Importing Pets to the Philippines
Importing dogs and cats into the Philippines is a relatively simple and inexpensive process, especially in comparison to countries such as Australia. So animal lovers and loyal pet owners do not need to be concerned about leaving their four-legged family members behind in their home countries.
Photo by Scott Allford
If you plan to bring your pet to the Philippines with you the first thing you need to do is contact the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Animal Health Division (AHD). If you know people in Manila they may be able to make the trip out to the head office which is located at Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, for you. Otherwise you can check the website www.bai.ph (However, at the time of writing this article the site was undergoing maintenance) or contact the Bureau by Telephone +632 928 2743; or Fax +632 928 2836. What you will need to do is send a letter to the BAI Director DAVINIO P. CATBAGAN, DVM containing the following information:
1. The species and breed of your pet.
2. The sex, colour, and how many pets you are bringing. (If you are bringing more than 5 pets they will have to be inspected at the quarantine site)
3. The date you will arrive.
You will then be sent an import permit which costs 50 pesos (about US$1). You can pay this fee when you arrive at the airport or your friends in Manila can pay this for you.
Once you have that out of the way you have to organise a valid health certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian which states that your pet has been examined and is free from communicable diseases at least 10 days before the move. This is not that difficult, just ask your pet’s vet and they should be able to do this. I organised this in Korea with a vet who spoke very little English for a fee of 20,000 Won (about US$20 at the time).
If the country you are importing the pet from is not free from rabies you have to get certification stating there have been no rabies cases within a 20 kilometer radius of the pet’s home in the last 6 months. My Korean vet couldn’t do this so I went to the Icheon City Hall and they gave me this for free.
The last form you need is your pet’s vaccination card showing they have been vaccinated against the following:
rabies, canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, leptsopirosis, canine parvovirus, or feline panleucopenia and proof that your animal was treated for internal and external parasites.
Once these things are organized you’re ready to take your pet to the airport. To my knowledge, the budget airlines do not allow pets to fly. However, most major airlines will carry pets but you must inform them in advance when you book your ticket. I brought Aslan over with Asiana Airlines. For pets under 5kg you can have them in the cabin with you. Sadly, Aslan is a bit fat (close to 7kg) so he had to ride under the plane as cargo. Asiana charged 7,000 Won (About US$7 at the time) per kilogram and I didn’t actually pay anything as they gave me the option of using my frequent flyer points to cover the cost.
If you want, you can organize for your pet to be sedated for the flight as it can be stressful for them, speak to your vet and contact the airport about this. As Aslan is very sensitive to drugs I didn’t have him sedated, he was a bit frightened and unusually quiet but only took a few hours to get back to his usual habits.
After getting off the plane and going through Immigration you can pick up your pet with your bags. Then the Quarantine personnel will do a quick inspection of your pet. This is also when you have to present your pet’s documents and pay for the Import Permit if you haven’t already. You will also have to pay 165 pesos (About US$4) for the first 2 pets and 220 pesos for each additional pet (3 or more). In addition to this you will have to pay 50% duty of your pet’s value + 10% tax. As Aslan was a street cat I just put down that he cost US$15.
If you don’t meet any of the documentation requirements then your pet will be placed in quarantine and possibly even “disposed of”, as the BAI site so graphically states. If you can meet all of these requirements then you and your pet can leave the gritty Ninoy Aquino International Airport and go to your new home.
Aslan has settled in very well and following in my footsteps, has started to explore the Philippines himself.
Photo by Scott Allford
Scott M. Allford has lived and worked in Australia and South Korea and has travelled extensively throughout Asia- Mongolia, China, Tibet, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and Japan – fell in love with the Philippines and decided to allocate at least two years to comprehensively cover the country.
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