Ten months – is how long it can take before you can relocate your pet from the UAE, explains a Dubai vet, after a rise in clients leaving the country experiencing difficulties taking their pets with them, due to increased protocols and airline restrictions.

Bethany Garner, relocations expert at British Veterinary Hospital, which receives over 500 relocation enquiries annually, warned expatriate pet owners in the UAE to begin the process as soon as they make their decision to leave the country.

“Those who work for international companies can be required to relocate at relatively short notice and may not even have too much control over their destination, which can make the issue of transporting a pet a serious one,” says Garner.

For example, Hong Kong requires as much as ten months advance planning due to the waiting list for a quarantine place and then the quarantine period is an additional four months, so the process needs to be started at the earliest.

Increased restrictions are being implemented by many airlines, with some carriers banning snub-nosed breeds completely and other breeds when the weather is above a certain temperature, to avoid potential health complications. Even in the UAE’s cooler months, airlines can have restrictions in place in the destination countries, which make flying certain pets impossible.

And pet relocation issues are not exclusively with cats and dogs, as BVH recently encountered issues helping a client relocate a 30-year-old parrot to the UK from Dubai. The age of the bird pre-dated all its flight and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulations which made the process particularly complicated. Fortunately, there was a consistent trail of paperwork and they eventually managed to get all the licenses required – but the process took seven months.

“Although it was not the case for this parrot, many people acquire or purchase exotic pets including parrots, but have no idea that these animals are endangered. As such there are strict procedures to follow to relocate these pets. Without the correct paperwork it is nearly impossible to move them, so people also need to be aware that the costs to relocate animals are high, especially when they are CITES regulated endangered animals,” says Garner.

UAE resident, Tom Gold, recently attempted to relocate his five pets back to the UK without the use of a relocation company and was surprised by his level of involvement in the process. He said, “When I started looking at relocating my pets back home I could not believe the complexity of permits and requirements. I even got confused at how to ensure the carriers for transport were appropriate for each cat and dog. The process had changed considerably from when we imported our pets into the UAE five years previously. In the end it was well worth contacting and using a professional company like BVH to deal with the process and take responsibility for my pets arriving safely.”

Country receiving pets from the UAE Potential time required Quarantine period
Hong Kong 10 months 4 months
Japan 7 months none
Singapore 6 months 30 days
Australia 6 months 10 days
New Zealand 3 months 10 days
South Africa 30 days 14 days
Europe 30 days none
US 3 weeks none
Russia 3 weeks none
GCC 3 weeks none
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