Whenever the term “family” is used in relation to visas to live in Australia, most assumptions are that it refers to partners, spouses, parents, or children, and for the most part that is the case. However, ask pet owners if their dog or cat is regarded as a member of the family and you will hear a resounding “Yes” in reply.

This raises the question as to whether families who are moving to Australia under a visa scheme can bring their pets with them, and the simple answer is “Yes, they can”. However, just as humans need to meet specific criteria and follow a process, so do their pet animals. Here are 5 facts from a migration agent about the process and how those making Australia their home, can also have their pets join them.

The Country The Pet Is In Can Impact The Process

Australia only allows pets to come from a limited number of countries on its approved list, and these are split into 3 groups with further stipulations. In all, there are currently 96 countries on the approved list.

Group 1 includes New Zealand, Norfolk Island and Cocos island. Pet dogs from these countries do not require an import permit and of the three, only cats from Cocos Islands require an import licence.

Group 2 contains countries that are regarded as rabies-free. All pets from these countries do require an import permit. Examples of countries in group 2 include Iceland, Mauritius, and  Singapore.

Group 3 contains the remaining 67 countries which are either rabies-free or believed to have it well under control. All animals from these countries require an import licence. Example countries in group 3 include the USA, the UK, and Canada.

Certain Breeds Are Excluded

Not all breeds are eligible for import into Australia. Those which are excluded include:


  • Japanese Tosa
  • American Pit Bull
  • Dog Argentina
  • Fila Brassiere

Australia also does not allow domestic and non-domestic hybrids to be imported such as

  • Kunming Wolfdog
  • Lupo Italiano
  • Saarloos Wolfhound


  • Bengal Cat
  • Savannah Cat
  • Safari Cat
  • Chausie Cat

All Pets Must Go Into Quarantine When They Arrive

Regardless of what country it comes from or how healthy your pet may be, it must be placed into quarantine upon arrival in Australia. The usual quarantine period is 10 days.  Upon arrival, it will receive an initial check by a vet who will certify that it is healthy. Your pet must also have a microchip, proof of vaccination, and proof of other treatments depending on the country they are travelling from.

All Pets Must Enter Australia Via Melbourne Airport

Note that the only quarantine facility is the Mickleham Post in Melbourne. This follows from the fact that ALL pet imports must be transported via air cargo into Melbourne International Airport regardless of where you are going to be living in Australia.

There Is A Cost For Bringing Your Pet To Australia

All pet owners know that owning a pet is not inexpensive, and here is another cost that you need to add. To import your pet into Australia, a fee of up to 480 AUD must be paid to apply for the first animal, and if you have more than one, each additional application costs 240 AUD.

In addition, there is a fee for the minimum 10 day quarantine period each animal needs to have when it enters the country. This quarantine fee is usually around 2000 AUD. The fee includes an initial veterinary inspection, accommodation, and the relevant documentation. You may also incur fees for any additional veterinary treatment or parasite treatments if your pet requires them whilst in quarantine.