Article by Miguel Meza
Your pets love you, to them you are everything. Responsible pet ownership means promising to take care of the pet through sickness and health, good and bad times, and when you offer a pet a home it should be for life. That means when you leave Xi’an, you should consider taking your pets with you. Moving can be one of the most stressful things a person can do; what’s worse is it can be just as traumatic for your pets. Having a plan for a pet-friendly transition will keep you calm and your pets as comfortable as possible. If you’re not sure about the procedure, I’ve got you covered.
A globe-trotting pet, like you, needs certain documentation so that it can travel safely and legally. It first needs a health certificate issued by the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (出入境检验检疫局). To get that, you’ll need to do a couple of things.
Vaccinate your pet
If your pet hasn’t been vaccinated, it needs to be before you try to take it outside of China. An authorized veterinarian can vaccinate your pet and they will place a sticker in the “Dog immunization certificate” (犬类免疫证) as proof. The Dog immunization certificate is a standard health record that only authorised veterinarians can provide. It says “Dog” on the title but it´s also for Cats, and the design can vary from province to province. The rabies vaccine is the one the government cares about and needs to be recorded in this booklet, others are bonus points!
If you already did the vaccinations and don´t have a Dog immunization certificate, find a veterinarian who can supply one, ask for a health check and explain that you will leave the country. They will need to place the stickers in the Dog immunization certificate and put their stamp on the rabies vaccine (important). The doctor might or might not place the other vaccines in the “Dog immunization certificate. It’s OK if they don’t; you only need the rabies vaccine.
IMPORTANT: Usually when you go to the veterinarian and get vaccinations or check-ups they will usually just give you a regular health history carnet (booklet or logbook), which is only provided by that veterinarian. These are not officially accepted by the Bureau.
Apply for the health certificate at the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau
Now that your pet is healthy and vaccinated, you can apply for the health certificate. You’ll need to go to the Shaanxi Xi’an Export Processing Zone on Mingguang Road (if you use Didi or Uber, you can put the following address into the app: 陕西西安出口加工区明光路1号). When you arrive at the place, you’ll see a big area trucks drive through with the words “Xi’an (Shaanxi) Free Trade Zone” above it. The building is just to the right of that. When you go in the lobby, there are stairs to the left. Go up to the second floor and go through the doors on the left. They will take you to an office on the first floor where they will take a picture of your pet and they will ask you to pay the fee.
When you go, bring these four things with you:
• Passport if you’re foreign, national ID if you aren’t
• A photocopy of your passport or ID
• Dog immunization certificate
• 200RMB cash (for fees)
The certificate will be issued within a few days and be aware that it is only valid for 14 days. This means you can’t do this part very far in advance, so plan accordingly. This includes going to this office at the appropriate working hours (9am-11:30am and 2pm-5pm), and calling ahead to ensure that the office is open that day.
That’s pretty much all of the China stuff—now we need to consider the regulations of our destination country.
Animal Import Regulations
Some countries require that your pets have a microchip planted on them (a service your vet can provide), some require a blood test, some require one or the other, some require neither. Some want you to have a “pet passport” (long story short, it’s essentially a health certificate from the pet’s country of origin).
There are a lot more little details like that, so to find out the requirements and regulations about importing pets to another country, it’s easiest to do a quick internet search such as “bringing your pet to [country]” (in which you replace “country” with your destination). Be sure to choose government-run web pages rather than pet relocation services to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.
If you’ve got all that taken care of, it’s time to take to the skies.
Flying with a Pet
Make sure the airline you´re flying with allows pets either on board or in the cargo hold. It may be useful to contact the airline directly, as different aircrafts might not have a pressurized cargo area (your pet needs to fly in a pressurized environment). The airline should be able to tell you which flights can accommodate you and your pet, and how much the fees are to take your furry friend with you.
The day you´re flying we suggest you to have a photocopy of health certificates, passport, blood test, microchip number, etc. Arrive at least 4 hours in advance, as flights have a pre-defined number of pets they can take and these spots can´t be booked ahead of time, so if you´re unlucky enough and find 10 people travelling with their pets and they checked-in before you, they won´t allow you to check-in your furry friends, so be sure to be the first one!
This is a brief look at a somewhat intensive process, so if you have any further questions or concerns, contact Xi’an Paws on WeChat at our account xian-paws. Safe travels!