Your Guide To Moving With Pets In United Arab Emirates
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Your Guide To Moving With Pets In United Arab Emirates

Moving any country with a pet can be a bit of a nightmare. Where do you start? What do you need to know? Relax as UMI has done all of the leg work for you. Take a look at our guide to moving with pets in UAE.

Your Guide To Moving With Pets In United Arab Emirates

Relocating with your pets to another country can seem like a stressful idea, but follow these rules and you can avoid any unnecessary trouble on moving day. There are many factors that need to be considered carefully when moving with pets long-distance, all of which are explained in this straightforward, step-by-step process.

It's important to research the rules and regulations concerning pets for the country you'll be entering as thoroughly as possible. Is there a quarantined period of time that must be met upon entering that particular country? How will your pet be secured and safe during its travel on the plane? And if there's more than one pet, your first thought may be to have them travel within the carrier together, but be aware that this isn't necessarily a good idea. Pets transported together have a tendency to become fearful and anxious, and possibly even to attack one another, due to the stress of being in a confined space with another animal for an extended period of time.

There are plenty of other tasks in your to-do list. You'll need to ask yourself, how can you prove that your pet has been a citizen within your state or country for the requisite length of time? What type of license and microchipping will be required from the country you plan to enter, and dores your pet conform to these standards? You'll need to contact your government official in your home country to be granted permission for your pet to leave, and you should also inquire about any hidden costs that may occur upon your entrance to the new country. Make sure you find out the length of time you'll need to have between shots for your pet, and how long is it until the governmental paperwork expires. All of these questions need to be considered well before the journey is actually undertaken.

Remember to consider the laws in the country concerning animals, the quarantine period they'll need to undergo, regulations regarding the conditions the pet ought to travel in, and the vaccinations they'll need to obtain. It's enough to make your head spin, but the process can be handled without undue stress as long as the proper preparation and research is done well in advance of your relocation.

Pets in the UAE

Fortunately, moving a pet to the United Arab Emirates is a relatively painless process in comparison to other countries. The good news is that there is no quarantine period - unlike places like Australia, where your pet would be quarantined for approximately six months! Below is a simple breakdown of the answers, and some extra advice to help you and your pet make the transition as painlessly as possible.

Forbidden Pets

Before embarking on the plan of transporting your pet to the UAE, you should check if your pet is even allowed into the country, or, indeed, allowed to fly. Unfortunately, there are restrictions on the types of dogs that are permitted. It would be such a shame to go through all the hassle only to discover that your pet is the wrong breed, and that the United Arab Emirates denies entry. Snub-nosed dogs and cats, moreover, may not be allowed on certain airlines or long flights because the breeds tend to have breathing difficulties and a tendency to overheat. The reasoning behind this restriction is that between “2005-2010, half of in-flight animal deaths were snub-nosed pets”. So, let’s go over the types of dogs not allowed into the country or even on the plane.

Dogs denied entrance include; Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, Fila Brasileiros, Argentinean Mastiffs, Brazilian Mastiffs, Dogo Argentinos, Japanese Tosas, Tosa Inus, Tosa Fighting Dogs, Wolf hybrids, or crossbreeds of any of these breeds. Moreover, snub-nosed dog breeds that are also not allowed to travel to the UAE include the Boston Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Affenpinscher, Boxer (all breeds), Brussels Griffon, Bull Dog (all breeds), Bull Terrier, Cane Corso, Chow Chow, Dogo Argentino, Dogue De Bordeaux, English Toy Spaniel, Japanese Spaniel (Chin), Lhasa Apso, Mastiff (all breeds), Pekingese, Presa Canario, Pug (Aal breeds), Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, and Tibetan Spaniel.

Cats denied entry include the Burmese, Exotic, Himalayan and Persian breeds. It's worth bearing in mind that some airlines will allow certain breeds that other airlines won’t, so research the airline to ensure your pet is allowed, or if there are extra charges for your particular breed.

In addition, as cute as your baby pet may be, if your animal is under four months old, they'll have to stay put and can't travel, as neither the UAE nor any airline will permit the transportation of “newborn” kittens or puppies.

UAE Pet Permits

There maybe no quarantine for your pet, but still, before importing any animal to the UAE, one must obtain advance permission from the United Arab Emirates Ministry within 30 days of entering the country. This seems easy enough, but there are two ministries you'll find when searching for the permit online. You can contact either:

United Arab Emirates Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries or United Arab Emirates Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) (P.O. Box 213, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Phone: +971 02 4444740 or 800 3050, email: [email protected]) to get started.

As with most countries, the application process for the UAE contains numerous requests and a few important official documents. First and foremost, one must provide a valid UAE residence visa. If that's not possible yet, a proof of employment along with copy of a valid passport is sufficient. Expats are also required to provide vaccination records and a rabies certificate from a licensed veterinary for each pet, proving that the animal has received a rabies vaccination within a certain time frame; in the UAE's case, “no more than eleven months or 330 days, and no less than one month or 30 days”, is a phrase worth remembering. Also, note that if your pet’s records and/or certificates are handwritten, they must be signed by your veterinarian, and having these records notarized is a good idea to help prove their validity. In addition, the government also requires copies of each pet’s medical history accompanied by a letter from the vet certifying that your pet is in good health – this is known as a Good Health Certificate. Next, these documents must be authenticated by your home country’s government; for example, if coming from the United States, approval must be given by Department of Agriculture office of the state to which your passport pertains.

Microchipping Requirements

This step can be very tricky if directions are not followed explicitly. The UAE, like almost every other country, requires that all dogs and cats relocating to the country have a microchip for the animal’s tracking and identity, and for the public’s safety. The UAE stipulates that the serial number of the microchip must be on the vaccination card and signed by the veterinarian that implants it. They're very strict on that, and there are many different kinds of microchip, so it's imperative that you triple-check the type of transmitter used by your local vet before purchasing it; you'll discover that the ISO or bar coding has to be 11784 or 11785. It's crucial that this complies with UAE standards, or your pet will be chipped with the wrong device and may not be allowed in the UAE. This could be a costly mistake, requiring either a flight back for your pet, a new microchip implanted at customs, the purchase of a scanner for your pet if it's the wrong chip, and/or a fine. Avoiding this added stress is simple. Just take your time and make sure it's the right microchip - if it's not readily available, find out how to get it ordered.

How Pets Travel

This may be a heart-tugging realization, but as with most countries and airlines, flying a pet into the UAE requires that animals travel as manifested cargo. Your animal must be contained within an airline-approved kennel, and its crate should have a water funnel and provide space for the animal to stand up completely and turn around fully. No food is allowed in with the animal while in the airline’s custody for their own protection, in order to prevent choking. Therefore, it's necessary to feed your pet prior to checking it in for the flight. Try to make as few connecting flights as possible, so that your pet is in their cage for the least amount time of possible to avoid unnecessary stress. Remember - direct is best.

It's also a good idea to provide the airline with two copies of your pet’s permit. One copy should be attached to the pet’s cage, and one should go to the airline as soon as the flight is booked. To put your mind at ease during the flight, keep an additional copy of the pet's vaccination records, Good Health Certificate, flight information and import permit with you during the whole process.

Laws Regarding Pets

There's good news for expats bringing pets into the UAE, which is that over the past few years, it has become an increasingly dog-friendly community. Don’t get too excited, though, because it's not quite the same as back home. There are rigid rules pet owners are required to obey; break them, and you'll receive a hefty fine.

First, upon registration when entering the UAE, an identity tag is issued to your pet, which is required to be attached to the pet’s collar at all times. This tag provides the proof that the authorities need that the pet has been microchipped, vaccinated, and legally registered to be in the UAE. Failure to produce this tag will result in the dog being impounded, and there'll be a stiff fine for the owner. Secondly, there are some stern rules that limit where pets can be walked, and how both owner and pet are to behave in public. The owner must be diligent about tidying up after their pet in public or get stuck, as before, with a nasty fine. This includes cleaning up your pet's urine and feces, and sorting out damage the animal may have done. Paying attention to these rules will make life for you and your pet in the UAE much more pleasant during your settling-in period in the UAE.

Added Advice

Being an expat myself, and having moved with my two dogs across the world has given me vital knowledge through experience. These are tips I wish I'd had the benefit of prior to the move:

  • Buy the crate about a month prior to the move. This gives your pet a chance to get comfortable with it. Also, put a bed, blanket or something else your pet cherishes in the cage so the animal has your scent – it'll help to calm your pet while in flight.
  • Like us, pets need to use the toilet before long trips. Walking them before checking them in on the flight will give them the chance to relieve themselves and tire them out before the journey.
  • As the likelihood is that your flight will be a reasonably long one, you might be tempted to overfeed your pet. Instead, just feed them the normal amount they're accustomed to, to avoid the risk of getting sick while in flight.
  • When you pick your pet up once you've landed in the UAE, bring your pet some food and treats so they'll have something to eat after the long flight.
  • Adding your name, phone number and your pet's name on an extra piece of paper taped to the crate can give you peace of mind whilst the plane is in flight. Also, it's a good idea to attach a note stating that no-one except yourself should open the cage. This may sound odd, but this actually happened to me, meaning that my dog almost escaped when someone released him too early!
  • Sedation of your pet prior to the journey is not necessarily recommended, although I personally found that it helped to soothe my dogs, as they get stressed easily. In order to decide, talk to your vet and make the decision on what is best for your pet together.
  • Find a vet and an emergency vet in the UAE before the move. This is the one piece of advice I really wish I'd had; during my journey my dog experienced an unexpected allergic reaction, and an emergency vet was required to come to the airport at midnight. It's best to be prepared!
  • If your pet has allergies that you know about, try to have some antihistamine, or any prescribed medication that it may need, at hand.
  • Have extra money on hand in case new expenses – such as paying for an emergency vet, or unexpected permits – arise.
  • Have the telephone number for your airlines cargo department in the UAE handy, just in case.

As long as you follow this guide, you should be prepared for every eventuality in the process of transporting your pets to the UAE. This doesn't have to be a stressful time; being well-organized and prepared for anything will make the move smooth and trouble-free for you and your beloved pet. Prepare well, and then sit back and enjoy the flight, safe in the knowledge that you and your pet are both safely on the way to a new adventure in the UAE.


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