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Import Procedures for Moving Cats & Dogs to China. Pet Relocation and Transportation to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou

General guidelines for importing pets into China, via Shanghai, are shown below. SCAA does not provide pet relocation services, but highly recommends our sponsor, WorldCare Pet Transport, to ensure the safe, efficient and humane import and export of your pets via Shanghai. Local laws and procedures may change at any time regarding pet import and export so it is best to contact WorldCare Pet Transport and/or your local embassy for the most current information prior to planning your pet's relocation.

For more information on moving your pet to China or advice on professional services please contact:petimport@scaashanghai.org

World Care Pet Transport  

General Pet Import Regulations

Pet cats and dogs are allowed to be imported into Shanghai by either excess baggage or cargo as long as there is proof of vaccination and good health. Rabbits, ferrets, snakes, rodents, fish and birds are not allowed to be imported into Shanghai. According to regulations, you need to carry a Z (Resident) Visa to bring in your pet and only one pet per Z Visa holder (two animals two names). A pet relocation company should be able to have this requirement waived. Cats do not require licensing in Shanghai, but dogs have to be registered with the Chinese authorities after arrival and require a yearly license fee of RMB 2,000 in the city center and RMB 1,000 outside the Inner Ring Road.

Deciding if you should use a Pet Relocation Company:

SCAA believes the advantage of using a pet relocation company is that they will ensure you have all the correct documents and will meet you and your pet upon arrival at the airport. They know the airport officials well and they can better assure a smooth transition from arrival through the quarantine and import procedures. This costs more than handling all of the arrangements yourself, but using an agent should greatly decrease the chance that you will encounter a problem with bringing in your pet.

Upon Arrival

If you are handling the transport of your pet personally, upon arrival take your pet, fee (RMB 1,000/animal), and certificates to the Plant and Quarantine Office (the airlines you are using can notify you of the location in advance). If you are using an agent, they will meet you and take you to the office. The officials will keep the health and rabies certificate (but not the vaccination book), so make sure you have copies.

Shanghai Quarantine

Please note that there is a 7-day mandatory quarantine regulation in Shanghai (if the animal is approved as healthy after seven days, home quarantine may be allowed for the remaining 23 days of total one month quarantine). There is no quarantine in Shanghai if there is transit via Hong Kong or Guangzhou (if via Hong Kong, the pet will be transported across border to Shenzhen or Guangzhou airport). There is usually a 3-4 hour layover while the necessary official papers are processed. Worldcare Pet Transport agents can handle this transit service, assist with arranging the transit flight to Shanghai, and after completing paperwork in Shanghai deliver our pet home the same evening.

Pets Arriving as Excess Baggage

This is considered fairly straightforward and pet owners can often handle this process on their own. According to Worldcare Pet Transport:

Carried as excess baggage (One passport for one pet only)

  1. A Rabies Vaccination Record is required by local officials for pet importation into China (this should also include proof of vaccination against cat flu and feline encephalitis). This record can probably be issued by your own veterinarian. Rabies vaccination must be given not less than 30 days before your departure to China and no more than 1 year prior to entry to China. The rabies certificate should be separate from the vaccination book and will be retained by the Chinese officials.
  2. An international health certificate is needed by the Chinese government upon arrival. There is no particular form for this, but just a general confirmation from your veterinarian that your pet is in good health. This certificate will be verified and stamped by the Chinese officials upon arrival. The health certificate must be dated less than 14 days prior to arrival in China. The form should include name of pet, type of bed (dog/cat and breed), age, weight (and height for dogs), gender, plus a statement that the pet is vaccinated and in good health.
  3. The above two documents, the owner’s passport copy, arrival date and flight No. should be faxed or e-mailed to the pet relocation in advance and/or the originals carried by the passenger (originals must be carried no matter if being handled by an agent or personally).

    VERY IMPORTANT:The owner's name in the Vaccination Record and Health Certificate must be as the same as his/her legal name in their passport.

    Be sure to check with your airlines as well about what rates they will charge and what rules they have for the carriage of pets. You must use an airline-approved pet carrier. Some airlines allow small pets to travel with you in the cabin, some will only allow pet transport in their cargo area and some airlines do not transport pets at all. It is recommended to use a Western Airline if possible to ensure that the conditions in the cargo hold are suitable. Also check for airline rates for pet transport as these vary from country to country.
  4. If the pet's arrival is after 6:30pm, it is NOT RECOMMENDED to transport the animal as excess baggage. If this occurs, additional fees will apply and your pet will have to stay at the airport overnight as the latest Inspection and Quarantine Bureau shuttle bus to the quarantine facility leaves Shanghai airport at 7:30pm Monday to Friday. If the pet arrives on a Saturdays, Sunday or public holiday, a pet relocation can handle the transport from the airport to the quarantine facility, but client must provide notification 3 days prior to arrival and pay additional fees. Private individuals cannot transport the animal from the airport to the quarantine facility.
  5. As of 13 February 2006, there is a 7-day quarantine at the quarantine station with release of the pet after this time if all tests show negative results. The pet will have a home quarantine for the remaining 23 days for a total quarantine period of 30 days.

Shipped as air cargo (one passport for one pet only)

Individuals are not allowed to process the paperwork necessary in the customs department of Shanghai airport and a pet relocation agent is required for at least this part of the import process.

  1. A Rabies Vaccination Record is required by local officials for pet importation into China. This record can probably be issued by your own veterinarian. Rabies vaccination must be given not less than 30 days before your departure to China and no more than 1 year prior to entry to China.
  2. An international health certificate is needed by the Chinese government upon arrival. This certificate must be issued by a government affiliated veterinarian with an official government stamp. The health certificate must be dated less than 14 days prior to arrival in China

    VERY IMPORTANT: THE ORIGINAL PAPER OF ALL CERTIFICATES ALONG WITH THE VACCINATION BOOKLET MUST BE TRAVELING WITH THE PETS TOGETHER.

  3. When shipping as air cargo, a pet relocation copy (or agent) MUST be used. Private individuals cannot clear their pets through cargo customs. An Air Waybill is needed to clear customs. Usually the airlines used to transport the pet will require custom’s approval 3-4 days before the departure date. They will then allow the pet clearance approval from the port of origin. Thus, the pet owner should notify the pet relocation company about the Air Waybill No. as soon as the flight is booked.

    VERY IMPORTANT: COMPANY NAMES CANNOT BE USED TO SHIP A PET AS CONSIGNEE: ONLY PERSONAL NAMES CAN BE USED!

  4. The consignee must bear a passport with a valid Chinese visa and an entry record within the proceeding 2 weeks from the country that the pets are departing from. The pet relocation company will collect the consignee’s passport one day prior to the pet’s arrival date. (Please take note that the consignee must arrive into Shanghai before the pet’s arrival and the passport will be returned on the pet’s arrival date or the following day.)

    VERY IMPORTANT:THE OWNER’S NAME IN THE VACCINATION RECORD, HEALTH CERTIFICATE AND THE CONSIGNEE’S NAME IN THE AIR WAYBILL MSUT BE THE SAME AS HIS/HER LEGAL NAME IN THEIR PASSPORT.

  5. The pet relocation company must receive by Fax or e-mail in advance all the documentation and certificates, the Air Waybill, the owner’s passport copy, arrival date and flight No., the owner’s address and phone number in China before the pet’s arrival.
  6. The pet relocation company will arrange for custom’s clearance at Shanghai airport.
  7. It is NOT RECOMMENDED to transport the animal with arrival time after 3pm when shipped via cargo. If this occurs, additional fees will apply and your pet will have to stay at the airport overnight as the latest Inspection and Quarantine Bureau shuttle bus to the quarantine facility leaves Shanghai airport at 7:30pm Monday to Friday. If the pet arrives on a Saturdays, Sunday or public holiday, a pet relocation can handle the transport from the airport to the quarantine facility, but client must provide notification 3 days prior to arrival and pay additional fees. Private individuals cannot transport the animal from the airport to the quarantine facility.
  8. As of 13 February 2006, there is a 7-day quarantine at the quarantine station with release of the pet after this time if all tests show negative results. The pet will have a home quarantine for the remaining 23 days for a total quarantine period of 30 days.

SCAA Notes to Pet Owners for New Dog Arrivals

  • Licensing: You must register and license your dog each yearly in Shanghai. You need to register your dog with the local police department. It is the law to have your dog license and the police are cracking down and seizing unlicensed dogs. It is not always possible to have your dog returned, even if willing to pay a fine, so license your dog as soon as possible after arriving in Shanghai, and update this every year. In the city center the yearly fee is RMB 2,000 and in the Shanghai suburbs, it is RMB 1,000. Your local community center, or expat compound residential center should be able to provide you with the closest police registration department.
    You will need:
    1. The copy House rent contract or property certificate
    2. 1 one-inch colorful photos of the owner
    3. 1 three-inch, side view, all body colorful photos
    4. A copy of passport
    5. A copy of working permit
    6. A copy of residence permission.

  • Leashing: It is also the law that all dogs be leashed when being walked in public areas. Your dog can be seized by police if found running off leash. There are a couple of parks outside of the city where dogs are allowed to run offleash if proof of licensing is shown upon entrance.
  • Muzzles: Some compounds require dogs to wear muzzles but this is not enforced throughout the city. If your dog bites or jumps on people, you should consider using a muzzle as it only takes a neighbor’s complaint or an upset pedestrian to call the police to have your dog seized.
  • Walking: There previously were rules about walking your dog in Shanghai (before 6am and after 7pm). We now see more people walking their dogs during daylight hours and we have not heard of any dog seizures due to walking dogs during the day. In expat residential compounds dogs can be walked at any time.
  • Food: Most major grocery stores sell dog food. Veterinarian clinics also sell dog food and those listed on our SCAA website carry high quality dog food to meet specific diet requirements. http://scaashanghai.org/veterinarian_services.shtml
  • Medical Care: SCAA recommends two veterinarian clinics on our website. Be sure to ask for Western-standard training certificates as local vets who have not been trained overseas do not have the same medical care standards as Western-trained veterinarians. http://scaashanghai.org/veterinarian_services.shtml
  • Bathing: Shanghai is hard on dogs’ skin. Do not over-bathe!

SCAA Notes to Pet Owners for New Cat Arrivals

  • Licensing: Cats do not need to be licensed in Shanghai.
  • Outdoor Cats: Although you might allow your cats outdoors overseas, we urge you to not let your cats outside in Shanghai: IT’S DANGEROUS! Stealing cats for the fur and food trade is rampant here, as is poisoning of stray cats. Be sure to keep your doors and windows closed (or at least screened).
  • Food: Most major grocery stores sell dog food. Veterinarian clinics also sell cat food and those listed on our SCAA website carry high quality cat food to meet specific diet requirements. http://scaashanghai.org/veterinarian_services.shtml
  • Medical Care: SCAA recommends two veterinarian clinics on our website. Be sure to ask for Western-standard training certificates as local vets who have not been trained overseas do not have the same medical care standards as Western-trained veterinarians. http://scaashanghai.org/veterinarian_services.shtml
  • Bathing: Unless your cat gets into something he/she shouldn’t and gets terribly dirty, there is no need to bathe your cat. Cats have natural oil secretions that protect their skin and when you bathe your cat too often, you destroy their natural skin protection! Cats are naturally very clean and groom themselves. If for some reason your cat stops grooming itself, there might be a medical problem involved and you should take your cat to the vet right away.

For more information on bringing your pet to China or advice on proffesional services please contact:
petimport@scaashanghai.org

We recommend our generous sponsors:
World Care Pet Transport for bringing your pets into or out of China.

World Care Pet Transport
Shanghai Office:
Mr. Francis Xu
Office: +86 21 5452 0643
Fax: +86 21 5452 5643
Mobile: +86 135 121 07 077
petimport@scaashanghai.org
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