Inbound Travel to Vietnam with your Pets
Vietnam is a fairly easy country to enter with pets, regulations state that your cat or dog must have a recent Rabies vaccination and an authorized health certificate. No import permit is required for one dog or cat. The real difficulties begin when you take your cat or dog out of Vietnam. One word: Rabies. The World Organization for Animal Health classifies countries as rabies-free, rabies-controlled or high-risk and Vietnam is very high-risk determining pet relocation regulations in your country of departure to Vietnam.
As most people enter Vietnam by air there are two ways to bring along your pets: as onboard accompanied baggage or shipped as Cargo (Live Animal Shipment). First, It is advisable to purchase an IATA approved carrier early on before departure to allow your dog or cat to become familiar with its temporary home. Also, reduce your pets intake of food and water just before departure, this will depend on the length of the flight, where your pet might fequently urinate in the carrier. The carrier should also include identification indicating ownership of your pets and you should carry a copy with you at all times during travel.
Pets as Onboard Baggage
Pets as onboard baggage will be determined by size, weight and breed. Most small dog and cat carriers can be fitted under a seat, however it really depends on the airline you are using as they have their own policies for animal transportation. Check if an airline you are using offers a ‘Excess Baggage’ service to allow pets to be carried onboard. One other deciding factor is the length of travel and route of transit, your pet might not be allowed to bring your pet onboard the same flight as you. Work with your travel agent for the shortest possible route to Vietnam.
Pets as Cargo
Bringing medium to large dogs should be shipped as ‘live animal cargo’. If this is your first international flight with pets and depending your country of origin and choice of airline, it is strongly recommended to find a pet relocation agency as this process can become complicated. For help on finding airlines and pet relocation services, see IPATA List of International Airlines for Moving Pets by Cargo: (http://www.ipata.org/suppliers#airlines)
Pet Relocation Planning Process and Documentation (Pet Passport)
Begin your pet’s relocation process one to twelve months prior to departure to Vietnam. Recent Rabies vaccination must be done within 30 days before departure, past vaccinations no later than 12 months.
(1) Between 1 to 12 months before departure:
– Implant a microchip. Vietnam does not require a pet microchip; but addresses safety issues.
– Rabies vaccination and certificate (certificates documents microchip number, date and validity of the vaccination).
– Make sure common vaccinations are up to date, as Vietnam has a high level of infectious diseases for dogs and cats.
(2) Within 7 days before departure obtain a health certificate. An accredited veterinarian must complete a Vietnam International Health Certificate for endorsement by the USDA or CFIA if traveling from the United States or Canada. If coming from another country, find the Governing Authority responsible for the import and export of animals for endorsement. A reminder, there is no quarantine of healthy pets in Vietnam if all these regulations are met.
Outbound Travel of Your Pets from Vietnam
For authorization of your pets to leave Vietnam they need to take and pass a Rabies Serology Test. Begin the process six months before departure, since authorities expect the test to be completed within 4 months before leaving. You will have to pay for the blood sample to be sent abroad for testing, where the lab will send the results to your address in Vietnam.
You are also required to complete an official Health Certificate issued by the country of your destination to be approved by authorities (Tan Son Nhat Airport Animal Quarantine) within 10 days before departure. If you need assistance and advice, contact a pet relocation service provider in Saigon.
Finally, each country has its own regulations about relocated pets from Vietnam and it is your responsibility to become aware of the most recent regulations of your destination country. Further, rabies-free countries like Australia, Singapore, UK and others have severe restrictions on cats and dogs coming from Vietnam. If you are travelling directly to a Rabies-free country you need to send your pet via a rabies-controlled country first and will require quarantine of your pet. Prepare to live or arrange someone to be with your pet, because at the end of the day, we all want to provide the most safest passage home for our pets leaving Vietnam.
Supplemental Information ===================================
TIP The best online source for accurate and current information for pet relocation is the
IPATA – The Pet Shipping Experts (International Pet and Animal Association)
List of approved international laboratories for rabies tests: go here …
Tan Son Nhat Animal Quarantine
521 / 1 Hoang Van Thu, Q. Tan Binh
TEL 38 111 882
Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Saturday 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM
First published in the November, 2015 Issue of Oi Vietnam magazine.