Group 2: step by step guide for cats
- Cats coming to Australia from group 2 countries must be accompanied by a valid import permit, which provides the conditions for importing the cat.
- The conditions on the import permit take precedence over any other source of information. This step-by-step guide explains what you must do to prepare your cat for export; it is not a substitute for the import permit.
- Cats must comply with all conditions on the import permit.
- Failure to comply with the conditions on the import permit may result in the cat being (at your cost):
- held longer in post entry quarantine
- subject to additional testing
- On arrival cats must spend a minimum of 10 day at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility.
- A government approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian must perform all veterinary procedures listed below.
- All testing must be done in an approved country in a laboratory recognised by the government of the country of export.
The department cannot give advice on treatments for diseases. Seek advice from a veterinarian if your cat tests positive to an infectious disease listed in the import conditions.
Step 1: Contact the competent authority
Timeframe: Before starting the export process
- Contact the competent authority in the country of export to find out:
- which veterinarians and laboratories are approved to prepare your cat for export (all veterinary procedures and testing must be done in an approved country and testing must be done in a laboratory recognised by the competent authority of the approved exporting country)
- if the country of export has any requirements in addition to those stated on this webpage
- if the country of export has an agreed veterinary health certificate to use instead of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment standard veterinary health certificate.
- The department recommends that you take this information to your government approved veterinarian or pet transport agent to help you understand the requirements.
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]
Step 2: Confirm general eligibility
Timeframe: Before starting the export process
- can only be exported to Australia from a department approved country
- must have been continuously resident in an approved rabies free country (group 1 or group 2) since birth or direct import from Australia, or for at least 180 days before export
- must not be under quarantine restrictions at the time of export
- must not be more than 30 days pregnant nor be suckling young at the time of export.
- In accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, domestic/non domestic animal hybrids are generally not eligible for import. Hybrid cats include, but are not limited to:
- Savannah cat, derived from crossbreeding domestic cat (Felis catus) with serval cat (Felis serval)
- Safari cat, domestic cat crossed with Geoffroy cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi)
- Chausie, domestic cat crossed with Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
- Bengal cat, domestic cat crossed with Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).
Note – in certain circumstances, the Department may permit the import of Bengal cats that are five generations or more removed from their wild ancestor. If you plan to import a Bengal cat, please contact the department’s Environmental Biosecurity Office to confirm your cat satisfies the requirements before you apply for an import permit.
Step 3: Verify existing microchip or implant a new microchip
Timeframe- Before any pre-export veterinary procedures
- Cats must be identified by a microchip that can be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader.
- A government approved veterinarian must scan the microchip at each veterinary visit and check that the scanned microchip number is correctly recorded on all documentation.
- If the microchip cannot be read or is recorded incorrectly in the cat's documentation, the cat cannot be imported to Australia.
- Microchip numbers starting with 999 are not acceptable because they are not unique.
Step 4: Apply and pay for the import permit
Timeframe: After a microchip has been implanted and at least 42 days before the proposed date of export
How to apply
- Submit your import permit application, full payment and all supporting documentation online through our Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).
- Additional charges may apply if information is missing, incorrect or if an application is put on hold.
- We endeavour to assess import permit applications within 20 business days of receiving a complete and fully paid application however the legislated decision making period in relation to an import permit application is 123 business days. The decision making period may be paused where further information is required to assess the application or biosecurity risk. Submitting an application does not guarantee that we will grant an import permit.
- Import permits are valid for up to twelve (12) months from the date of issue.
Step 5: Book tentative post entry quarantine accommodation and make travel arrangements for your cat
Timeframe: After you have received your import permit
Cats must spend at least 10 days at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility in Melbourne. See the Australian Post Entry Quarantine Facilities webpage for further information.
Where a biosecurity officer deems necessary, diagnostic samples may be collected from animals in PEQ, including to verify that the import conditions continue to manage the biosecurity risks associated with the import of animals to Australia.
- The department does not place any restrictions on the airline you choose. But the cat must arrive direct into Melbourne International Airport. Domestic transfers from an Australian city to Melbourne are not permitted.
- The cat must travel as manifested cargo (not in the cabin), 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 for you. Visit the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association for a list of animal transport companies.
- The department accepts no responsibility for animals that escape en route.
- All transport costs are at the importer's expense.
- During transport to Australia cats may transit (touch down but stay on the same plane) in all countries.
- The cat may only tranship (change aircraft) in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, London, Dubai, Hong Kong or another approved group 1 or group 2 country.
- The cat must not leave the international side of the airport and must be under the supervision of the competent authority in the country of transhipment, in a place where contact with other animals is restricted.
- If the crate is opened during transhipment, it must be resealed and the competent authority of the transhipment country must provide a certificate / declaration detailing the circumstances. The crate must be re-sealed and the certificate / declaration must include the new seal number.
- The cat may not be eligible for import if these requirements are not met.
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
- if any additional conditions apply.
Step 6: Check vaccinations
Timeframe: Dependent on 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: 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 given two internal parasite treatments effective against nematodes and cestodes, by a government approved veterinarian. Two treatments must be given at least 14 days apart and within 45 days before the date of export. The second treatment must be given within 5 days before the date of export.Further information on acceptable treatments.
Step 8: External parasite treatments
Timeframe: Start at least 21 days before export and repeat according to manufacturer’s directions until the date of export
- A government approved veterinarian must treat the cat with a topical product that kills ticks and fleas on contact at least 21 days before the date of export. Continuous protection from external parasites must be maintained until the time of export and treatments may need to be repeated by the veterinarian in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions.
- To calculate 21 days before the date of export, count the first day the treatment is applied as day 0. For example, if treatment is given 1 January then the earliest date of export is 22 January.
- At each subsequent veterinary visit, a Government approved veterinarian should examine the cat for external parasites. If fleas or ticks are found they must be removed and the treatment restarted.
- Further information on acceptable treatment products
Step 9: Pre-export clinical examination
Timeframe: Within 5 days before the date of export
The cat must be examined by a government approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian and found to be free from external parasites and clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease within 5 days before export. You must bring all documents to this examination.
Step 10: Completion of Veterinary Health Certificate (Attachment 1)
Timeframe: Within 5 days before the date of export
- The veterinary health certificate is Appendix 1 of your import permit.
- A valid import permit, with a Veterinary Health Certificate completed by an official government veterinarian in the country of export must accompany the cat on arrival in Australia.
- An official government veterinarian must:
- complete, sign and stamp all pages of the Veterinary Health Certificate
- give you a seal to be placed on the cat’s crate at the time of export. The seal number must be recorded on the Veterinary Health Certificate.
- Any corrections made to the Veterinary Health Certificate must be struck through, remain legible and be signed and stamped by the official government veterinarian (correction fluid must not be used).
- Copies can be used, but they must bear the original signature of an official government veterinarian and stamp of the competent authority on every page.
- It is recommended that you also keep a copy of every document.
Further guidance for official government veterinarians preparing dogs and cats to Australia -
Guidance for official government veterinarians preparing dogs and cats for export to Australia PDF [364 KB, 1 page]
Guidance for official government veterinarians preparing dogs and cats for export to Australia DOCX [37 KB, 1 page]
Step 11: Travel to Australia
- The cat must travel to Australia in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for cats (see step 5).
- Do not place any items, including toys, medication or items of value, in the crate as they will be destroyed after arrival in Australia as biosecurity waste.
- On the day of departure, seal the cat into the crate, using the seal supplied by the official government veterinarian.
- In most cases the cat will be checked in at the freight terminal, not the passenger terminal.
- If in exceptional circumstances the cat’s crate must be opened during travel an official government veterinarian, airport authority, or captain of the aircraft must reseal the crate and provide a certificate to the department detailing the circumstances. The certificate should be attached to the outside of the crate before departure from the port where the seal was broken.
- The cat must arrive in Australia before the import permit expires.
Step 12: On arrival in Australia
- Departmental staff will collect your cat on arrival for transport directly to the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility.
- Cats must stay at Mickleham for a minimum of 10 days. Any issues that increase biosecurity risk may result in a longer stay.
- Where a biosecurity officer deems necessary, diagnostic samples may be collected from animals in PEQ, including to verify that the import conditions continue to manage the biosecurity risks associated with the import of animals to Australia.