Travel to South Africa
Travel to South Africa with your pets
Depending on the country you arrive from in South Africa, different regulations apply to the import of pets. A veterinary health certificate, veterinary import permit, rabies vaccinations, and blood tests might be mandatory depending on the pet and country of origin.
Dogs and cats must have a valid rabies vaccination. In the case of a primary rabies vaccination, the vaccination must be given not more than 12 months and not less than 30 days before the date of import. In the case of a booster rabies vaccination, the vaccination must be given not more than 12 months before the date of import.
Vaccination against rabies is not required for cats/dogs imported from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland but vaccination against rabies for cats/dogs imported from these countries is advised. This will ensure that the cat/dog has sufficient immunity against rabies on arrival in South Africa to prevent it from contracting rabies in South Africa.
VETERINARY IMPORT PERMIT
A veterinary import permit is needed to import Dogs & Cats into South Africa. Different application forms are available for different import cases (cats, dogs, quarantine, etc), you can find them HERE.
After completion of the application form, you can sent it to:
Director of Animal Health
Import Export Policy Unit
Private Bag X138
Fax: +27 12 329-8292
Please note that proof of payment is required at the time of application. Tariffs can be found HERE. Please confirm the tariff with the permit office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The payment’s details are as follows:
Name of bank: Standard Bank of South Africa
Name of account holder: National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Account nr.: 011219556 International Band
IB BRAND 0001982 CENTRE CODE
Swift Code SBZA-ZAJJ
Name of the branch: Arcadia
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Reference must be Importers Name & Surname
VETERINARY HEALTH CERTIFICATE
A blank Veterinary Health Certificate will be sent to you with the Veterinary Import permit. Within 10 days of departure to South Africa, a licensed veterinarian of the country of export needs to complete the Veterinary Health Certificate of South Africa. You can find an example HERE (please only use the official Veterinary Health Certificate form send to you). The Veterinary Health Certificate must, for example, include travel information, vaccination information, blood test results (only applicable for dogs, see section Testing of Dogs below).
Quarantine of 14 days will be imposed on some dogs, depending on the country of origin of the dog. Dogs from the following list of countries below do not need to go into quarantine on arrival in South Africa. The dog must, however, have a valid import permit and a correctly completed health certificate, signed and stamped by a government veterinarian of the exporting country. If these documents are not available at the time of the dog’s arrival in South Africa, the dog will be kept in quarantine until the required documentation is presented at the quarantine station.
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Norway and Hungry.
Canada and the United States of America
Australia and New Zealand
Botswana, Comoros, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Reunion.
Before a quarantine booking for a dog can be confirmed, the importer must sign an indemnity form. Copies of the indemnity form can be obtained from the permit office and the two quarantine stations (see contact details in more information below). The original signed indemnity form needs to either be handed in at the quarantine station where the dog will be quarantined or the original signed indemnity form needs to be posted or couriered to the quarantine station. Faxed and scanned copies will not be accepted. Bookings at the quarantine stations will only be confirmed on receipt of the original signed indemnity form.
If you are importing a dog from an island please contact the Import Export Policy Unit to find out if your dog will be quarantined on arrival in South Africa.
Cats are not routinely quarantined on arrival in South Africa. The cat must however have a valid import permit and a correctly completed health certificate, signed and stamped by a government veterinarian of the exporting country. If these documents are not available at the time of the cat’s arrival in South Africa, the cat will be kept in quarantine until the required documentation is presented at the quarantine station.
PORT OF ENTRY
Dogs that will be quarantined on arrival in South Africa may only be imported into South Africa via OR Tambo (Johannesburg) or Cape Town International Airports. Dogs that are being imported from countries not subject to quarantine and cats can also be imported into South Africa via Durban International Airport. Dogs and cats will not be allowed to enter South Africa via any other airport or port of entry (including land border post).
In cases where quarantine of animals is required, the importer must contact the Quarantine Officer at the port of entry:
Johannesburg Tel +27 (0) 11 973 2827 or Fax +27 (0) 11 973 2828
Cape Town Tel +27 (0) 21 551 2050 or Fax +27 (0) 21 551 1378
The Quarantine Officer will make the reservation for accommodation at the Quarantine Station and must complete the applicable part of the application form.
All dogs and cats imported into South Africa must be registered, as manifest cargo and can not fly as excess baggage. The Directorate Animal Health does not have veterinary officials at the passenger terminal of OR Tambo (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International Airport to check the paperwork of dogs entering South Africa via the passenger terminal of the respective airports. The dogs and cats can only disembark via the cargo terminal of the respective airports.
If the airline will allow it the dog or cat may travel in the cabin with the owner but the animal must be registered as manifest cargo and the airline staff must take the animal from the owner on landing so that the animal can be off loaded from the plane via the cargo terminal.
On arrival at the airport, the original Veterinary Import Permit issued by the Directorate Animal Health and the original Veterinary Health Certificate signed, stamped and certified by Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country must be presented to the veterinary officials at the airport before the dog or cat can be released. The documents can either travel with the animal or the person collecting the animal must present the documents to the officials at the airport. The latter is only for animals that are not going into Quarantine on arrival in South Africa. The paperwork of animals going into quarantine must travel with the animal.
All dogs and cats imported into South Africa must be permanently identified with a microchip (tattoos will not be accepted). The microchip must be able to be read by an ISO 11784 or ISO 11785 scanners.
TESTING OF DOGS
Before dogs can be imported the dog needs to be certified free from the following five diseases by means of blood tests. The dog’s blood can either be tested in the country of origin or the blood sample can be sent to South Africa for testing.
From October 2017 country freedom declarations will not be accepted as specified on the Veterinary Health Certificate issued to the importer with the import permit. The dogs must be tested for all five diseases, as listed above with the testing methods below. The onus is on the importer to check that the correct veterinary health certificate has been issued with the veterinary import permit, as it is named in the veterinary import permit.
The Directorate Animal Health requires the following test or tests to be used for the above mentioned five diseases:
Brucella canis : serum agglutination / rapid slide agglutination test
Trypanosoma evansi: card agglutination test and giemsa blood smear
Babesia gibsoni: Immunoflourescence antibody test & giemsa blood
Dirofilaria immitis: microfilarial filtration test
Leishmania: Indirect fluorescent antibody or ELISA or Direct agglutination test or Western blot/membrane immunoassay
NOTE: T. evansi and B. gibsoni needs serology AND a Giemsa blood smear (thus 2 testing methods must be performed for these 2 diseases) Knotts test will not be accepted for heartworm disease!
For more information on the blood tests please visit the website of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa.
Dogs imported must be treated from the date of negative testing until export at the required intervals with:
Diethylcarbamazine (5-6 mg/kg per os daily)
Ivermectin (6 micrograms/kg per os monthly)
Milbemycin oxime (0,5 mg/kg per os monthly)
Moxidectin (3 micrograms/kg per os monthly)
(Revolution) Prophylactic only
Proheart SR12 (Subcut injection yearly)*
* If the date of the negative test falls within 11 months of giving the Proheart SR12 subcutaneous injection then no further Dirofilaria immitis treatment is required.
Sufficient Dirofilaria immitis medication needs to accompany the dog to South Africa so that the dogs can receive a six month course of medication after importation into South Africa.
MINIMUM AGE FOR PETS TO BE IMPORTED TO SOUTH AFRICA
Puppies/Kittens under three months of age do not need to be vaccinated for rabies. But puppies/kittens less than 3 months of age can only travel to South Africa if the dam/queen of the puppy/kitten has been vaccinated for rabies more than 30 days before and less than 12 months before the birth of the puppy/kitten. These puppies/kittens 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.
DOGS AND CATS ENTERING SOUTH AFRICA FROM (NEIGHBOURING) AFRICAN COUNTRIES
Dogs and Cats entering South Africa from Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland do not need an import permit. These dogs and cats need a health certificate that certifies that the dog or cat has been vaccinated against rabies in the last 12 months but more than 30 days before the date of departure. The cats and dogs need to have a health check within 7 days of export.
This does not apply to dogs entering South Africa from Mozambique. These dogs can only be imported into South Africa with a veterinary import permit. The dogs need to have the necessary blood tests (see testing procedure above) done prior to export and must be flown from Mozambique to either Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airports were the dogs will be placed in Quarantine for 14 days and will be re tested according to the normal protocol for dogs in quarantine. The dogs may not enter South Africa by road. An import permit is needed to bring cats into South Africa from Mozambique but cats can enter South Africa by road and do not need to be placed into quarantine.
Dogs being imported from other African countries must have a veterinary import permit and cannot enter by road via one of our neighbouring countries. The dogs need to have the necessary blood tests (see testing procedure above) done prior to export and must be flown to either Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airports were the dogs will be quarantined for 14 days and will be re-tested according to the normal protocol for dogs in quarantine.
Dogs and cats from Malawi do not need a veterinary import permit. These dogs and cats need a health certificate that certifies that the dog or cat has been vaccinated against rabies in the last 12 months but more than 30 days before the date of departure. The cats and dogs need to have a health check done within 10 days of export.
Cats from other African countries need a veterinary import permit and a veterinary health certificate that has been stamped and signed by a certifying veterinarian in the country of origin. This must accompany the cats. Cats must also have had a rabies vaccination less then a year but more than 30 days before the date of export. These cats can enter South Africa by road.
PROHIBITED BREEDS OF PETS FOR ENTERING SOUTH AFRICA
We do not have any information on prohibited breeds of pets in South Africa.
For more information, please visit the website of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa.