As the proud mother of a 10lb, almost 14-year-old fuzzy baby (who just happens to be an Italian greyhound), I like to have my "son" with me as much as possible. He, however, hates flying — even short-haul 1.5-hour flights to visit his "grandparents" — and so I would consider my options before I would subject him to an overseas flight. However, for those who are relocating and whose pets are not as particular as mine, the idea of bringing Fido or Fluffy may be appealing.
Here are some preliminary things to keep in mind if you are considering bringing your pet:
Note: Information below is subject to change.
For general information about shipping your pet (e.g., kennel selection, dealing with the airline, recommendations for traveling), see the International Air Transport Association's Travelers' Pet Corner.
In the case of dogs, technically, only guard, hunting, and service (e.g., seeing eye) dogs are allowed into Saudi Arabia, so you must successfully claim that your dog is one of these.
Otherwise, this is the procedure for Saudi Arabia:
United Arab Emirates:
If you want to make things easy, there are veterinary clinics/kennels that help with documentation and internal logistics of pet relocation for the UAE. Examples in Abu Dhabi include the American Veterinary Clinic, the British Veterinary Centre, and the German Veterinary Clinic. In Dubai, for example, there is the Dubai Kennels and Cattery. These are members of the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International, Inc.
In general, to import a pet you will need an import permit issued by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water. Whether you are obtaining the import permit yourself, or using a service, such as those mentioned above, the documentation required for this permit includes:
It takes the Ministry three ministry working days to process the import permit; the Ministry is closed Friday and Saturday. The validity of this permit is 30 days from the date of issue. It costs approximately AED200 (US$54.50).
Note that when entering the UAE, the Ministry has stated that all pets must travel as manifested cargo, i.e., pets cannot be in the cabin with you.
In order to clear your pet through customs, you will need the original import permit (as mentioned above), along with the pet's original vaccination records and health certificate (from the country of origin). The health certificate must be issued by a veterinarian, and be endorsed by the relevant government ministry of the exporting country's national government. (Canada, see: Canada Food Inspection Agency - Dog and Cat Exports; USA, see: United States Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.) The certificate must state that the animal has been examined within seven days of export and found to be free of clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease and is fit to travel. The certificate should show the species, breed, age, and the identification number of the animal (microchip or tattoo) and the name and address of the importer.
If you are not using a service, which will pick up and deliver your pet in the UAE, you will have to make your own arrangements to clear customs at the cargo terminal. It normally takes two to three hours to clear customs after the flight has landed. You will need to pay AED200 (US$54.50) to clear the veterinary department at the airport. They accept payment only with an e-dirham card, and these cards are available only in the UAE (another reason why it may be a good idea to use a service, unless you have friends in the UAE, or your pet is traveling after you). There are other charges at each stage of the clearing process. These will need to be paid in cash (AED).
To make things easy, you may want to contact a pet relocator. There are relocators and veterinary clinics/kennels that help with documentation and internal logistics of pet relocation for Qatar. Two examples include: Qatar Pet Relocators and Doha Pet Relocators.
Qatar's Ministry of Environment's Department of Animal Resources is in charge of animal control and veterinary supervision of animal diseases. The department issues import permits, and oversees the exportation, transfer and transit of pets across borders.
To obtain an import license, visit one of the Department of Animal Resources' veterinary clinics on Al Matar Street, Al Rayyan or Al Shamal. Fill out an import request form and bring the following documents:
To be eligible, the pet must be more then four months old, and must have had its vaccinations at least 30 days before the date of travel.
The import permit is valid for one month. Authorized pets may be imported as cargo or excess baggage -- they CANNOT ride in the cabin with you. The Doha International Airport keeps incoming animals at a special facility before they clear customs.
Note that currently, the following breeds are banned, thus not permitted in Qatar: American Staffordshire Terrier; Boerboel; Boston Terrier; Boxer; Bull Terrier; Bulldog; Chinese Shar-Pei; Doberman; Great Dane; Japanese Akita; Neapolitan Mastiff; Afghan Hound; Rottweiler; Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Note: Qatar's e-government site states, "Dog are generally not allowed in public places, including parks and the Corniche. Dogs are allowed on some beaches, provided that they are leashed at all times."
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