The Adventures of Django and Arya

South Africa

Cats and dogs can be imported to South Africa under strict conditions designed​ to manage biosecurity risks. Requirements on entry to the Republic of South Africa with cats and dogs depend on your country of origin. A Veterinary Import Permit is needed from the Director: Animal Health to enter South Africa rather than the Pet Passport Scheme used in the EU. Cats and dogs also require a Rabies Vaccination, and a Pet Health Certificate before they can enter South Africa. As outlined on the Veterinary Import Permit, your dog needs to receive 5 different blood tests before entering South Africa. You may already be aware that quarantine is mandatory for some cats and dogs arriving in South Africa, depending on the country of origin.

importing a pet to South Africa taking a cat or dog to SA

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Veterinary Import Permit

All cats and dogs arriving in South Africa require a Veterinary Import Permit. This can be obtained for The Director: Animal Health:

Telephone :               +27 (0) 12 319 7514                  +27 (0) 12 319 7503/7406


The Director: Animal Health

Import Export Policy Unit

Private Bag X138




The Veterinary Import Permit costs R110-00, and payment must be made with your application for the Permit.

Dogs & Cats Entering South Africa from Neighbouring Countries

Dogs and Cats entering South Africa from Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland do not need an Veterinary Import Permit. These dogs and cats need a Pet Health Certifiate that certifies they have been vaccinated against rabies in the last 12 months but more than 30 days before the date of departure. The cats and dogs need to have a health check within 7 days of export.

This does not apply for dogs entering South Africa from Mozambique. These dogs can only be imported into South Africa with a veterinary import permit. Also note that dogs cannot enter South Africa by road from Mozambique, but cats are permitted to do so.

Cats & Dogs Imported to South Africa from Australia, New Zealand and the UK

If you’re taking your cat or dog to South Africa from Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom (Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland), your pet doesn’t need a Rabies Vaccination. However, it’s strongly recommended that you vaccinate your pet against rabies to protect them when travelling to South Africa.

Veterinary Import Permit
Pet Health Certificate
Mandatory Quarantine
Inspection on Arrival
Pet Travel from South Africa to Australia, New Zealand or UK

Blood Tests for Dogs entering South Africa

Unless your country of origin is free of risk from the following dog diseases, your dog will require 5 blood tests before entering South Africa. The type of test required is stipulated by the South African authorities. Note that you may not require the blood tests when travelling from countries that are risk free of the stated dog diseases.

Dog DiseaseBlood Test Type for South Africa
Rucella CanisSerum Agglutination or Rapid Slide Agglutination
Trypanosoma EvansiCard Agglutination Test & Giemsa Blood Smear
Babesia Gibsoni Immunoflourescence Antibody Test & Giemsa Blood Smear
Dirofilaria ImmitisMicrofilarial Filtration Test
LeishmaniosisIndirect Fluorescent Antibody or ELISA or Direct Agglutination Test or Western Blot/Membrane Immunoassay
Dog Blood Tests Required for South Africa

Countries with no Quarantine in South Africa

If you arrive in South Africa from any of the following contrives, your cat or dog does not have to spend time in quarantine, but they must have a Rabies Vaccinatation:


Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,  France, Germany, Greece,  Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,  Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Slovakia,  Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland , UK, Norway and Hungry.

North America 

Canada and United States of America


Australia and New Zealand


Botswana, Comoros, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Reunion.



South America


Permitted arrival airports for no quarantine countries

Dogs and cats that don’t require quarantine in South Africa can enter via Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), Cape Town International Airport or Durban International Airport. Dogs and cats aren’t allowed to enter South Africa via any other airport.

Veterinary Import Permit
Pet Health Certificate
Mandatory Quarantine
Inspection on Arrival
Pet Travel to South Africa from Countries with No Quarantine

Countries requiring Quarantine in South Africa

From ALL other countries, on arrival in South Africa, your cat or dog will have to spend 14 days in quarantine. You must pre-book the quarantine for your pet. Pets that require quarantine in South Africa must be imported through either Tambo (Johannesburg) or Cape Town International Airports. Your pet must also be vaccinated against Rabies.

Before a quarantine booking for a dog can be confirmed, you must sign an Indemnity Form. Copies of the Indemnity form can be obtained from:

  • Dr Rajput at the Import Export Policy Unit
  • The Permit Office
  • The two Quarantine Facilities

The original signed Indemnity Form needs to either be handed in at the quarantine station were the dog will be quarantined. Or, the original form needs to be posted or couriered to the quarantine station. Faxed and scanned copies will not be accepted. Bookings at the quarantine stations will only be confirmed on receipt of the original signed Indemnity Form.

Upon entry in South Africa, your cat or dog will be transported directly to the quarantine facility for a minimum of 14 days quarantine. Your pet will be inspected by a veterinarian at the beginning and end of quarantine.

Once your cat or dog meets all the import requirements, they will be cleared to leave the facility. Note that if your pet is unwell during quarantine they may have to stay in there longer.

If your dog or cat is found to have fleas or ticks, this may extend the period of quarantine in South Africa.

Veterinary Import Permit
Pet Health Certificate
Mandatory Quarantine
Inspection on Arrival
Pet Travel to South Africa from Countries with No Quarantine

Pets arriving in South Africa by plane

If permitted by the airline, your dog or cat may fly to South Africa in the cabin of the plane with you. However, your pet must be registered as manifest cargo. Therefore, upon landing in South Africa, the airline staff will take your pet from you so that they can be taken to the airport via the cargo terminal.

On arrival at the airport the original Veterinary Import Permit issued by the Directorate Animal Health and the original Veterinary Health Certificate signed, stamped and certified by Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country must be presented to the veterinary officials at the airport before the dog or cat can be released. The documents can either travel with the animal or the person collecting the animal must present the documents to the officials at the airport. The latter is only for animals that are not going into Quarantine on arrival in South Africa. The paperwork of animals going into quarantine must travel with the animal.

Remember to always protect your pet against biting insects when in a foreign country, in addition to the pet travel rules for your destination.

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