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Moving with your pet to Hong Kong

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If you are planning a long-term stay in Hong Kong, you may want to bring your pets with you. The process of bringing your pets into Hong Kong is not complicated — provided you carefully follow all the rules and procedures. So make sure to be aware of all related conditions and formalities before arranging your pets’ travel.

The first and most important thing to know is that you cannot take your pet to Hong Kong, regardless of the length of your stay, unless you have obtained a special permit. This permit has to be requested from local authorities well in advance.

Applying for a special permit

To request for a special permit, you have to duly fill and sign an AF240 form to which you must attach the following documents:

  • Your pet's vaccination certificate;
  • your pet's health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian;
  • an updated rabies vaccination certificate; and
  • a pre-stamped envelope mentioning your address.

The following fees apply:

  • HKD 432 for a single pet;
  • HKD 102 for each additional pet.

These can be paid via a cheque in Hong Kong dollars addressed to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The request then has to be sent by post to the following address:

Permit & Certification Unit (Counter No 10)
Import & Export Division, 5th floor
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
Cheung Sha Wan Department Office
303 Cheun Sha Wan Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong.

You should receive the special permit within five days following the application date, so you should plan in advance. If your request has been accepted, the permit will be sent to you by post. In case of urgency, you have to designate an individual or agent who can take care of the related formalities on your behalf.

Group I pets

Pets coming from Group I countries (Australia, England, Fiji Islands, Hawaii, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand) are exempt from the quarantine process if they meet all the import criteria. However, you will have to produce the following when applying for the special permit:

  • a VC-DC1 form;
  • a certificate proving that your pet has continuously lived in the same country;
  • during the 180 days prior to the scheduled travel date;
  • a vaccination book proving that some specific vaccines have been administered at least 14 days and not more than a year prior to the scheduled travel date;
  • an airline certificate proving that your pet has travelled aboard the same airplane as you without having transited through another territory before reaching Hong Kong.

Other special documents may also be required.

Group II pets

The following are Group II countries: Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Gibraltar, Guam, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, New Caledonia, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA, Vanuatu, Virgin Islands, the Netherlands.

You will have to produce the same documents as those mentioned in the case of Group I animals when applying for the special permit. The only difference is that the form you will need to fill in and submit is VC-DC2.

Group III pets

Finally, Group III includes all other countries that have not been mentioned above. In this case, your pet will be quarantined for a minimum of four months at the Animal Management Center, which works under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation. All vaccines must have been administered before travelling to Hong Kong.

Note that you have to make advance booking at the quarantine centre by filling the VC-DC3 and PC100 forms to which you have to attach your pet's health and vaccination certificate. This step must be performed at least three months prior to your pet's arrival in Hong Kong. Other conditions may also apply, as in the case of Group I and Group II pets.

Validity

Once the special permit has been issued, you have to import your pet to Hong Kong within six months. Otherwise, the permit will expire and you will have to start the process from the beginning.

Transporting your pet

Once your pet has all the necessary documents, contact your preferred airline and enquire about the process of transporting your pet. Rules, conditions and fees for pet transfers may vary from airline to airline — so, make sure to ask where your pet will be transported and what you can do to make the flight more comfortable. Generally, you will need to purchase an IATA certified crate, a drip water bottle and training pads to put on the floor of the cage. It is recommended not to feed your pet for five hours prior to the flight.

 Good to know:

It’s a good idea to crate-train your pet before flying: leave them in the crate for periods of time before the trip to make the upcoming journey less stressful.

Keeping pets in Hong Kong

Before making the decision of bringing your pets to Hong Kong, take the time to learn about the city and what it's like to keep a pet here.

Your first consideration is the climate. Characterised as subtropical, the weather conditions in Hong Kong are hot and humid and may not be suitable (or at least unpleasant) for long-haired cat and dog breeds. Second, the city is notorious for its small apartments. Thus, if you have a large-breed dog, the confined living area will definitely be a consideration.

With that said, Hong Kong offers all the needed facilities for pets and pet owners: from dog walking parks to highly-qualified vets and pet shops.

 Important:

Upon arrival in Hong Kong, make sure to register your dog at a licensing centre of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). The procedure is quick and simple, and you can also have your dog chipped and vaccinated here.

 Useful links:

Features for pets coming from Group I countries
Features for pets coming from Group II countries
Features for pets coming from Group III countries
Vaccination conditions for pets coming from Group III countries

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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