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Updated 8 months ago

If you are planning to relocate with your pet to the United Arab Emirates, Expat.com offers you an overview of the required formalities in the article below.

If you wish to move to the United Arab Emirates with your pet, you should seek information on import formalities with the Emirati authorities based on the country you’re coming from. First, check that your pet is allowed to enter the United Arab Emirates. Afterwards, you will need to follow the import procedures, sanitary requirements, and health formalities before your pet is allowed to travel. You can also inquire with your carrier for pet travel, or contact a company specialised in pet transportation.

 Good to know:

You are advised to make these inquiries well in advance as the procedures can take a lot of time.

Formalities

For first-time travel, that is, if your pet will be entering the United Arab Emirates for the first time, there are import formalities to follow. First of all, your pet must be fitted with a non-encrypted identification microchip that is compliant with ISO 11784 or ISO 11785 norms. Note that AVID 9 and AVID 10 are also accepted. It is important that the microchip is inserted prior to the administration of the rabies vaccine.

Your pet will need to have its original Rabies Certificate signed by your vet. The rabies vaccine must be administered between 21 days and 12 months before your pet's scheduled arrival date in the UAE. A rabies titer test will then be required. The results will be obtained from a lab, so that might take some time. The result of this rabies titer test must be 0.5 IU/ml or above.

Vaccines are also required. This is different for cats and dogs, so it’s best to check the specific ones required for your pet from the relevant authorities. In most cases, dogs must be vaccinated against distemper, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parvovirus. Cats require vaccines against rhinotracheitis Feline, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.

You then have to request an import authorization from Emirati authorities, more specifically the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, either online or in person if you are already in the UAE. This document must be filled out and submitted before importing your animal as it is valid for only 30 days from the date of issue. Note that each import licence applies to two pets.

You will also require an APHIS Form 7001 and a USDA certificate.

It is important that you check the specific requirements for your country as these may vary. Some countries require more procedures if they are not rabies-free or rabies-controlled. The following is the list of countries that are considered as rabies-free by the United Arab Emirates:

Australia, Austria, Andorra, Aruba, Barbados, Bahrain, Belgium, Comoros, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Falkland Islands, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Malta, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, San Marino, Seychelles, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Vanuatu.

Note that all pets have to arrive into the United Arab Emirates by air at either of these airports:

  • Abu Dhabi Airport
  • El Bateen Airport
  • Ras al Khaimah Airport
  • Dubai Airport
  • Al Ain Airport
  • Sharjah Airport
  • Fujairah Airport
  • Ajman Airport

You are allowed to import a maximum of two pets.   

 Good to know:

  • Pets coming from Europe must not only wear an identification microchip but also hold a pet passport
  • The following dog breeds are not allowed into the country: Pit Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa (Tosa, Tosa Fighting Dog) combat dog Argentine (Dogo Argentino, Argentine Mastiff), Brazilian fighting dog (Brasileino Fila, Brazilian Mastiff), wolf-dog hybrid (any dog mixed with a wolf), American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully breed or hybrid Rottweilers, Doberman, Presa Canario and Boxer
  • Birds cannot be imported into the country, unlike invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and rabbits, provided that they have a health certificate
  • In case your pet is not yet old enough to be vaccinated, it could be prohibited from entering the country

In all cases, you are strongly advised to seek information from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.  

On arrival

Upon its arrival in the United Arab Emirates, your pet will be examined by the customs department. It will also be examined by a licensed veterinarian to whom you will have to produce its health and vaccination certificate.

 Good to know:

The UAE does not impose a quarantine on pets – a great comfort to most expats moving with their furry friends.

 Useful links:

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
Pet Travel

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.