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Pets in China

Whether it’s a dog, a cat or a fuzzy rabbit, many expats can’t imagine a move to China without their four-legged friend. But taking your pet to China comes with a lot of bureaucratic hurdles. We offer an overview of everything you need to know as a pet-owner in China.
If you decide to bring your pet to China, health examinations and visits to the vet will become a staple of your life.

Although their attitude towards dogs as pets is not always the best, the Chinese have always kept pets and expats moving to the country are no exception, of course. For many global minds, taking their beloved pets to China is a no-brainer. But before you can start to feel at home together with your furry or feathered friend, you need to prepare for the actual move.

Make Sure You Know the Regulations

Before you get ready to pack your bags, put your pet into its transportation box and hit the road, you should be aware that moving your dog or cat to China should be well prepared. First of all, foreigners holding an employment visa are only permitted to bring one pet (per adult). If you have more than one pet per adult, it is considered a commercial import and different rules apply.

You must be able to prove that you are your pet’s owner. This means that your name must be included on all health documents of your pet. Moreover, your pet must be vaccinated between 30 days and 12 months before your move. To take your pet to China with you, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Official certificate proving that your pet has recently been vaccinated
  • Official document from your current country of residence, allowing the export of your pet outside of the country
  • Health certificate from a veterinarian in your current country of residence, attesting to your pet’s health

If your pet travels unaccompanied in cargo, you will have to secure an import permit through a sponsor or someone acting on your behalf.

Moreover, your pet might have to be placed into quarantine for seven days upon arrival. Depending on which country you enter from, an additional 23 days of quarantine might be necessary. The exact duration of quarantine depends on the rabies status of the country you are importing your pet from.

All in all, bringing your pet to China can be rather complicated, even if you know exactly which documentation and immunization your pet needs. Therefore, it makes sense to hire a company specializing in these services.

Moving from City to City

If you decide to move from one Chinese city, such as Beijing, to another by plane, you need to abide by certain exit requirements of the city’s municipal government. For illustration purposes, we will list the requirements of the municipality of Beijing.

You will need:

  • A rabies vaccination immunity certificate. Your pet should have been vaccinated at least 21 days before your departure.
  • Health examination and sterilization of the air crate. For this procedure, you have to take your pet and the air crate to an Animal Husbandry Bureau Service Center for a health exam and sterilization. You will receive an official certificate which will be valid for three days.


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