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Taking Pets To China

At Maxxelli, we know that many expats bring their whole families to China. This often includes bringing along pets too, such is the popularity of animal companionship in Western cultures, and which can be seen increasingly within Chinese households too. It is helpful then to understand the procedures in place when a family relocating to China wishes to bring pets with them.

The first thing to note regarding pets in China is that, only cats and dogs may be imported. All other animals are strictly prohibited under Chinese law. Furthermore, only foreigners moving to China for employment (under the Z visa) with a residence permit can bring pets, of which only one pet is allowed in per passport with a maximum of two per family. Customs regulations for importing pet animals into China differ from city to city and are subject to change from time to time. In some cities, the importation of pet animals is strictly prohibited. Please check with your local Maxxelli office for further details about that specific location.

Steps before moving pets to China

There are two main ways in which pets can be brought into China:; as accompanied baggage travelling on the same plane with the family;, and as unaccompanied baggage (cargo) which arrives later.

Required measures if your pet is taken as accompanied baggage:

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• A passport with valid Z visa residency permit.
• A rabies vaccination report clearly stating owner’s name and certified by the government veterinarian or official quarantine bureau at the origin country. Pet animals must take required vaccinations within the last 12 months but not less than a few days before being imported into China.
• A health certificate issued under the name of the owner and certified by a government veterinarian at the origin country proving the pet is in a good, healthy condition. The form should include the name of pet, type of pet (breed of dog/cat), age, weight (also height for dogs), gender, plus a statement that the pet is vaccinated and in good health.
• A customs declaration form for incoming passengers will be distributed on the airplane whilst entering into China. Ticking “Yes” at column No.13 declares to customs at the airport that there are pets travelling as accompanied baggage.

Furthermore for unaccompanied baggage (Cargo):

• Pets should be received at the airport with the required number of passports showing valid Chinese residency permits and an entry record stamped within the past 3 months.
• Documents to prove the ownership of the animal sent as cargo.
• Ticking “Yes” on the customs declaration form for incoming passengers on column No.16 declares to customs at the airport that there will be pet animals coming into China later as unaccompanied baggage. Customs will stamp on this form showing that this declaration has been made during entry.

If two pets are being brought on the same plane (either as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage) both must be kept in separate kennels.

First steps after pets are brought into China

Registering and licensing pets depends on the jurisdiction to which they are moved. However, as a rule, regulations for dogs are more stringent than cats, and dogs are often required to be registered and licensed at local police stations.

Furthermore, most cities require dogs to be kept on a leash when taken outside, and not adhering to this will result in penalty fines or seizures. However, some cities have parks where dogs can be taken off the leash if proof of licensing is shown. For city-specific details contact the your local Maxxelli office.

Both dog and cat food can be purchased readily at major grocery shops. However, if specialised dietary requirements are necessary, certified veterinary clinics will also provide this.

Another paramount factor for owners to consider is medical care for their pets. It is important to seek out veterinarians with international standard training certificates. Locally- trained vets often will not be able to provide the same level of expertise and facilities as those trained to international standards. Local Maxxelli offices will recommend appropriate clinics on request.


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