June 11, 2022

Moving internationally with a pet

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Moving in general is never easy and needs proper planning. Now imagine moving internationally with a pet, that can be quite overwhelming as it requires a lot of preparation and paperwork. The sooner you start gathering all the necessary paperwork, the less stress you'll have once moving day comes. We will share some useful information that will help you prepare better for your international move with your pet.

Pets traveling by airplane
Moving internationally with a pet


Once you’ve decided on the move, start researching about the country you’re moving to. Pet laws are different in every country which is why research should be the very first thing you do. Contact the embassies (your country and destination country) as they will give you the most correct information.

Some veterinarians will know the international pet laws of some countries, but check with your vet for this as only a few actually specialize in international pet travel.

The most challenging thing about moving internationally with pets is the restrictions. Restrictions when it comes to certain pet breeds. So make sure to do research beforehand.

Other countries, however, will require a special license for some pet breeds. Call your airline and embassy to check all prerequisites. The more information you have, the better it will be for you not to get denied entry.


A lot of licensed and certified veterinarians have knowledge when it comes to pet requirements internationally. Ask your vet for requirements. If they don’t, they will almost always refer you to a vet who specializes in International travel for pets. This also differs by state.

Talking to your vet is also important to better prepare your pet for travel and get a full check-up. If your pet has never been on a plane, it may struggle. In order to avoid this, talk to your vet about the best medication that can help your pet with anxiety and motion sickness. Get all your pet's medical records and make sure they are up to date.


Microchipping your pet is essential whether your pet is moving internationally or not. You won't be allowed to board a flight if your pet isn’t microchipped. Some countries may “detain” your pet on arrival and take them to a shelter or an animal hospital for a few days or up to 2 weeks to insert a microchip.

Make sure to get the correct chip for your pet so it meets international standards.


Check with your vet what vaccines aren’t up to date and get those done as soon as you can. Some vaccines need to be administered no later than 21 days before date of travel. The rabies vaccine is the most important. Once you know what vaccines are required for your destination country, have your vet administer them.

PRO TIP: Travelling with a pet that doesn’t have updated vaccines isn't allowed.


Once all your pet's vaccines are updated, you’ll need to contact the USDA (Veterinary Export Trade Services) to get a certified and notarised health certificate for your pet (this differs by state). The certificate is a clearance of any medical conditions and that your pet is fully vaccinated, microchipped, and healthy to travel.

PRO TIP: There’s a fee for the health certificate.


Some countries require a pet passport which is basically your pet's ID and all documentation relating to the pet like vaccines, health certificates, etc. This is a great booklet to have so you have all your documentation is in one place.


Since the pandemic hit in 2020, unfortunately, a lot of airlines don't allow emotional support pets or service dogs on your person in the plane. Airlines have different-sized cage requirements for pets. Check with your airline what the requirements are, and buy the correct sized cage for your pet.

If your pet isn't used to the cage, start training right away. This will help tremendously. If you’re struggling to train your pet, watch some videos and start slowly or contact a certified pet trainer.


If you’re unable to do all this yourself, you can find agencies that will do everything. Relocation agencies are not cheap so you need to take that into consideration. Some agencies will take your pet to the vet and make sure all paperwork is ready for the day of travel, however, some agencies just deal with the airport paperwork only.

Do some research and look at reviews before deciding on an agency. Find out if the agency takes your pet all the way to the destination country (if that’s what you’re looking for) or not. Remember that these services are expensive.


Buy enough medication for your pet to last you at least 3 months after you’ve arrived at your new location. Having enough medication will give you enough time to find a veterinarian in your area while you settle. Also, you never know what could happen mid-flight or while connecting flights, so it’s better to be prepared ahead. Would be great to get a few of your pet's favorite treats too. Ask your vet for enough prescription medication and don’t forget to declare it.

PRO TIP: Get your dog a water dispenser for the cage so they’re not thirsty during the flight.


The day is finally here so all your documentation should be ready. Get to the airport at least 4 hours before your flight, this is to ensure that you take your pet to the right cargo gate for boarding and to do last-minute checks on your pet's documentation. They will need to thoroughly check everything and make sure that you have your pet's documentation ready for customs at the destination country.

PRO TIP: Stop feeding your pet food or water at least 6 hours before travel!

Now that you have a few tips and tips for moving internationally with a pet, the most important thing to remember is to research and call embassies for the best information, and don’t forget to talk to your vet. Prepare everything on time. The better prepared you are, the less anxiety you’ll have once travel day comes. If you’re moving locally, contact us at Capital City Movers at (718) 619 4881 for a FREE QUOTE and for more moving tips and tricks by visiting our website.


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