Moving Pets to China
China allows each U.S. citizen entering the country on an employment, or type Z, visa to bring one cat or dog into the country if the animal meets Chinese entry requirements. Families, however, may only bring a total of two pets. Visitors heading to China for a short stay cannot bring pets with them into the country.
All pets entering China from the United States must have proper documentation. Each pet, excluding those under three months old, must have proof of a rabies vaccine given within the last year but at least 30 days before arrival in China. All animals must also travel with an International Health Certificate, available through your veterinarian and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture within a month of your pet’s travel. A copy of your passport and a picture of your pet should also accompany it as it travels to China.
Types of Transport
The most common mode of transporting pets into China is by air. Many airlines allow pets to travel in the underbelly of the plane as cargo or checked baggage for an additional fee, though specific airline requirements vary. Air China, for example, allows passengers to book pets as cargo, ensuring that you both arrive in China at the same time. Alternatively, you can hire a professional pet shipper. The Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International maintains a list of shipping companies that transport pets into China.
All pets entering China must pass through customs and undergo a quarantine period upon arrival, with a fee for quarantining charged to the owner. Typical quarantine periods last for 30 days, though some pet owners, such as those with elderly pets or traveling on a diplomatic visa, may be able to quarantine their pet at home after the pet has been held in a Chinese facility for several days. The International Center for Veterinary Services suggests vaccinating your pet for kennel cough at least two weeks before arrival in China, to reduce its likelihood of contracting the disease while in quarantine.
Once you arrive at your destination city in China and your pet has been released from quarantine, you must register it with the local authorities. Each police office has registration requirements, but all pets must be registered within one month of arrival. The USDA notes that not all Chinese towns consistently regulate pet registration.