Glossary of terms

​​​​​​Below is a list of terms used in the information for cat and dog import permit applications and their definitions.



All supporting documentation

You must submit the following with your import permit application.

  • ‘Rabies vaccination and rabies neutralising antibody titre test declaration’ form
  • RNAT test Laboratory Report
  • A letter from your veterinarian detailing the condition(s) - for animals with ongoing medical condition(s)
  • Full payment (see below).

Original documents are not required to complete the import permit application

Approved Country

  • An approved country is any country, administrative region or territory from which the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment permits the importation of cats and dogs and their semen.
  • Approved countries have been able to demonstrate that they have adequate animal health services and a satisfactory animal health status. This provides a high level of assurance in the treatment, management and health status of cats and dogs imported into Australia.

Assistance Dog Declaration

Part of the application for a permit to import disability assistance dogs.
The importer must provide details of the nominated address where the dog will undergo quarantine surveillance in Australia, and accept the terms of quarantine surveillance for when the dog arrives in Australia.


A breed is defined as a type or form of animals within a species having a distinctive appearance and typically having been developed by deliberate selection.

Canine influenza virus (CIV)

If the dog has never been vaccinated against CIV, two vaccinations must be given. The interval between the two vaccinations may vary according to the brand of the vaccine. Ask your preparing veterinarian for advice.
If the dog has been previously vaccinated against CIV, ensure the vaccination is given no more than one (1) year and no less than 14 days prior to export.

Group 1 country

Further information is available on the department's website:

New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Cocos Island

Group 2 country

Further information is available on Group 2 countries on the department's website.

Group 2 countries include:

American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Christmas Island, Cook Island, Falkland Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Iceland, Japan, Kiribati Mauritius, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.

Group 3 country

Further information is available on Group 3 countries on the department's website.

Group 3 countries include:

Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary and Balearic Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Netherlands—Antilles & Aruba, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, the Republic of South Africa, Reunion, Saipan, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States (including the district of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (but excluding Guam and Hawaii), Uruguay.

Competent Authority

The government veterinary service or equivalent in the country of export.

Country of embarkation

The approved country from which the dog is consigned to Australia.

Country of export

The approved country in which the animal was prepared for export to Australia and the Veterinary Certification is completed.

Government Approved Laboratory

A laboratory that is approved by the competent authority in the country of export for conducting all pre-export tests. These laboratories can be in another approved country.

Government Approved Veterinarian

Government approved/ accredited veterinarians work in clinical settings. They have been approved/ accre​dited by the government of the exporting country for the preparation (scanning for microchips, clinical inspections, collection of blood samples, treatments etc) of cats and dogs for export. They must prepare paperwork for presentation to the official government veterinarian to give them confidence that the export preparations hav​e been performed in accordance with the import conditions.

Further guidance for government approved veterinarians preparing dogs and cats to Australia -
Guidance for government approved veterinarians preparing dogs and cats for export to Australia PDF [295 KB, 2 pages]

Guidance for government approved veterinarians preparing dogs and cats for export to Australia DOC [120 KB, 2 pages]


A hybrid is defined as the result of interbreeding between two species or subspecies of animals, including interbreeding between a domestic or listed specimen and a wild species or wild sub-species, or between two wild species, regardless of the generational distance from the wild specimen/s.

Inactivated rabies virus vaccine

  • Rabies vaccinations can be classified into two groups: live virus vaccine or inactivated virus vaccine. Australia does not permit cats and dogs that have received a live rabies vaccine into the country.
  • However, Canarypox virus vectored live rabies vaccine, produced by ‘Merial’, for cats is acceptable. This vaccine is produced using live Canarypox virus and no rabies virus components.


Dogs must be identified by a microchip that can be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader.

Nematodes and Cestodes

Both cestodes and nematodes belong to the helminth, or worm, class of organisms. These multicellular eukaryotic organisms act parasitically upon host organisms, meaning they live inside another creature.

Non approved country

A country that is not approved by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for export. Countries that are not listed in the group listings above are non-approved countries. Details on what you need to do to import a cat or dog​ from a non-approved country can be found on the department website.

Official Government Veterinarian

A veterinary officer usually employed by the competent authority (veterinary administration) in the exporting country. Official veterinarians generally do not work in a clinical setting. Official veterinarians are authorised to sign certificates on behalf of the government of the exporting country and have access to the government stamp.

Para-veterinarian Para-veterinarians (para-vets) are workers who assist veterinarians or undertake animal health activities in places where professional veterinary expertise is not available. They are not registered veterinarians but they have animal health training and are recognised by the competent authority in their country. They are authorised by this competent authority to fulfil the role that an approved or official veterinarian would typically fulfil in some circumstances.

Veterinary Health Certificate

This certificate is an attachment A to your import permit and lists the import conditions your animal must meet in order to be eligible for import into Australia.

Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre Test (RNATT) Declaration

  • Dogs and cats respond to the rabies vaccine by producing protective antibodies against rabies virus. The RNAT test measures the amount of these antibodies to confirm that the vaccination was successful.
  • If the animal has never previously been vaccinated for rabies, the department recommends that at least four (4) weeks pass between the rabies vaccination and blood sampling. This will enable the animal to produce sufficient antibodies to record a positive test result.
​RNATT date ​​The date the blood sample was collected for the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre Test (this date can be found on the test results or the RNATT declaration).

Testing Laboratory

See Government Approved Laboratory, above.


The act of disembarking from a vessel and spending time in an approved arrangement site prior to being loaded onto another vessel


The act of passing through a port without disembarking from a vessel (stopover)
Last reviewed: 29 June 2020
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