We're Here to Help
We've moved pets ourselves and have helped numerous families bring pets into and out of China. Please contact us should you have any questions regarding pet travel to/from Shenzhen or Hong Kong.
Bringing Pets to Shenzhen, China (from America)
As fellow expats often ask how I was able to move my dog to Shenzhen without the use of a professional pet-moving company, I have put together a basic fact sheet. I moved from the United States to Shenzhen, so this step-by-step guide may not be applicable to all other pet owners, but hopefully it will be a great place to start.
1. Apply for a permit to fly your pet into Hong Kong. This can be done through their website. They also provide a free service that checks all your documents ahead of time. (See below for Hong Kong Import Permit Application)
2. Once the permit is approved, you can book your pet in "manifest cargo" on an airline. We used United but Cathay Pacific flies pets in cargo too. The pet has to be transported as cargo, not excess baggage, so you have to use the cargo booking agents, not the passenger booking agents. http://www.unitedcargo.com/utilities/contactus.jsp
3. Get an airline approved kennel. Depending on which airline you use, the requirements will be different. Most notably, the kennel has to be much bigger than the animal, be screwed together instead of clipped, and have ventilation on all sides. But check with the airline for their specific requirements.
4. Have a USDA accredited vet complete the Hong Kong Health Certificate and the USDA Health Certificate. The vet that completes these forms has to be a USDA accredited vet (not to be confused with the USDA port vet that will endorse both forms 2 days before your trip). You can email the USDA to see if your vet is accredited, but they don't provide lists of accredited vets. Most big vet offices have at least one USDA accredited vet or know where you can find one. ( See below for the Health Certificates)
USDA email: VSCA2@aphis.usda.gov
Note: The pet has to have a microchip and this number has to be recorded on each form. The pet also has to have updated vaccines (distemper and rabies) to have the health forms completed.
5. Two days before your trip, have the USDA port vet endorse both health forms.This requires an appointment and the pet does not have to be present, just the forms. To find the USDA port vet nearest you:
6. Make multiple copies of the completed forms and all of the pet's vaccination records.
7. Once the pet arrives you'll pick him/her up at the HK airport cargo terminal. They are nice and professional and will let you comfort your pet and make sure he/she is okay. A customs agent will then lock the kennel and accompany you to the border crossing. You have to arrange for you, your pet's and the custom agent's transportation to the China border but the Hong Kong customs department can provide a list of transportation agency phone numbers that will transport pets. Make the arrangements before your flight!
8. Once at the border, provide a copy of the Hong Kong Import Permit and Hong Kong Health Certificate. That's all they wanted from me. Our driver even suggested that we not provide any other proof or documents at all, because this tends to confuse the agents on the Chinese side and creates a higher likelihood that they will reject your pet. (It seemed as if there were no set rules for import on the China side and entry was based upon the custom agent's discretion).
9. Be sure to bring a letter from your landlord stating that it's ok to have pets at your house.
10. Once in Shenzhen, you have to apply for a license through the city police. The license costs 300rmb and takes approximately a month to process.
Taking Pets Out of China (Exporting)
Judy has lived in Shenzhen for over 15 years and has run her dog rescue for nearly as many. She loves all animals-- except snakes-- and has a soft spot for dogs. She has helped more than 20 families move pets from Shenzhen to their home country, many of which were dogs from her own rescue.