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south africa


1. Age of Animal


Your puppies and kittens need to be at least 3 months old to travel on their own valid Rabies vaccination. If they are younger than 3 months (12 weeks), they can travel under their mother’s valid Rabies vaccination, provided she was vaccinated before becoming pregnant and the vaccination is still valid when they are born. The puppies and kittens must then be vaccinated against Rabies after arrival in South Africa at 3 months of age.


2. Microchip


Your pet must be microchipped.


3. Rabies Vaccination


A valid Rabies vaccination is required for all international travel. This vaccination should be administered no more than one year and no less than thirty days before the intended travel date.


Dogs and cats arriving into South Africa from the UK, Australia and New Zealand do not require a Rabies vaccination unless they have onward travel arrangements. They must however be vaccinated once they have arrived in South Africa.


Three year Rabies vaccinations are not accepted for importation into South Africa.


4. Annual Vaccinations


Annual vaccinations for dogs and cats are recommended. The vaccinations must be older than 30 days but not older than one year upon arrival. A valid vaccination certificate will be necessary if your pet requires boarding or kenneling before or after travel as well as a local onward flight within South Africa.


For Dogs: Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Parainfluenza and Bordetella Bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough).


For Cats: Feline Panleukopenia (Infectious Enteritis/Feline Distemper), Feline Rhinotracheitis, and Feline Calicivirus.


Please note: Only an official, registered veterinarian may administer these vaccinations for export purposes. Vaccinations given by a veterinary nurse or welfare organisation staff are not accepted.


5. Blood Tests for Dogs only (not for dogs from neighbouring countries)


The Department of Agriculture: Import / Export Policy requires that dogs imported into South Africa be accurately tested. The tests must be conducted at a government-approved laboratory, (exactly as per prescribed methods) for the following diseases before being imported:



The five blood tests and two smears for these diseases must be conducted within 30 days of arrival in South Africa. If the samples need to be sent to South Africa, they must be sent by air, accompanied by a copy of the OVI master Import Permit for the import of the diagnostic specimen, and covered by an Air Waybill/Courier Waybill, for testing at the ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Lab in South Africa.


Important: Do not start with the blood tests until you have a go ahead from your consultant team.


Please Note: Samples must be packed and transported according to IATA regulations (most courier services are familiar with these requirements). Samples must be kept cold (do not freeze the samples or transport them on dry ice, as this will render them unusable).


Dogs travelling from non-quarantine countries must arrive in South Africa with negative test results. Dogs travelling from quarantine countries must also arrive with negative test results and will be retested during their quarantine stay (up to 14 days) to obtain a second negative result.


6. Treatments for Dogs only (not for dogs from neighbouring counties)


Dogs imported into South Africa must be treated from the date of negative testing (same date as blood sample collection) until the date of export, at the required intervals, with one of the following treatments:




Please Note: Sufficient Dirofilaria Immitis medication needs to accompany your dog(s) to South Africa to provide for a six-month course after arriving into South Africa.


For dogs, treatment for Trypanosoma and Leishmania might be required for import into South Africa, but this will be specified on the Health Certificate issued with the Import Permit.


7. Animal Improvement Compliance Permit for all dogs


Starting from 1st April 2024, dogs entering South Africa must have an Animal Improvement Compliance Permit in addition to the standard Veterinary Import Permit. This permit, issued by the Registrar of Animal Improvement of South Africa, ensures compliance with the Animal Improvement Act and must be presented along with the Veterinary Import Permit upon entry. Without the Animal Improvement Compliance Permit, dogs will be denied entry into South Africa.


The processing time for this permit is 30 working days, after which the application for the South African Veterinary Permit can be initiated. Each permit can cover one to five dogs. Additionally, all dogs must be spayed or neutered, and documentation confirming this must be included with the permit application.


8. Veterinary Import Permit for dogs and cats (not for dogs and cats from neighbouring countries)


An Import Permit is required, and it typically takes 2-3 working weeks to obtain. You can only apply for the Import Permit after receiving the Animal Improvement Compliance Permit.


For dogs from non-quarantine countries, the import permit is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. For dogs from quarantine countries, the import permit is valid for 10 days.


9. Quarantine for dogs (not for dogs from neighbouring countries)


Quarantine (up to 14 days) will be imposed on dogs entering South Africa from certain countries. We will advise on the best day of the week for your dog(s) to arrive, to ensure the least amount of time in quarantine. Dogs entering from the following countries will not be quarantined upon arrival:


Europe: 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, United Kingdom, Norway, Hungary and Romania.


North America: Canada and the United States of America.


Australasia: Australia and New Zealand.


Africa: Botswana, Comoros, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Reunion. 


Asia: Israel.


South America: Argentina.


10. Pets travelling to South Africa via any European port


European requirements state that pets travelling via any European Port must meet European import conditions:


  • Pets must have a microchip implanted prior to – or on the same day – as the Rabies vaccination.

  • Pets require a Rabies Titre blood test, based on a blood sample drawn at least 30 days but not more than 1 year after a Rabies vaccination. These test results must be older than 92 days, prior to the export of the pet.

  • Pets require a European Health Certificate, as well. Pets imported into South Africa via Europe will require two Health Certificates: one for transit through the European Port, and one for entry into South Africa.

  • All South African import conditions must still be met, as per the information in this document.


11. Health Certificate (or Movement Permit for pets from neighbouring countries)


Your pet must be accompanied by a South African Health Certificate (or Movement Permit), issued by a private veterinarian, confirming compliance with the above requirements, and countersigned by the State Vet. This must be done within 10 days of arrival. Our clients will be provided with the correct, Health Certificate template.


If you have any further questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact Global Paws. We’re here to help!

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