignment complies with Australian export legislation.
If required, you can request the revocation of the health certificate.
We charge a fee for issuing an export permit and health certificate. See our charging guidelines.
Once you hold an export permit and health certificate, you can export your animal:
- in accordance with the transport arrangements outlined in your NOI
- as per the export permit.
Your animal must be exported from Australia within 72 hours after the permit is issued. This is a condition of the export permit.
You must contact the regional office that issued your permit if:
- your animal does not leave as planned
- details relevant to the export change.
As the exporter, it is your responsibility to keep all records of the export process. You must keep all records for at least two years from when the record is made.
Records you must keep include any:
- applications for an export permit and health certificate
- other documents showing you have complied with all requirements for export.