You are not allowed to import a dog or cat directly from India into New Zealand or Australia. Find out a way to get around this restriction.
R. Swaminathan received permanent resident visa for New Zealand. As he packed his bags in Bangalore, and prepared to wind down his set up, he began to enquire about formalities to complete for taking his golden retriever to Auckland.
To his shock, he was told that he was not allowed to bring his dog to New Zealand.
India is one of the countries where rabies is not well-controlled, and as such, does not feature in the list of countries approved for exporting dogs or even cats to New Zealand.
The only option available to Swaminathan was to send his dog to one of the approved countries for a 180-day quarantine, before the dog could re-unite with the owner in New Zealand. Even then, his retriever would need to stay in a month-long quarantine in New Zealand.
New Zealand is free from rabies, heart-worm and most ticks, and takes steps to preserve it. New Zealand pet import requirements are therefore strict.
New Zealand has categorized countries for the purpose of importing dogs and cats:
- Category 1: Australia. Your dog or cat doesn’t need a permit to import, neither does it need post-arrival quarantine. The only check needed is a post-arrival inspection.
- Category 2: Rabies-free countries, which are: Singapore, Bahrain, Fiji, Mauritius, Hawaii, Japan, Iceland, Barbados, Falkland Islands, French Polynesia, and New Caledonia. The dog or cat would need a permit, a post-arrival quarantine of at least 10 days, and a post-arrival check.
- Category 3: Pacific Island nations. Requirements are same as category 2, which means pets from Pacific Island countries will need to go through a post-arrival inspection and quarantine, and need a permit too.
- Category 4: Where rabies is absent or well-controlled. This list includes countries like the US, Malaysia, Canada, Hong Kong, France, UK and a host of other countries. The requirements are the same as category 2.
- Category 5: All other countries.
For those from India or any other country not specified above, a direct import of dog or cat is not permitted.
The only solution is to take your pet to one of the countries listed in any of the above categories, where the pet is quarantined for six months.
After that, the pet-owner would need to obtain a veterinary certificate before importing the pet into New Zealand, where it would be put through a further quarantine for a month.
The pet will need to be micro-chipped before it is vaccinated at the country of origin, because the chips will need to contain a record of vaccination. The importer will also need to give at least 72 hours’ notice to the quarantine department in New Zealand before the arrival of the pet.
Even if you are from one of the listed countries, there are many formalities to be completed before transport, and on arrival. It is advisable to hire a professional animal exporter and transporter.
Can I carry my pet’s bedding?
Yes, bedding is allowed to be imported, as long as it is not made of hay or straw.
How much does it cost to import a dog or cat?
All expenses associated with transport, vaccination, permit, quarantine and other formalities are to be borne by the importer. Besides, there may be bio-security and customs charges to be paid. Import permit application fees is NZ$166.67.
How long does it take to import a dog or cat?
There’s a strict time-table to be followed for vaccination and vet-checks. Please refer to the ministry guide for importing dogs and cats for details.
Which other pets can be imported to New Zealand?
Apart from dogs and cats, the following pets can be imported to New Zealand: chinchillas, fish, horses and rabbits.
Which pets are not permitted to be imported to New Zealand?
If you have any of the following as your pets, you are in tough luck. These pets are not allowed from any country: guinea pigs, birds of any kind, mice and rats, snakes and any reptiles.
Can I take my dog or cat with me in the cabin?
Unfortunately, dogs and cats can not be imported by carrying them with you in the cabin. They must travel as cargo. The only exception being an assistance dog which may travel in the cabin.
If you have any questions about bringing your dog or cat to New Zealand, read these FAQs about importing pets to New Zealand.
For any queries, contact the ministry of primary industries of the New Zealand government.