Essential Documents and Vaccinations Required for Pets Traveling to Dubai

Essential Documents and Vaccinations Required for Pets Traveling to Dubai

Traveling with a pet can be an exciting but also stressful adventure, but it also involves careful planning and preparation, especially when visiting a destination like Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The UAE has specific regulations regarding the entry of pets to ensure the health and safety of both animals and residents. In this article, we will explore the essential documents and vaccinations required for pets before arriving in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Microchip Identification:

Before traveling to Dubai, it is mandatory for all pets to be microchipped with an ISO-standard microchip. The microchip should be implanted prior to any required vaccinations and should be registered with your contact information in the pet passport. This microchip will serve as a permanent identification for your pet.

Vaccinations:

Getting your dog vaccinated sounds simple but there are some details you should know in case your pet has not always been up to date with their vaccinations. In some countries vets usually use a separate health or vaccination book to keep track of your pet vaccinations. These are not always in English and it's important that the vaccinations are properly documented in the international pet passport.

List of vaccinations:

Dogs

  • Rabies, a valid vaccination applied according to instructions of vaccine manufacturer, initial dose should not be applied before 12 weeks of animal age (injected at least 21 days before arrival and no longer than 1 year).
  • Canine Distemper Virus (CDV).
  • Canine Parvo Virus.
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis.
  • Leptospirosis.

Cats

  • Rabies, a valid vaccination applied according to instructions of vaccine manufacturer, initial dose should not be applied before 12 weeks of animal age (injected at least 21 days before arrival and no longer than 1 year).
  • Feline Pan Leukcopenia.
  • Feline Rhinotracheitis.
  • Feline Calicivirus

Antibody Titration Test (Titer test)

For those importing pets from high-risk countries, there's an additional requirement: the Rabies Antibody Titration Test, also known as the Titer test. This test is conducted to ensure that the pet has a sufficient immune response to the rabies vaccination, which is a critical aspect of pet health and safety in Dubai.

This test is done by collecting a blood sample from your pet, which is then sent to a laboratory accredited by the competent authorities in the country of departure. The certificate must include the date of sampling, the date and method of examination, as well as the antibody result (UI/ml). Please note that getting the results can take several weeks or even months in some cases depending on the labo and time of the year. The authorities in the UAE consider a Titer test to be valid for 365 days, however, it will automatically expire upon renewing the rabies vaccine. In other words, the Titer test will only be valid if the blood sample is made during the latest and up to date valid vaccine shot.

There are two different scenarios to keep in mind:

  1. If your pet is getting its rabies vaccination for the first time or if there has been a discontinuity in the vaccination schedule (for example the vaccine has not been renewed properly), there should be at least 21 days between the vaccination date and the blood sample collection of the Titer test.
  2. If your pet has a valid booster vaccination, there's no requirement for a 21-day interval after vaccination. The Titer test can be done immediately.

The test result must indicate that the animal's rabies antibody level is not less than 0.5 IU/ml.

It's also important to note that if your pet is being imported from a low-risk country, the Titer test may not be required. Low-risk countries include (latest update is 14/05/2024):

Australia, Austria, Andorra, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Falkland Islands, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Malta, Caledonia. New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Palau, Latvia, Albania, Croatia, Maldives, Spain (excluding Melilla), Cyprus, Korea, Montenegro, Seychelles, Suriname, Micronesia, Greece, Marshall Islands, Bahamas, Lithuania, Macedonia.

Treatments 10 days before shipment (dogs and cats):

All pets looking to enter the UAE will need to be receiving anti-parasite treatments both internally (deworming) and externally within 14 days before departure. Those treatments must be declared on the pet passport and health certificate.

  • Anti-external parasites using Fipronil or Permethrin
  • Deworming (Anthelmintic) using Praziquantel

Export Health Certificate:

An export health certificate is required in order to enter the UAE, which in most cases is issued by the government in your departing country. This certificate confirms that your pet is in good health and fully vaccinated as per the import requirements. The health certificate should be issued within 10 days prior to travel and must be signed and stamped by an accredited veterinarian.

Some countries will require the export certificate to be signed and stamped 1 day before departure. This is not a UAE requirement but in some cases this can be a requirement from the exporting country.

It's vital that the export health certificate is properly filled in, signed and stamped. This is where we see most of the issues happen and if you have to go the day before the travel date, you cannot allow yourself to get this wrong as you will not have a lot of time left to go back to fix the issue. If this document is not correct, you will also face issues during the pet check-in and if you manage to still get through, you will face issues during the vet check at the arrival airport in the UAE. Pets can be rejected at arrival and sent back, or put in quarantaine.

Import Permit:

Before bringing your pet to Dubai, you must request and obtain an import permit from the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE). Ensure you start the application process well in advance to allow sufficient time for approval. The import permit is also only valid for 30 days, so it is not allowed to import pets with an expired import permit. Individuals are also allowed to import a maximum of 2 pets into the UAE per calendar year but this can be bypassed through an accredited pet relocation agency such as Furry Travel.

Customs Clearance:

Pets who are imported whether you fly in cabin or cargo must pay customs fees. Those fees can vary based on which customs clearance company you work with. Once you have paid customs fees you will receive the Bill of Entry which is a requirement in order to proceed to the next step (release permit).

If you fly in cabin, you will only be able to receive your Bill of Entry once you have received your boarding pass from the airline.

If you fly in cargo, you will only be able to request this once the flight has departed or upon arrival.

Release permit:

The release permit must be requested and issued by MOCCAE. During your release permit request you will need to submit all the documentation related to your pet travel:

  • Pet Passport fully up to date
  • Export Health Certificate (signed and stamped by the exporting country)
  • Airway Bill (if cargo)
  • Customs Declaration or Bill of Entry

With this guide you should have all the information you need in order to be able to perform all the import formalities all by yourself. However if you're looking to get some peace of mind and hire somebody to do it on your behalf, feel free to reach out to us.

Last Updated On:
May 14, 2024