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Home Legal Related How to Bring Your Pets From Abroad
How to Bring Your Pets From Abroad
Legal Related
You can bring pets to China as long as you can prove that they are vaccinated and healthy.

Regulations
You are allowed to bring pets to China as long as you can prove that they are vaccinated and
 healthy. In theory, you need to have a Z (resident) visa to bring in your pet. There should be only one pet per Z visa holder (so if you have two cats, for example, make sure that one is registered in the husband's name and one in the wife's). From personal experience, we know that it is possible to waive this requirement by using an
agent in the case of a family with two pets and only one Z visa holder (the employee) at
the time of entry.

Dogs have to be registered with the Chinese authorities after arrival. (Q&A: How to register your dog)

Deciding whether to bring your pet
Bringing a cat or dog to China is quite straightforward provided you get the right documentation sorted out before you come. Bringing a cat is simpler than bringing a dog, as there are fewer rules and regulations concerning cats and they do not need to be
registered with the Beijing authorities. If you wish to let your cat have free access to
outdoors you will have very limited options if you want to live within the city. However, if you choose to live on one of the out-of-town compounds, your cat can run freely outside. There have been a few episodes of cats disappearing, possibly due to rat poison. There was even
a very unusual case where a dog was taken from a garden and held to ransom!

Anyone considering bringing their dog to Beijing should be aware that, although the paperwork is manageable (albeit expensive), on arrival they will find that dogs are not as welcome in China as they are in some other places. Dogs are not permitted on the streets between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.; this also applies to parks, and all public places. Realistically, therefore, dog-walkers are limited to walking their dogs within their compound. There is a height restriction for dogs living in Beijing city; only dogs shorter than 35 cm at the
shoulder are permitted within the boundary created by the Wenyu River. Larger dogs are required to live out of town. This means that Beijing Riviera is within the restricted area, although many families on the compound do keep larger dogs and the management office turns a blind eye. However, as you can get away with keeping a larger dog in the city on a temporary basis (i.e. while waiting to sort out permanent accommodation), some people choose to risk keeping them long term. Be aware that although the authorities seem to be turning a blind eye at present, the situation could change at any time. Also remember that
to get your dog out of China, you will need the correct papers.

Transportation
Check with your intended airline as to what rates they apply and what rules they have for
the carriage of pets. It is important to use an airline-approved pet box. Ensure that you
make a reservation for your pet, as space in the appropriate section of the hold is usually limited. It's best to use a Western airline (not a Chinese one) to transport your pet to
ensure that conditions in the hold are suitable. Some airlines also allow small pets to travel
with you in the cabin.

Many airlines charge a fixed rate for transporting a pet in the hold as long as the owner is
also on board, i.e. it is the same price no matter how far you travel, but you pay for each flight taken. However, one family found that no airline serving Beijing would accept dogs on this basis, and insisted on applying a baggage rate of about 45 euros per kilo for the dog
and its travelling box, which came to about 1800 euros for a German shepherd dog with its box. Another family brought cats from the Netherlands on KLM using the excess baggage transfer allowance. Air France will allow you to use Air Miles towards the cost.

Deciding whether or not to use an agent
You have a choice of whether to handle everything yourself or engage an agent to help. The advantage of an agent is that they will ensure that you have all the correct documents and will meet you and your animal at the airport. They will speak to the officials there for you
and generally smooth the way through the quarantine and import procedures. In theory,
this greatly reduces the chance that you will encounter a problem with bringing in your pet. The disadvantage, however, is the cost, which is considerably higher than handling the arrangements yourself. Some families have recently brought in pets without the use of an agent and have not encountered problems.

A reliable agent is Sino Santa Fe.

Costs
1. You can find out the costs of transporting your animal directly from your airline.

2. There is a customs fee per animal of RMB1,000.

3. If your pet is quarantined (see below) you will have to pay the boarding costs.

4. Agents charge around RMB4,000 (US$500) per pet, inclusive of the customs fee and transport for you and your pet from the airport. This is payable in advance. If you have not paid in advance then you are advised to have the money in US$ ready to hand over to avoid delays at the airport.

5. For dogs, there is a registration fee which consists of an initial amount of RMB1,000 and
an annual renewal fee of RMB200 (recently reduced from RMB5,000 and RMB 2,000 respectively)

Plant and quarantine office
If you choose not to use an agent, you will need to get the application form for importing your animal yourself. The address for this is:

Administration of Entry and Exit Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China, A10 ChaoYangMenWaiDaJie, Beijing 100020. Tel. 6599 4600.

Quarantine
There is an official quarantine period of 45 days. If the owner signs an agreement to keep
the pet indoors for this period, then official quarantine is usually not demanded. We have
not heard of any pet being kept for the quarantine, but if it does happen, you will have to pay for the costs of boarding your pet. We are not sure what the conditions are like for
pets, and you will obviously want to avoid your animal being taken into quarantine if at all possible. We are told that the use of an agent greatly minimises the risk that the pet will
be quarantined. However, in our experience it appears that this rarely occurs whether you
use an agent or not.

Documentation
You will need the following documentation for your pet:

1. Vaccination certificate(s) certifying that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies and other common illnesses (e.g. cat flu, feline encephalitis) within one year prior to the date of entry. The rabies certificate should be separate from any vaccination book you may have,
and will be retained by the Chinese officials.

2. Health certificate issued by the vet in the country from which you are travelling. There is
no particular form, just confirmation that your pet is in good health. The certificate should
be issued no sooner than two weeks in advance of your pet's arrival in China. It should
include name of pet, type of pet (dog/cat and breed), age, weight (and height for dogs), gender, plus a general declaration that the pet is vaccinated and in good health.

3. Photo clearly showing the animal's size (photograph beside a ruler).

4. A letter from the management of the residence in which you intend to live, stating that the pet may live there.

5. A letter from your company stating that the employee is employed there.

6. A copy of your passport (one passport per pet).

Arrival
On arrival you should take your pet, fee, and certificates to the Plant and Quarantine office
at the airport (if you are using an agent, they will meet you and take you to the office). The officials will keep the health and rabies certificates (but not the vaccination book), so make sure you have copies. The office is located between the baggage collection and the exit. If you are not using an agent then ask your airline to notify this office in advance that you will
be arriving with your pet to ensure that there is someone at the office.

Registration of dogs
It is a requirement to register your dog with the local police of your place of residence
within a month of arrival. In practice, most people are still in temporary accommodation beyond the first month, so registration inevitably gets delayed. As long as you keep your
dog within the compound, it is unlikely to attract police attention. It appears that not all
dogs are registered, but the police are becoming less tolerant of expats claiming
ignorance. If you want to take your dog with you when you leave China, then you must get
it registered. The registration fee has recently been reduced to RMB1,000 for first-time registrations, and RMB200 for annual renewal thereafter. The penalty for non-registration is said to be a RMB2,000 fine plus confiscation of the pet, although we have never heard of this happening.

 

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