Dog Gone: Leaving China With Pets
Whether you have brought your beloved pets with you to China or have adopted them locally, it is never too early to learn about the exit requirements to ensure a smooth departure when preparing to take your pets with you when you leave.
Keep in mind that you will need to prepare for two sets of processes when moving to another country with your pets. The first is clearing the exit process for the PRC, which is easy and straightforward and can be summarized in the three steps below. The second process is fulfilling the entry requirements for the country to which your pets are relocating. This may require a bit more time and planning (depending on the country) and is best managed by preparing well in advance of your departure date, usually 4-6 months or more if heading to countries within the European Union and strict quarantine control destinations such as Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Australia or New Zealand.
Entry requirements for each country will vary, so pet owners are recommended to check online with the official government websites of their destination countries for requirements. Pet owners are always welcome to contact ICVS for the latest updates on requirements.
The three simple steps for ensuring pet owners based in Beijing meet exit requirements are summarized below:
Step 1: Provide rabies vaccination records and Official Vaccination Immunity Certificate
Complete the rabies vaccinations and obtain an official PRC Animal Health and Immunity Certificate certifying that your pet was vaccinated at least 30 days before but not more than 12 months before departure.
Animals departing China must be rabies vaccinated at an officially designated animal vaccination hospital in the PRC and must have the official "Beijing Animal Health and Immunity Certificate" (vaccination red book).
It is recommended that owners keep good records of their pet's local vaccinations upon adoption or arrival in Beijing. By law, pets must be rabies vaccinated annually in the PRC. China does not recognize the two- or three-year rabies vaccines from other countries, so pets must be vaccinated annually here. ICVS is an officially designated animal vaccination hospital in the PRC and can vaccinate all pets and issue the official vaccination certificates required for export.
Step 2: Health Examination and Health Certificate
Pets must undergo a health examination not more than seven days before their departure date at government run Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine Bureau animal hospital.
After your pets have completed their vaccinations and have obtained the official "vaccination red books," pet owners may take their pets for an exit health examination at the designated government Quarantine Bureau animal hospital, Guan Shang, seven days prior to the animal’s departure date. Once completed, you will be issued a "Beijing International Companion Animal Health Inspection Certificate" (Health Certificate), which is required to obtain the official "Animal Health Certificate for Exit" (Exit Permit) from the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau. Fees will be charged for the examination and the tests. Owners should take the pet, the official vaccination red book, passport or photocopy (one passport per pet) and cash (at least RMB 800 per pet) at the time of the visit.
In November 2011, the Guan Shang animal hospital that performs the official exit health examinations began requiring all animals to be microchipped at the time of the exam. The microchips required are European Union certified. Note: This microchip requirement is NOT a national or Beijing municipal government or an Entry/Exit Quarantine and Inspection Bureau requirement. This is ONLY the requirement of the Guan Shang animal hospital in Beijing to help them uniquely track the thousands of animals they clear each year for export. ICVS can help microchip all pets and has universal microchip scanners to ensure microchip readability of already microchipped pets.
It's best to go for the health examination in the morning when the Quarantine Bureau’s Guan Shang animal hospital opens at 8.30am. Appointments are not accepted. If you are not proficient in Mandarin, it may be helpful to bring a Chinese-speaking friend to help.
The health certificate is usually issued within two working days after the examination and is valid for seven days from the issue date. If the health certificate is not exchanged for an exit permit before the expiration date, the health examination must be repeated.
Step 3: "Animal Health Certificate for Exit" (Exit Permit)
Be sure to pick up the exit permit from the Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine Bureau after receiving the health certificate.
Owners may present the health certificate to obtain the official "Animal Health Certificate for Exit" (exit permit). The Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau has a satellite office on the second floor of the Quarantine Bureau’s animal hospital where owners may process the exit permit. Bring your "vaccination red book," the health certificate and your passport (or passport photocopy). It is not necessary to bring your pet to apply for the exit permit. The exit permit fee is around RMB 100 and is usually processed within two working days and is valid for 14 days once issued. Once you receive the exit permit, pet owners have 14 days to take pets overseas.
The Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine Bureau’s office hours are: Monday to Friday, 9am to 11.30am and 1.30pm to 4.30pm. (Note: The office is closed for all public and national holidays).
Comprehensive Pre-Departure Health Screening Examinations and Consultations:
ICVS offers comprehensive pre-departure screening examinations and consultations to help ensure your pets meet all PRC exit requirements and the entry requirements of your destination country. Contact ICVS for more information.
Visit the ICVS website for detailed information on pet importing/exporting, relocating to other cities within China, pet travel crates, tips for safe air travel, professional pet relocation companies and contact information for the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.
ICVS will host an information session called "Departing from China with Pets" on Saturday May 17 at 11am. The session is free to attend. If you wish to attend RSVP by May 16 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go here for more details.
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Mary Peng is the Co-Founder & CEO of International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS).
Photos: Nora Arden, bravoinsd (Flickr)