If you’re a pet owner planning to make a move to Thailand for an extended period or even live here permanently, then you’ll want to make sure you’re fully aware of all the rules and regulations involved when it comes to bringing your pet(s) with you to “The Land of Smiles”. It’s equally important to make sure that you have suitable pet-friendly accommodation arranged before your arrival and consider which neighbourhood, housing type (i.e., condo, apartment, townhouse, etc.), amenities, and transport options are going to suit you and your pet’s lifestyles.
All things considered, Thailand is one of the easiest countries to bring your pets to and pretty relaxed regarding its quarantine regulations. However, while it’s possible to find all of the information shared here from the Thai government and immigration websites, it is not written in the most user-friendly manner. There’s also an overload of technical legal jargon that often discourages pet owners from looking into things further, subsequently forcing them to either give up on the endeavour or, worse, separating them from their furry family members altogether. But, of course, no pet owner wants that, so this is why Bangkok Condos has decided to lay things out in a simple and easy to follow format, helping pet owners avoid facing that kind of decision and getting their pets into the country with minimum hassle.
For pet owners bringing domestic cats and dogs into Thailand, the processes involved are essentially identical, and so long as you follow the steps laid out in this article, you’ll be able to bring your pets with you into Thailand without the need for them to quarantine. However, it’s important to note that a couple of dog breeds, namely Pit-Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers, are prohibited from importation into Thailand. Further restrictions state that all dogs and cats must be at least four months old before you can bring them into the country. Other more exotic pets such as reptiles and birds may require you to apply for additional permits, and we’ll also be touching upon that later in the post. So, let’s dive into it and see what steps you need to follow if you want to bring your pets to Thailand.
Import Permit from Thai DLD
The first step is to get your paperwork organized. Be sure to do this well ahead of time since obtaining permits can sometimes be a slow process. To apply for an import permit, you’ll deal with a branch of the Thai government known as the Department of Livestock Development (DLD). You’ll need to download and fill in this application form and send it along with all the required documentation (see below) to the DLD for approval via the email address listed on their website. Once approved, this license is valid for 60 days.
To make things super simple, we’ve listed all the documents you need to send to the DLD to get approval.
- Import license application form R.1/1 (written as ร.๑/๑ in Thai in the top right of the page)
- Copy of your passport’s photo page
- Proof of vaccinations
- Colour photo of your pet taken from the front clearly showing your pet’s face
- Pet information sheet which includes:
- The number and species of the pets
- Details of the pets including breed, sex, age, colour, and the microchip number of each pet
- Address in the country of origin
- Address of your accommodation in Thailand
- Tentative date of arrival
- Port of departure in the country of origin
- Port of entry in Thailand
As you can see from this list, most of the items required are easily accessible, and all you need to do is compile the information and attach it to the email when you send your application to the DLD. However, two things that stand out are your pets vaccination records and its microchip number, so let’s break those down next.
As noted above, it’s compulsory for all incoming pets to Thailand to show proof of vaccinations, which your local vet can arrange. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies, leptospirosis, hepatitis, distemper, and parvovirus for dogs, while cats require rabies and feline panleukopenia virus vaccinations.
Your pets should be vaccinated at least 21 days before your flight to Thailand and not more than 12 months before arrival. So, if your pet is not up to date with its vaccinations, perhaps it’s time for a booster shot. Usually, your vet can administer all of these vaccines in just one visit, but in any event, they should give you written proof that your pet has received these vaccinations so that you can submit the document to the DLD.
Already noted in item 5.2 on our required documentation list, the DLD requires all incoming pets have a microchip implanted, used to help identify lost pets. The Thai government accepts widely used ISO-compliant microchips with a 15-digit identification number, which you can use on the pet information sheet as part of your application.
Internal and External Parasites
One more highly recommended thing about your pets’ health and wellbeing is that while not mandatory, we suggest getting your pet checked for internal and external parasites such as ticks and tapeworms to avoid any hold-ups or quarantine time for your pet when you arrive in Thailand. But, again, this is something you can discuss with your vet, and you should consider asking them to prescribe medication for parasites approximately seven days before your departure date.
Export Permit from your Home Country
The next step is to obtain an export permit, otherwise known as a health certificate, from your home country. Generally, your local vet will point you in the right direction for this, and some will even prepare it for you for a fee. Some things to note here include the fact that the certificate must be completed in English and endorsed (stamped) by a government officer from your country responsible for importing and exporting animals.
Understandably, only pets that are disease-free are allowed to enter Thailand, so the health certificate must note that your pet is healthy and fit to travel. In addition, vaccination, microchip identification, and ownership details must be recorded on the health certificate and corroborate with all other relevant documentation.
Finally, it’s vital to know that the health certificate is only valid for ten days from the date of issue, so you must arrive in Thailand with your pet within ten days of the endorsement. With your documentation checklist complete, there’re just a few more things to bear in mind when travelling with pets.
Do you have a suitable travel crate for your pet?
While most people will opt to travel simultaneously with their pets, but with all of the preparations involved in relocating to a new country, they might forget to arrange a suitable container for their pets to travel in. Typically, pets are put in the cargo hold of the aircraft during the journey, so ensuring they have an IATA-approved travel crate is a must for their safety and wellbeing in transit. Some airlines may allow you to carry small dog breeds or cats in a suitable container under your seat during the flight, but you will need to check with each carrier individually to determine the rules.
Arrival in Thailand
Most international flights to Thailand will land at Suvarnabhumi Airport, after which you must take your pets to an animal quarantine station. Depending on how your pets travelled, either in the cargo hold as checked baggage or in the passenger cabin with you, will determine which station you need to attend.
For pets travelling as checked baggage in the cargo hold, you must go to the International Animal Quarantine Station (AQS) located on the 1st floor, CE-1 Building, in the Free Zone area.
For pets travelling in the passenger cabin and coming in through the passenger terminal, you’ll need to go to the animal quarantine station near baggage belt #8 in the arrival hall.
Assuming you arrive at another airport in Thailand, such as Phuket International Airport, it’s necessary to contact the airport in advance, and arrangements must be made with veterinary officials for clearance.
When is quarantine necessary?
As we mentioned back at the beginning of the article, Thailand is relatively lenient with the importation of pets, and so long as all of your paperwork is in order and your pet doesn’t show any signs of illness, they won’t be quarantined. However, a quarantine officer has the discretionary authority to decide if your pet needs to take a short vacation at a quarantine station.
This means that if the quarantine officer deems it appropriate, they can detain pets in a quarantine station for 30 days or more upon arrival, during which time they’ll undergo tests or treatments considered necessary. Of course, the pet owner would then be responsible for these expenses, so remember to be extra nice to these officers as the fate of your pets is in their hands.
What if my pet is not a cat or a dog?
If your pet is a rabbit, then all of the exact requirements listed above apply. However, other animals such as birds, small mammals such as rodents, tropical fish, invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians are not subject to the rabies vaccination requirement but may have to meet other requirements specific to each species. Regardless of what animal you bring into Thailand, they will all need a health certificate to enter the country.
If your pet is considered a rare, dangerous, or endangered animal, it’s strongly advised that you seek further information from the relevant authority in your country and the DLD in Thailand to guarantee the safe and legal transit of the animal. You’ll also want to ensure you’re not in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). If your pet does fall under one of these categories, you will most certainly need to apply for additional permits before travelling.
Enjoy your new life in Thailand
Once you and your pet have successfully entered Thailand, it’s time to enjoy your new life together. No doubt you’ll both be relieved the ordeal is finally over, so what better way to celebrate your arrival than to explore Bangkok together and check out some of the cities best pet-friendly spots. We’ve covered a lot of these in our neighbourhood guides to Thong Lor, Phrom Phong, and Ekkamai, and if you’re still searching for a place to live in one of these areas, feel free to browse through some of our highly recommended pet-friendly properties.