Bringing a Pet to China

Aug 14, 2017

Many people that are looking to move overseas have to make a difficult decision regarding their pet(s) which is: do I take them with me or not?

Some people have trusted family or friends that will take in their furry friends for a period of time but other people don’t have that or just aren’t willing to leave their pet behind for any amount of time.


View or download this infographic:

How to Bring Your Pet to China Thumbnail

Consider these questions before deciding to uproot your pet to be sure that it’s the best decision for both of you!

1. Is it in the best interest of my pet to take him/her with me to China?

  • Consider your future living situation, your expected amount of free time, and your pet’s personality (anxious pets especially).

2. Will I be staying in China for a year or longer?

  • The longer you decide to stay abroad, the easier it will be on both you and your pet.

3. Am I willing and able to pay for the proper vaccinations and paperwork to take my pet abroad?

  • There will be some upfront costs and time commitments to get everything prepared to move your pet abroad.

Logistics of bringing a pet to China

So you’ve decided to bring your pet with you to China. The next step is figuring out all of the logistics, and here are some things you’ll need to handle:

Make sure you have the following:

  • Pet passport
  • Rabies certificate
  • Vaccination records
  • Microchip
  • USDA endorsement (if you’re from the U.S.)

Find the right airline:

  • Make sure you choose an airline that is well-suited for pets
  • Get the correct pet cargo crate (PetMate)
  • Tick ‘yes’ on column # 13 on the customs declaration form

Understand arrival and quarantine:

  • Declare your pet at the customs counter
  • Your pet may need to be quarantined if it does not meet certain requirements, so you’ll need to plan for this

How to enter through any port & avoid quarantine:

1. Acquire a pet passport so that your pet can travel internationally

2. Ensure that your pet has been vaccinated at least twice in its lifetime, & the rabies vaccination must be current upon arrival in China

  • An original copy of the current rabies vaccine certificate must accompany an APHIS-endorsed health certificate
  • Bring photocopies of the rabies vaccine certificate to travel with – just in case!

3. Your pet must be implanted with an ISO compliant microchip

  • If your pet has a microchip that is not ISO compliant, you’ll need to travel with the proper microchip reader

4. Bring an original rabies titer test lab report that states that your pet has an antibody titer of at least 0.5 IU/mL

5. Get an international health certificate for your pet

  • Ensure that your passport name is what shows up on this certificate
  • Only 1 pet per traveler is allowed, and each pet must have its own certificate
  • Health certificates are issued by USDA-accredited veterinarians, they must be endorsed by USDA-APHIS, and they must be issued within 14 days of when you plan to arrive in China
  • The certificate must contain the following information:
    • Microchip #, date, & location of implantation
    • Date of birth/age
    • Rabies vaccine information such as:
      • Type, date received, expiration date, name of the vaccine given, & name of the vaccine manufacturing company
    • Rabies antibody titer test information such as:
      • Sample collection date
      • Name of lab used
      • Test results
    • Attestation that your pet has been examined and is free of signs of disease

*Health certificates must be accompanied by an original copy of the current rabies vaccine certificate and the rabies titer lab report.*

Health certificate for dogs           Health certificate for cats

6. Documents required upon arrival:

  • The APHIS endorsed health certificate
  • The current vaccine certificate
  • The rabies titer lab report
  • A photocopy of your passport
  • A digital photo of the pet printed out, as well as one photocopy
    • Try to show the size of the animal if you have a large dog
  • Upon arrival, take the pet, fees, and documents to the customs office

If your pet does NOT meet all of the requirements listed above…

Your pet will need to enter through a designated port and will be required to complete a 30-day post-arrival quarantine.

You’ll also need the following:

1. Pet passport

2. Proof of rabies vaccine

3. International health certificate

  • Same information as found on the previous page

Health certificate for dogs           Health certificate for cats

4. To notify Chinese Customs of your pet’s arrival in advance

  • You’ll take your pet, the fees, and the documents to the customs office upon arrival

5. Your pet will then we quarantined in a GACC designated facility for 7 days to be observed and then will usually spend 23 days quarantined at the owner’s residence

  • If your pet is deemed healthy, no further steps will need to be taken
  • If your pet is not deemed healthy, further steps will need to be taken


  • Bring proof of all vaccination records
  • Ensure that your pet has the proper vaccinations before planning your trip
  • Make sure everything is squared away with your future housing in China before you plan to bring your pet along
  • Carefully read through the USDA’s regulations before attempting to take your pet to China
  • If you’re bringing a dog, make sure that the breed is allowed in China

Finding the right airline

Some airlines are more pet-friendly than others, so be sure to choose wisely

  • Check to see what the airline’s pet policy is – sometimes small dogs and cats can be in the cabin with you but larger dogs must go below deck
  • Some airlines don’t permit pets at all

A few of the pet-friendliest airlines:

  • JetBlue
  • Delta
  • KLM
  • Lufthansa

You’ll need to get a proper pet cargo crate that’s designed for air travel.

Before your flight lands, you’ll be given a customs declaration form where you’ll need to declare your pet.

Useful resources:

*If you want to bring an animal that is not a dog or a cat, you’ll need to figure out the logistics for that specific animal.*


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