South Africa Pet Passport & Import Regulations
There will be quarantine imposed on your dog when entering South Africa unless entering from certain countries. Unless otherwise stated, the regulations below apply to domestic dogs and cats only. Owners of other pets should refer to item 11.
All pet dogs and cats entering South Africa must be microchipped with a 15 digit ISO pet microchip. If your pet's microchip is not ISO 11784/11785 compliant, you can bring your own microchip scanner.
South Africa requires an application for import for entry with the Director of Animal Health unless your dog or cat is entering from the following SADC member nations: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland or Zimbabwe. Pets entering from these countries will need proof of current rabies vaccination administered per step #2 and a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in the exporting country.
Pet owners from other countries should apply well ahead of their visit for a permit to bring their pet into South Africa. An agent can facilitate the application process. Following receipt of the completed Import Application form, a Veterinary Import Permit will be issued and sent directly to you. The permit is good for 6 months from date of issuance.
Unless your pet is entering South Africa directly from Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom, a rabies vaccination administered not less than 30 days and not more than 12 months prior to entry is required. The vaccination should be administered after the microchip is implanted. Note that South Africa does not accept a 2 or 3 year vaccination.
South Africa does not require a rabies blood titer test (RNATT) for dogs or cats entering from any country. However, if your pet is a dog, it must be tested by OIE-approved methods for the following diseases within 30 days of entering South Africa: Brucella canis, Trypanosoma evansi, Babesia gibsoni, Dirofilaria immitis and Leishmania.
Note that, if these tests are done incorrectly or if the results are not acceptable, your dog will be returned to the originating country.
Within 10 days of entry, a licensed veterinarian will complete the Veterinary Certificate for South Africa. If traveling from the United States or Canada, the veterinary certificate must be completed by a USDA-accredited veterinarian for endorsement by the USDA if traveling from the United States. If you are traveling from another country, the Governing Authority from your country responsible for the import and export of animals should endorse the forms.
Post Import Procedures/Quarantine
Upon arrival in South Africa, you will present the Veterinary Certificate and the approved Import Permit to the quarantine officer. Cats with the original versions of a properly completed Import Permit and Veterinary Health Certificate will not be subject to quarantine.
Dogs will be subject to a minimum of 14 days of quarantine unless they are entering from the following countries and are accompanied by the properly completed paperwork: United States, Canada, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Comoros, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland , Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Poland, Reunion, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.
Entering South Africa
Dogs that will be quarantined on arrival in South Africa may only be imported into South Africa via Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airports and will not be allowed to enter South Africa via any other airport or port of entry (including land border posts). Cats are permitted to enter South Africa by land from Mozambique.
Dogs and cats that are being imported from countries not subject to quarantine can also be imported into South Africa via Durban International Airport.
In cases where the quarantine of animals is required due to lack of proper paperwork, you must contact the Quarantine Officer at the port of entry prior to arrival. The Quarantine Officer will arrange the reservation for accommodation at the Quarantine Station and must complete the applicable part of the application form.
Your pet must fly to South Africa as air cargo unless it is a certified service animal serving a disabled passenger.
Other pets will need an IATA-compliant pet crate to travel in.
Dogs and Cats that are moving in transit through South Africa by road to other African countries are considered as normal imports and therefore need to comply with veterinary health requirements included in steps 1-5.
All dogs and cats transiting by air to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritius, Malawi and the Seychelles must be accompanied by a South African veterinary intransit permit for dogs/cats and must comply with steps #1-5. Pets transiting to other countries through South Africa will need an intransit permit only as long as they remain in the secure area of the airport.
If your dog or cat is leaving South Africa for countries not requiring quarantine (see step #6) for a holiday of less than 10 days, you can obtain a veterinary import permit. Blood tests are not required unless your destination country is known to be infected with any of the diseases listed in step #4. Microchip and proof of current rabies vaccination administered according to step #2 must be available.
Puppies and Kittens
Puppies and kittens under three months of age do not need to be vaccinated for rabies. However, puppies and kittens less than 3 months of age can only travel to South Africa if proof is provided that the mother of the puppy or kitten has been vaccinated for rabies more than 30 days before and less than 12 months before the birth of the puppy or kitten. These pets must be vaccinated for rabies after arrival in South Africa at 3 months of age and proof of the vaccination must be presented to the South African Veterinary Authorities.
Puppies and kittens under the age of 8 weeks cannot fly cargo in or out of South Africa. Puppies and kittens between 8 and 12 weeks of age that have not been vaccinated must travel with proof of their mother's vaccination as stated above. Puppies and kittens over 16 weeks of age must have a rabies certificate indicating vaccinationno sooner than 12 weeks of age and at least 30 days prior to travel.
All vaccinations must be administered by a licensed veterinarian.
Currently, South Africa does not currently ban any breed of dog.
Exporting Pets Living in South Africa
Veterinary officials will need to see all documentation required for your pet's destination country as well as your pet's Veterinarian Book indicating that all vaccinations are current.
All dogs and cats flying unaccompanied from Johannesburg to the European Union must be accompanied by a health certificate issued by a facility registered with the Department of Agriculture within 5 days of leaving South Africa.
Rabbits and ferrets are not permitted to enter South Africa. Birds, invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibia, mammals such as rodents are not subject to requirements of rabies vaccination, but may have to meet other requirements and should have a health certificate to enter South Africa. Pet owners are strongly advised to seek further information from the relevant authority of their country and/or that of the country of destination.
If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, and especially if it is a turtle or parrot, you should verify that it is not protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). You will need to apply for additional permits if this is the case. Over 180 countries participate and enforce CITES regulations. .
Need More Advice?
To the best of our ability, we ensure that recommendations given on PetTravel.com reflect the current regulations. We cannot predict how a given country may enforce these regulations. Noncompliance may result in the need to make arrangements to put your pet into quarantine at your expense, return your pet to the country of origin, or euthanize your pet. We suggest that you minimize the disruptions that may occur by following the rules of the country you are visiting.
Further detail on import permits, costs, tests and procedures are available at minimal cost at PetTravelStore.com. We also stock all the equipment and accessories you will need for traveling with your pet. Same day shipping Monday through Friday until 4:00 PM EST.
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