Pet Relocation to Hong Kong from the UK

pet relocation to hong kong from the uk

Relocating your pet to Hong Kong from the UK can be a daunting process, but with the right information and preparation, it can be a smooth transition for both you and your furry friend. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about pet relocation to Hong Kong if you’re moving with your pet from the UK. First of all, you must know the import regulations of the country that you’re travelling to. Understanding the necessary vaccinations, quarantine requirements, microchipping, and paperwork is essential to ensure a hassle-free move to the UK. Also, hiring a professional pet travel agent can provide peace of mind by handling logistics and compliance with Hong Kong’s stringent pet import laws. Below, we have explained the pet import regulation in detail.

What You Need To Know

Import Group Classification

The UK is classified as a Group 1 country by Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). This classification indicates that the UK has a low incidence of rabies, simplifying the import process. Pets from Group 1 countries are generally subject to fewer restrictions and may avoid quarantine if all requirements are met. This makes it easier for pet owners in the UK to relocate to Hong Kong, ensuring a smoother transition for their animals. The reduced restrictions reflect the high standard of veterinary care and disease control measures within the UK, providing peace of mind for both the authorities and pet owners.

Microchip and Vaccination Requirements

Before your dog can enter Hong Kong, it must meet specific microchip and vaccination requirements. Upon arrival at the Hong Kong airport, if your dog is over 5 months of age, the government will implant it with an AVID microchip. This microchip is a specific type recognised internationally and particularly in Hong Kong, ensuring your pet can be easily identified. It is also linked to the Hong Kong Dog licenses.

For cat owners, this microchip implantation is not required for cat. However, all pets must still comply with vaccination requirements to enter Hong Kong. For dogs over 5 months old, an additional rabies vaccination is mandatory at the airport upon arrival. This is in additional to the rabies vaccine that must be administered at least 30 days and not more than year before the pet’s arrival in Hong Kong.

Quarantine Requirements 

One of the most significant advantages of relocating a pet from the UK to Hong Kong is the quarantine policy. Pets arriving from Group 1 countries, including the UK, are not required to undergo quarantine if they meet all health and documentation requirements. This exemption from quarantine makes the relocation process significantly less stressful for your pet. In contrast, pets from some other countries must undergo a period of quarantine upon arrival, which can be a stressful and lengthy process.

Transporting Your Pet: Manifest Cargo Only

A critical aspect of relocating your pet to Hong Kong is understanding that pets cannot travel as excess baggage. Instead, they must be transported as manifest cargo. This means your pet will be handled with special care and transported in the cargo hold of the aeroplane. Although this might sound concerning, transporting pets as manifest cargo involves specialised handling to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort throughout the journey. Pets will arrive at the cargo terminal, and while you can be on the same flight, it is not a requirement.

Main Carriers on This Route

British Airways (BA) and Cathay Pacific (CX) are the primary airlines offering pet relocation services from the UK to Hong Kong. Both airlines have extensive experience in handling pets and provide specialised services to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort during the flight. These services include climate-controlled cargo holds, trained staff to handle pets, and protocols to address any issues that might arise during the journey.

Step-by-Step Process for Relocating Your Pet

1. Pre-Travel Preparations

Health Check and Vaccination: Ensure that your pet is up-to-date with all vaccinations, including the rabies vaccine. Schedule a vet appointment to obtain a health certificate that confirms your pet is fit to travel. This certificate is usually required to be issued within 14 days of travel.

Microchip: If your dog does not already have an AVID microchip, arrange for this to be implanted. This microchip will be linked to Hong Kong’s pet identification system. Ferndale can send these chips to your vet in the UK, otherwise it’s okay the chip can just be implanted at the Hk airport by the HK government staff. 

Documentation: Gather all necessary documentation, including vaccination records, health certificates, and import permits from the AFCD.

Booking Flights: Contact British Airways or Cathay Pacific to book your pet’s travel as manifest cargo. Make sure to inform the airline about your pet’s size and any specific needs. This step normally needs a pet relocator to make a cargo booking.

2. Import Permit Application

You must apply for an import permit from the AFCD. This application should include all relevant health documents and details about your pet. It is advisable to apply well in advance, as processing times can vary. Again, normally a pet travel company like Ferndale will arrange this for you as it’s easier to do in person in Hong Kong than remotely. 

3. Preparing for the Journey

Crate Training: Help your pet get used to the travel crate well before the journey. This will reduce stress during travel.

Travel Arrangement: Ensure that the travel crate meets IATA( International Air Transport Association) standards. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

Food and Water: Attach bowls for food and water inside the crate. One good idea is to freeze water in the bowl so it melts slowly during the journey.

4. The Day of Travel

Check-In: Arrive at the cargo terminal with plenty of time for check-in procedures. Ensure all documents are readily available, the crate is securely available, and the crate is securely fastened.

Comfort Items: Place familiar items, such as a blanket, in the crate to provide comfort for your pet during the journey. Toys are not allowed as potential choke hazards and the airline dislikes items that could have things hidden inside them as Customs would have to x-ray them or remove them.

5. Arrival in Hong Kong

Customs Clearance: Upon arrival, your pet will be transported to the cargo terminal, where customs clearance will take place. Ensure you have all the required documentation for inspection by AFCD officers.

Microchip and Vaccination: If your dog is over 5 months old, the AVID microchip will be implanted, and an additional rabies vaccination injection will be administered at the airport.

Home Transport: Arrange for safe transportation from the cargo terminal to your new home. Consider using a pet transport service for all of these arrival steps in the final leg to ensure your pet’s comfort and safety.

Benefits of Using a Pet Travel Agent

Navigating the complexities of pet relocation can be overwhelming. A pet travel agent can simplify the process and provide peace of mind. Here are some benefits of using a pet travel agent.

Expertise and Experience

Pet travel agents have the expertise and experience to navigate the complex requirements of international pet relocation. They can handle all the paperwork, health certificates, and import permits required for your pet to enter Hong Kong.

Stress Reduction

Using a pet travel agent reduces the stress on both you and your pet. These professionals manage the logistics, ensuring that everything is in place for a smooth relocation. This includes coordinating with airlines, arranging for transport crates, and ensuring all vaccinations and microchips are up to date.

Compliance with Regulations

Pet travel agents are well-versed in the regulations and requirements for pet relocation. They ensure that all documentation is accurate and submitted on time, reducing the risk of delays or issues upon arrival in Hong Kong.


Relocating your pet to Hong Kong from the UK involves careful planning and adherence to specific regulations. By understanding the import requirements, preparing all necessary documentation, and choosing the right transportation method, you can ensure a smooth transition for your pet. Utilising the services of a pet travel agent can further ease the process, ensuring that every aspect of your pet’s relocation is handled professionally and with care.

Moving with a pet can be challenging, but with the right preparation and support, you can ensure that your furry friend arrives safely and comfortably in the new home in Hong Kong.

Frequently Asked Question

What is the AVID microchip?

The AVID microchip is a specific brand of microchip used to identify pets. It is recognized internationally and is required for all dogs in Hong Kong over 5 months of age.

Do I need an import permit for my pet?

Yes, an import permit issued by the AFCD is required for all pets entering Hong Kong.

How long is the rabies vaccination valid?

For entry into Hong Kong, the rabies vaccination must be administered at least 30 days and not more than one year before your pet's arrival.

Can my pet travel in the cabin with me?

No, pets must be transported as manifest cargo and cannot travel in the cabin or as excess baggage.

Will my pet need to be quarantined?

Pets from the UK, a Group 1 country, generally do not need to be quarantined if all health and documentation requirements are met.