If you’re moving to Hong Kong with a dog, it’s important (both for official reasons and for your own peace of mind) to understand exactly what the process entails. After all, the welfare of the furry members of the family is just as important as that of the 2-legged ones.
Hong Kong is incredibly dog friendly. In fact, at times it can seem like everyone owns a dog. There are lots of green open areas you can walk (try Shek O Country Park and The Peak), and many of the beaches (including Sha Ha) are areas where your dog can run and swim. Many restaurants and cafes are also happy for your dog to come too.
7 Easy Steps to Bring your Dog to Hong Kong
The following includes all the current requirements (as of March 2016) that you need to know to bring your dog into the country. Of course, official rulings for importing your dog to Hong Kong can change at any time.
When planning your move, it’s essential to ensure that any information you get is totally up to date. This can be found on the official Hong Kong Government website.
1. Check That Your Dog is not on the ‘Banned Breed’ List
Certain breeds of dogs are banned from Hong Kong. These are:
- Pit Bull Terrier (also known as the American Staffordshire Terrier)
- Japanese Tosa,
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Braziliero
This includes cross breeds too.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are allowed into the country. However, they must have a statutory declaration stating the authenticity of the breed.
2. Ensure Your Dog is Microchipped and Vaccinated
This microchip must contain either 9 or 15 numbers, and for ease, should be able to be read by a universal scanner (one that is encrypted). If the chip cannot be read by these scanners, you’ll be required to bring your own.
Vaccinations vary depending on which country you’re coming from. All dogs must have the following vaccinations:
- Canine distemper
- Canine hepatitis
- Canine parvovirus
Rabies is necessary for any dog coming from a group 2 country (see below), and recommended for those coming from a group 1 country.
This vaccination must be carried out between 30 days and 12 months prior to entry to Hong Kong. Dogs from a country not on either of these lists will be quarantined for 4 months on arrival. Animals must not be vaccinated prior to 90 days of age.
Group 1 countries: United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Japan.
Group 2 countries: Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Island, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guam, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, Norway, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States (continental), Vanuatu and the Virgin Islands.
3. Obtain an Import Permit
You cannot bring any animal into Hong Kong without an official import permit, which can be acquired from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong. One is needed per dog and is valid for 6 months.
4. Ensure Your Dog has the Correct Certificates
Dogs entering from a group 1 country will need a certificate stating they have lived in the country for at least 180 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong.
Those from group 2 countries need the same certificate, but in addition, it needs to state that the 10km area around where they have lived has not reported any cases of rabies within the last 180 days.
All dogs need a pet passport to enter the country. This must be filled in no later than 14 days after arrival in Hong Kong, by an accredited veterinary surgeon. In addition, the certificate should be endorsed by the governing body responsible for the import and export of animals in your country.
5. Captain’s Affidavit
All dogs need a signed statement from the airline used stating they have not left their crate whilst travelling or been in contact with any other animals. For those who transit through another country, it must also state that they have not left the cargo area of the airport.
Dogs must enter through Hong Kong International Airport if coming in by air. Ensure that the flight is as direct as possible, and that it doesn’t transit through any high rabies countries. Transit permits might be needed if your dog changes aircraft or is in transit for more than 6 hours. An import permit is needed if you’re bringing your dog in from mainland China.
In addition, the duty officer of the import and export section at the airport must be notified a minimum of 24 hours prior to your dog arriving.
Puppies less than 5 months old are not allowed into Hong Kong. Those travelling from a group 2 country must have the relevant vaccinations no less than 30 days prior to arrival.
7. Get Your Dog License
Once your dog has arrived safely, it’s the law to obtain a dog license. To get your dog licensed will cost $HK 80, and you’ll need to take your Hong Kong ID card and your dog to an AFDC management center.
All the relevant forms mentioned above can be downloaded from the AFDC of Hong Kong’s official website. If you’re coming in from overseas, the fee should be paid by a bank draft in HK dollars.
The above might sound complicated, but it’s actually a commonly carried out procedure and as long as you ensure all the steps are covered, it’s pretty straightforward. There are also plenty of professional animal import and export companies who’ll carry out all the paperwork and official stuff for you. These include, Pet Relocation and Fly Pets.
Airlines can also give up-to-date information about transporting your dog. They will also tell you the minimum crate requirements that your dog needs to travel in. Good luck, and soon both your and your beloved dog will be enjoying the dog friendly Hong Kong lifestyle – have fun.