Pet Relocation - UK to Abu Dhabi

Pet relocation to the UAE is quite straight forward and low stress on your pets due to the resonably relaxed quarantine requirements on arrival.

Your pet is likely to travel door to door, without having to spend too long in any strange environments, which is a relief to pets and owners.

Unfortunately, it is probably not the case if you choose to return 'home' with your pet. The UK, for example is far more strict on Pets entering (and even 're-entering' the country).

We relocated our two burmese pet cats to Abu Dhabi from the UK in 2010. 

Here are the requirements and costings we researched at the time.

Please note that these are just a guide. 

Prices and regulations change, so do your homework with both your local vet and the destination clinics and embassy before you commit to relocating your pets.

Pet Relocation, Export Requirements (guideline only)

If you choose to organise the relocation of your pets yourself you will need to sort out the following:
  • Flight costs
  • Crate requirements and costing
Here is an example of the export costs (not including certificates and vets costs prior to flying).
Description Charge
Freight GBP 414.75
Packing IATA Air Shared Crate GBP 125.00
Processing GBP 65.00
Agency Fee AVI Special Care GBP 45.00
Export Airline Handling GBP 25.00
Fuel Surcharge GBP 17.50
X-Ray Security Fee GBP 15.00
War Risk Surcharge GBP 3.15
Total  GBP 710.40

These figures can be confirmed by your local pet relocation company - check the yellow pages or google for your area.

  • You will need to complete an application form (to the airline/export company) which your vet will complete.
  • Your vet will also provide a specimen export health certificate - guidance notes will be provided as each form has a certain window in terms of timelimits.

It is worth noting that it is the responsibility of the exporter (not your vet) to make sure that all export requirements stated on the notes for guidance/support documents are met.

You should also contact the destination country to establish if there are any additional requirements. 

For more info on your destination countries pet import requirements contact the appropriate Embassies or Consulates.

UK pet export and import requirements information can be found on the Defra UK website.
Once you have organised the export side of things, you need to confirm and pay a deposit for the import of your pet into the UAE by doing the following....

Pet Relocation, Import Requirements 

(guideline only)

Your pet must be a minimum of 4 months of age to enter the UAE. 

At 3 months of age, your pet can receive a rabies vaccine and must then wait for a month before applying for the UAE Import Permit from the UAE Ministry.

To enter the UAE,  your pet requires an import permit issued from the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water. 

To process/obtain this import permit the receiving party (vet clinic or shipping company representative) will require the following :

  1. Copy of valid Rabies vaccination and annual combination vaccination. If the pet has never been vaccinated before, the vaccination must be older than 30 days and younger than 12 months.
  2. Microchip number (should be ISO standardized, and  readable with an ISO standard reader).
  3. Full pet details (date of birth, sex, color, breed, etc.)
  4. Copy of your passport and UAE residence visa if available.
  5. Address and phone number - in the UAE and your country of origin.
  6. Payment – most vet clinics or shipping companies will require a minimum 50% deposit in advance, with the balance being paid upon completing the service.

Required vaccines for our Cats
  • Rabies
  • Annual combination vaccine includes:  Feline Pan Leukcopenia (FPV), Feline Rhinotrachitics (FHV – 1), Feline Calicivirus.

It takes approximately 3 ministry working days to process a UAE import permit, which is valid for 30 days from the date of issue.

To clear your pet at the UAE airport (customs and veterinary department) the following documents are required:

  1. The original UAE import permit.
  2. The original vaccine documents.
  3. The original ministry health certificate from the country of origin.  Health certificates are only valid for 10 days, and must therefore be issued within 10 days of arrival in the UAE.

Your Pet must not travel to the UAE as excess baggage or as hand baggage in the cabin.  UAE law state that pets must arrive in the UAE as manifest cargo.

A Local UAE Vet Clinic Service (not including local export requirements or flights):

  • Processing / acquiring the UAE import permit.
  • UAE airport collection and clearance (customs and veterinary department).
  • Pets delivery to your residence in Abu Dhabi

Approximate costings for pet Importation to Abu Dhabi 
Processing / acquiring the UAE import permit  600.00 AED
Ministry vet check fee 300.00 AED
Airport customs fee  280.00 AED
Airport handling fee  235.00 AED
Abu Dhabi airport collection and home delivery  900.00 AED
Total Importation Amount  2315.00 AED

The local UAE vet clinics take all the usual payments types and will allocate you a pet relocation contact to advise you should you choose to use them. 

They generally only need 10 days advance notice to make the necessary travel arrangements.

Alternatively, you can contact your shipping company who will advise you on their costs for relocating your pets. 

One of the benefits to using the shipping company (which is definately not the cost) is that they offer a door to door service (a complete pet relocation service), which saves you worrying and desperately co-ordinating both the export and import aspects of the relocation.

The total cost of the two cats with a door to door was appoximately 3500 pounds sterling vs doing it all independently for appox 1500 pounds sterling.

Keep in mind that it is not just your pets relocating. The amount of stress and organisation involved in your own relocation can weigh on which option you choose.

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