Bringing cats and dogs to Australia


Australia’s biosecurity requirements for the importation of dogs and cats from approved countries is based on the 2013 Importation of dogs and cats and their semen from approved countries: Final policy review.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) has recently become aware that dogs and cats have been imported to Australia from Malaysia without having met the relevant import conditions. As a result, the department is concerned that the potentially serious biosecurity risks associated with the importation of dogs and cats from Malaysia are unacceptable and do not meet Australia’s Appropriate Level of Protection, defined under section 5 of the Biosecurity Act 2015 as a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risks to a very low level, but not to zero. To reliably address the biosecurity risks in the absence of further information, the department has temporarily suspended imports of cats and dogs from Malaysia effective from 5 February 2020. The suspension will affect current import permit holders who have not yet imported their animal to Australia, and individuals (or their agents) who have submitted an application for an import permit listing Malaysia as the country of export. During the suspension, any import preparations already completed in Malaysia (blood tests, vaccinations, parasite treatments) will not be accepted.

The suspension does not affect cats and dogs from other countries transiting Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route to Australia. That movement pathway can continue in accordance with the current procedures.

An investigation into this matter is currently ongoing; at this time the department is unable to advise as to when the matter will be resolved. The department is actively working with the relevant Malaysian authorities.

The department recognises that this will cause some distress and inconvenience to individuals; this decision was not made lightly and was based on assessment of all the relevant biosecurity risks. The department was required to act immediately in the interest of maintaining Australia’s favourable biosecurity status. Given the severity of the potential biosecurity risks, the department is unable to consider circumstances applying to individual animals or owners. We encourage prospective importers to check our website regularly for up to date information as import conditions can and do change without notice.

New conditions for 180 day waiting period for cats and dogs coming from Group 3 countries or non-approved via Group 2 or 3

Cats and dogs to be imported into Australia from Group 3 countries or non-approved via Group 2 or 3 countries will be eligible for export once 180 days has elapsed from the date the blood sample for the rabies neutralising antibody titre (RNAT) test arrives at the testing laboratory. This will apply to all relevant applications submitted from 20 January 2020. All satisfactory RNAT results will remain valid for 730 days from the date of blood sampling. Please see the step by step guides for further details.


Cats and dogs can be imported to Australia under strict conditions designed​ to manage biosecurity risks. For the import conditions applicable, view the step-by-step guides.

I​f your country of export does not appear in the list of Group 1, 2, or 3 countries, you will need to prepare your animal usi​ng the non-approved country via Group 2 or 3 country step-by-step guide.

You will not require a permit to import a cat or dog from New Zealand or Norfolk Island, however conditions apply.

If you wish to import reproductive material or animals other than cats or dogs, view Live animals and reproductive material information.

Last reviewed: 7 February 2020
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