Quarantine procedures when moving to Australia, New Zealand, or Malaysia

Cat & Dog quarantine procedures in Australia, New Zealand & Malaysia


Moving abroad with pets can often be a complicated and time-consuming process. In most countries, the main concern of importing or exporting animals is the potential transmission of diseases – the spreading of rabies and Avian influenza being the biggest concern. Each and every country has different rules and regulations in place with regards to bringing pets into the country, as well as quarantine procedures. However, most countries require certified rabies vaccination certificates.

Since a significant percentage of people who leave Hong Kong travel to either Australia, New Zealand, or Malaysia, (which all have quarantine requirements) these are the countries quarantine procedures that we will be focusing on in this article. Requirements may differ from country to country, so it’s always important to understand the requirements of the specific country that you are relocating to.

Here’s an overview of quarantine procedures.

Microchip and vaccinations

Australia has some of the more strict policies in place and will require a significant amount of time and preparation. At least 210 days before departure from Hong Kong, pets should have microchip identification implanted. Also, multiple tests are required, which will typically result in 4-5 vet visits. The vet should check the RNAT test laboratory report and rabies vaccination certificate, and then complete, sign, and stamp the declaration. A rabies titer test should also be administered – and this must be done after the microchip has been implanted.

New Zealand requires a 180-day preparation period, meaning that pets will need to be microchipped 180 days prior to arrival in the country. A rabies vaccination, rabies antibody test, and parasite treatment is also mandatory. The rabies antibody test must be administered at a set time after the rabies vaccination.

When travelling to Malaysia, pets are required to be vaccinated for rabies between 30 days and 12 months before entering into the country. A vaccination certificate showing all routine vaccinations from the vet is necessary. Malaysia doesn’t request a rabies titer test (RNAT).

Entering into the country

When entering any of these countries, all domestic cats and dogs must be found to be free of disease when put through examination at the entry port. If your pet doesn’t appear to be in good health, further examination may be required by a licensed vet – at your own expense.

Pets flying into Australia must enter via Melbourne Airport. If there’s no direct flight from the country of origin, then all transits must be via DAFF certified countries. When travelling to New Zealand by air, pets must enter through Auckland and Christchurch. Wellington is no longer a pet entry point. Lastly, all pets travelling to Malaysia that require quarantine, must enter at either Kuala Lumpur International Airport, l Senai International Airport in Jahore, Labuan International Airport, Labuan F.T. or Bayan Lepas International Airport in Penang. Quarantine reservations must be made at least two weeks prior to arrival.


All pets entering both Australia and New Zealand are subject to a minimum of 10-days in the quarantine facility. You will need to make reservations at the particular facility for your pet once you receive their import permit. To qualify for the minimum 10-day quarantine duration in New Zealand, the rabies antibody test should be administered at least three months before entering the country.

Pets entering Malaysia will be put in quarantine for a minimum of 7 days. Furthermore, they might be vaccinated using approved anti-rabies vaccines, and will be allowed to leave if deemed free of any type of infection. However, if needed, the quarantine duration could be extended to up to six months, based on risk assessment that is determined on a case-by-case basis. Malaysia quarantine, you need to request AC facility if you want AC, and you need to pay a private agent to enter the facility to clean the room and feed the pets as this is not covered in the Government charges.

Other things to note

All dogs entering New Zealand must have two treatments against internal and external parasites within 30 days of entering the country and the second treatment must be at least two weeks after the first treatment and within four days of travel for internal parasites and within 48 hours of travel for external parasites.

As for import permits, regulations also differ slightly. You should apply for a New Zealand import permit at a set time in advance. For Australia, you can apply for an import permit after the initial rabies titer test and no sooner than 42 days of import. Lastly, when going to Malaysia, your pet must have an Import License issued by the Director General of Veterinary Services or the Director of the State Veterinary Department. A registered agent can apply for this license. The document is valid for 30 days after the date of issuance.

As you can see, the need or not Quarantine for pets and the other rules and regulations are very country-specific and vary in many ways from country to country. Please contact Ferndale Kennels to aid you with your move.

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