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Pet Travel - Transiting a Country

What does your pet need when they are transiting a country?

In general, terms transiting a country with your pet means that the pet does not actually enter the country but just passes through it. In most cases no documentation is needed for that country if it is truly a "transit" although there are a few countries that require a transit permit such as England, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.

If the pet is traveling with you in the cabin of the aircraft and you get off of one flight and go to the gate of the next flight without going through customs then you are "transiting" the country.

You do need to check first however as some airports such as Miami International requires you to go through immigration even though you are just changing airlines. If you go through immigration with your pet then you have entered the country and must comply with those countries rules. If you have a long layover and wish to take your pet outside for a walk then you will go through immigration and have entered the country.

In most cases if the layover is under 2 hours and if your pet is traveling in the cargo hold as checked baggage, it will be transferred from one airplane to the next and staying on the same carrier, then your pet is just transiting the country. This is only true if your pet arrives in the intermediate country on the same airline that it will depart on to the final destination.

If however the pet is changing airlines then the owner must pick up the pet at the intermediate airport baggage claim and recheck it on the next airline flight. In this case, the pet does enter the country and you must comply with that country's import regulations. As an alternative it may be possible to arrange for a licensed pet transport agent in the intermediate country to pick up the pet from the first airline and deliver it (in quarantine) to the next airline. This must be done by a licensed pet transport agent and can be expensive.

If the pet is originating in a country with a high incidence of rabies and the intermediate country is an EU country or a country that is rabies free, then advance preparations must be made if it is not possible to "transit" the country. In most cases a blood titer test must be done and other documents prepared. This only applies if it is not a true "transit" but for some reason such as changing airlines or an exceptionally long layover the pet must enter the intermediate country.

Be Prepared. In most cases, the cost to carry both the forms for the final destination and another set of forms for the intermediate country is very little. If you are not sure if you qualify for transiting a country, then we recommend you be prepared to enter it.