8 Simple Steps to Export Your Pets from Malaysia
If you’re moving from Malaysia, of course you’re going to take your pets with you. They’re part of your family, and family always sticks together. Not to mention that they’re depending on you!
I recently rescued a dog here in Malaysia and exported him to the US. I was shocked to learn that there was very little information online about the required steps for the export process, which stressed me out quite a bit. I don’t want anyone else to experience that confusion. So fear not, my friends! I’ve put together this simple 8-step process to help you export your pets from Malaysia. The dog I rescued and exported is Singa – otherwise known as the cutest, most awesome dog in the world – and I’ll include his documentation throughout this article to provide you with helpful examples. And I’ll include information and links for exporting to several countries. So let’s hop to it!
1. Start now
The process can be fairly simple, but some steps can take several weeks, especially if you need to update your pet’s vaccines, or if the country where you’re importing your pet has special requirements that need to be met. So start the process as soon as you know you’re moving.
2. Hire an export agent or pet relocation service
You’ll need an export agent to apply for and obtain your export permit, but don’t worry – they’re very affordable and they can help with everything from the permit to flight bookings. Here are a few export/import agents:
Best Way Global Services
(I’ve hired Lee many times and he’s been fantastic for us and our pets)
Pet Import Export Malaysia (Ask for Bev)
Alternatively, you can use a pet relocation service – they provide full turnkey solutions, but charge a premium price. Check out this post and you’ll see a bunch listed at the bottom of the article.
3. Meet the export permit requirements
To obtain the export permit, your export agent will need you to provide the following:
- A vaccination card, showing that your pet is up to date on vaccines. (Note: vaccine requirements can change frequently, including when the vaccines are administered prior to departure, so be sure to check with your export agent about these ever-changing requirements. Sometimes even if your pet has been vaccinated within the past year, they may still require another vaccine within a few weeks of travel).
- A JPEG or PDF of your passport.
- Your address in Malaysia, and your address in your destination country.
- A health certificate signed and stamped by your veterinarian, which lists:
- Your pet’s age
- Physical description
- 15-digit microchip number
- It must also state that your pet is healthy, free from contagious diseases, and is fit for air travel
- UPDATE FEBRUARY 2018 – According to one of my wonderful readers, Julia, who is in the process of exporting her dog from Malaysia to Europe, the Malaysian government has a new export requirement for dogs going to certain countries: a Nipah blood test. (Note: at the moment, this is not required for dogs being exported to North America, but it IS required for dogs going to Europe). Julia found that there is currently only one laboratory in Malaysia that does this Nipah test, and it’s located in Ipoh. Test results are valid only for 10 days. The test fee is RM18, plus postage fee for the test results. She says that it’s a bit of a hassle to get this test done yourself – it will be easier to seek help from an agent. She talked with several, and prices ranged from a few hundred ringgit up to RM1000. Julia recommends to dog owners: “Talk to different agents and request a breakdown of charges, especially the blood test part – i.e. the cost of taking the blood sample, lab fee, special logistics to transport the blood sample, etc.” (Thank you, Julia!)
Some veterinarians don’t have a standard health certificate form, as I found out the hard way when I asked a vet to write one up for Singa. I ended up creating my own and just asked the vet to sign and stamp it – here it is. Feel free to use this as a template if your vet doesn’t have a standard health certificate letter/form.
4. Research and meet pet import requirements
Each country has its own pet import requirements, which can be very different from one nation to the next – and even from one species of animal to another. Some countries require import permits or pet passports, some don’t; some require rabies titer tests or other specific kinds of blood tests and lab work; some mandate quarantine stays, and some don’t even ask for vaccination records. For example, when we imported Singa to the US, we needed to provide proof that he’d been vaccinated against rabies. But for cats going to the US, you don’t even have to show a health certificate. Weird, right? So be sure to research the import requirements for the country where your pet will be going – here are links to those prerequisites for several countries:
5. Check your airline’s specific pet transport requirements
Most airlines have a section of their websites dedicated to international pet travel. Be sure to check for certain key issues, such as:
- Minimum age of the pet. (Usually 3 months old.)
- Does the airline require you to have a pet relocation agent? (Some do).
- Can your pet travel in the cabin with you, or must they fly in cargo?
- Pet crate requirements.
- In-crate drinking/feeding kit requirements.
- Restrictions on animal breeds. (For example, Malaysian Airlines will not transport any snub-nosed dog).
- If your flight has an international transfer, will your pet require a transit permit, and if so, will the airline help you obtain that?
- Fees for transporting your pet.
- Required forms, and veterinary health records/certifications.
6. Book your pet’s flight
Some airlines will require you to book through their cargo department, whereas others can book your pet through their regular reservation agents. As noted above, many airlines will need you to fill out paperwork and provide proof of vaccination and/or health certificates before reserving your pet’s space on the plane or in cargo.
7. Obtain a transit permit (if you’re connecting through an international airport where it’s required)
Your export agent or your airline can help you with this. But note that this can take some time to do though. For example, Singa’s flight had to connect through Hong Kong, and it takes 7 working days for them to issue the transit permit.
8. Book an appointment with the Malaysian State Veterinary Department for inspection
Your export agents will need to do this for you, so just make sure that you allot time for this. It’s typically scheduled within a week of departure, and yes, you’ll need to take your pet with you since this is an in-person inspection.
Up, up and away!
When it’s time to fly, be sure to line your pet’s crate with a few layers of puppy training pads, which will absorb any accidents or water spills while your pet is flying. And be sure to kiss your pets all over before they get on their flight, so that they know how much you love them and that everything will be all right. Your export agent or pet relocation service will need to take your pet the cargo area since most airlines do not allow anyone but them to do it. Before they know it, your pets will be home and back in your lap, right where they belong. 🙂
Please feel free to ask any questions you like. I really hope this helps you and your pets!