Published On: November 7th, 2023Categories: RelocationTags: ,

How to Move a Pet Overseas

How to Move a Pet Overseas

Moving abroad doesn’t mean you have to leave your furry friends behind. Aside from the island of Bali in Indonesia, you can bring your cat or dog anywhere you’re moving. So how do you get them there? It depends on the size of the pet and where you’re going. Here are some options.

Flying in Cargo

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You can fly your pet in cargo, which is a temperature-controlled section called the hold of the plane. Only non-brachycephalic animals can fly this way, and they need specific hard-sided kennels.

While statistics show that this option is safe, they don’t track stress or trauma, including my own stress worrying about my babies in the belly of the plane or in the hands of distracted airport employees.

Pet relocation services can handle the logistics of moving pets this way, and pet nannies can accompany your pet on the journey, but they can’t go in the hold. Most of what they provide is help with logistics and paperwork.

Personally, I would not send my pet in cargo except under extreme circumstances, and pet relocation services are very pricy to not add any more comfort or safety to your pet’s flight.

Flying in Cabin

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If your pet is small, they may be able to fly in the cabin of the plane with you. Usually their soft-sided carrier becomes your carry-on bag.

How large of a pet you can fly in-cabin depends on the airline. Some of the most permissive airlines include JSX, with flights to Mexico (even for large dogs out of carrier); La Compagnie, with flights to France; and Alaska Airlines, with flights to the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Flying Charter

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The most expensive but reliable way to get pets from one country to another is by private jet. The prices can be astronomical, but some people get together to split costs for popular routes. The Facebook group Chartered Air Travel with Pets helps people meet and coordinate flights. A new company called Skye Pet Travel out of Australia also arranges chartered flights for pets and will soon add the United States.

Ocean Liner

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One of the most affordable options for Americans moving cats or dogs to Europe is to take a transatlantic ocean liner with onboard kennel. Cunard cruises leaving from New York City offer this option, although some breeds are not permitted due to size: Afghan, Curly Coated Retriever, Bloodhound, Gordon Setter, Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound), Great Dane, Briard, Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, Irish Setter, Mastiff, Deerhound, Newfoundland, Doberman, Pyrenees, St. Bernard, Saluki, Weimaraner, Bull Mastiff and Malamute.

For more info, email kennels@cunard.com or call (800) 728-6273. Sadly, pets can’t stay in your cabin or have run of the ship.

Driving

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Some American emigrants (like us!) move to countries within driving distance to make it easier to bring their pets. It can be an affordable, fun adventure, and it has some additional benefits, like being able to load up your car with belongings and bring both to your new home.

Traveling to Canada is straight-forward, and although driving across Mexico is perfectly safe for millions of travelers, it’s good to educate yourself on current issues along your journey. The Facebook group On the Road in Mexico is a place to get the latest news and recommended routes or find people to convoy with to your destination.

There are also many reputable companies in Mexico who can drive you and/or your pets across the country. Check the group above or expat groups for recommendations.

You can also drive beyond Mexico, all the way to Argentina!

Paperwork

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The paperwork required depends on the country you’re moving to. Many require a USDA-APHIS form, while Mexico just inspects your pet at the border or airport. Countries may require rabies shots, rabies test, other vaccinations, parasite treatments, or microchips. If you’re moving to the European Union, your new vet in Europe will issue your pet a passport for travel around the EU.

Note: the rules that apply to pets arriving from the United States will be different for pets arriving from other countries as they’re based on prevalence of disease in that country. The U.S. is considered to be rabies-controlled.

Service Animals

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While airlines will let you fly with your service dog that complies with ADA guidelines, be aware that most countries treat your service dog as a pet and require the same documentation to enter the country. Airlines no longer allow emotional support animals to fly, and they don’t allow service animals other than dogs.

Countries that Quarantine

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According to Travelnuity, a few countries and territories may quarantine your imported pets, but it’s not the broad list of yesteryear:

  • Australia
  • Fiji
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Taiwan

What a Pittie: 41 Countries Where Pit Bulls Aren’t Welcome

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Americans love their pit bulls, giving the breed affectionate nicknames like pittie or pibble. If you want to take yours abroad, here are countries and territories where they’re restricted or not allowed:

What a Pittie: 41 Countries Where Pit Bulls Aren’t Welcome

Vacation vs Scouting Trip: What’s the Difference?

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Expatsi is hosting a scouting trip to Portugal and Spain for our group members in March. “So you’re taking them on vacation?” people ask us. “Not exactly,” we tell them. Vacations focus on having fun and relaxation, while scouting trips help people find a new home when looking to move abroad.

It’s a tricky divide between the two paths. Here’s how a scouting trip looks different than a vacation:

Vacation vs Scouting Trip: What’s the Difference?

Thinking About Moving to a Safer Country? Here Are the Top 25 Options

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What are the safest countries in the world? The Legatum Prosperity Index (LPI), an annual ranking system that measures nations on a dozen measures of social progress, guides us to finding the answers. Where does the U.S. fall on the list?

Thinking About Moving to a Safer Country? Here Are the Top 25 Options

How to Leave America: 6 Steps to Your New Life

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Are you thinking about leaving the United States? You’re not alone; as many as 15% percent of Americans say they want to leave the country permanently.

➤ How to Leave America: 6 Steps to Your New Life

Jen Barnett Expatsi
Co-founder at Expatsi | Website | + posts

Jen is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps Americans move abroad. She created the Expatsi Test, an assessment that recommends countries for aspiring emigrants based on lifestyle data. Jen has an MBA from Emory University with concentrations in marketing and innovation. She's written for BusinessWeek, Health, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Prior to Expatsi, she created Freshfully and Bottle & Bone—two businesses in the local food space—and spoke at TEDx on being brave. She's moving to Mexico in 2024, along with her husband and co-founder Brett, pitbull mix Squiggy, and three rotten cats. How can she help you move abroad?

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Banner Affiliates Expatsi 10Disc 1080x1080 1 jpg
Jen Barnett Expatsi
Co-founder at Expatsi | Website | + posts

Jen is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps Americans move abroad. She created the Expatsi Test, an assessment that recommends countries for aspiring emigrants based on lifestyle data. Jen has an MBA from Emory University with concentrations in marketing and innovation. She's written for BusinessWeek, Health, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Prior to Expatsi, she created Freshfully and Bottle & Bone—two businesses in the local food space—and spoke at TEDx on being brave. She's moving to Mexico in 2024, along with her husband and co-founder Brett, pitbull mix Squiggy, and three rotten cats. How can she help you move abroad?