Cats and dogs travelling to Australia on private vessels

​​General Information

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment assesses requests to import cats and dogs to Australia on board private vessels (yachts) on a case by case basis. A valid import permit, issued by the department, is required for all cats and dogs entering Australia on board a yacht. The import permit must have been granted prior to arrival in Australia.

Applications to import cats and dogs arriving in Australia on board yachts should be made well in advance of your intended arrival date to allow for appropriate consideration and granting.

The eligibility for a cat or dog to be imported into Australia via yacht depends on the countries they have been taken to and the time spent in those countries. The department always considers that the cat or dog has been ashore in any country listed in the ship’s log, even if the cat or dog was confined to the vessel.

Some cats and dogs may not be permitted to immediately enter Australia.

The import conditions applicable to your cat or dog will depend on the countries you intend to visit during the six months prior to arriving in Australia. For these conditions, please refer to the bringing cats and dogs to Australia website.

Before commencing the voyage, regardless of the countries you intend to visit, preparation to meet the rabies requirements is strongly recommended. This includes a valid rabies vaccination being administered, and a blood sample collected and tested for rabies virus neutralising antibody titre (RNAT).

For Australian cats or dogs planning to be exported from Australia, with the intention of returning, it is strongly recommended that the rabies preparations are carried out before leaving Australia. Rabies protected status must be continually maintained while in other countries and at sea.

If you do not wish to import the cat or dog into Australia but would like to visit Australia with your pet, please contact Seaports by email or by phone +61 2 6272 5557.

Applying for an Import Permit

When applying for an import permit, you must submit a copy of the itinerary (ship log) for the six months prior to arrival in Australia.

Documentary evidence must be provided to support stated ports of call in the previous six months (e.g. ships log, passports, customs/quarantine certificates of clearance and/or admission endorsed by the relevant port authority where possible). If supporting documentation is found to be inadequate, the cat or dog may not be permitted to enter Australia or a longer period of quarantine isolation​ may be imposed.

Last reviewed: 4 February 2020
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