New Zealand is the furthest place possible to fly pets to from the UK, but many thousands of pets make the journey to New Zealand each and every year. The list of rules and regulations are complicated and take a bit of time to get used to, so it’s always sensible to give us a call or drop us an email. We can chat you through the pitfalls and help you fly your cat or dog to New Zealand safely and correctly with our pet transport service. Here’s everything you need to know about New Zealand pet travel.

Step 1: When do you want your dog to travel? More than 18 months – do nothing. Between 18-6 months – start the rabies work. Less than 6 months – start the rabies work fast and give us a call as there will need to be an amendment to your plans for our pet transport service to New Zealand.

Dogs and cats being imported to New Zealand from the UK need to have a primary rabies vaccination at least 6 months before they fly and then a rabies blood sample at least 3 months before they fly. The rabies vaccination does need to be within 12 months of the flight date.

Step 2: Get a flight booked. Call us at PetAir UK and we can get a flight booked for your pet to Auckland or Christchurch. This then puts a date in position for us to work from.

Step 3: Book a quarantine space. Dogs and cats have to land in quarantine and serve their time of 10 days in either Auckland or Christchurch. Before taking a pet to New Zealand, there are many forms which need to be filled out and signed by you: registered breed declarations to confirm your dog is not a dangerous breed, value declaration to confirm your pet is not going to attract import duties, customs import declaration and others. Once you have booked the quarantine space, the quarantine station will give you a letter to confirm the space – you will need this letter to confirm quarantine space for your cat or dog.

The quarantine stations are below:

Pethaven Quarantine (Auckland) – 71 Homestead Road, Mangatawhiri, 2471.

Qualified Pet Services (Auckland) – 150 Airfield Road, Takanini, Auckland, 2582.

Canterbury Quarantine Station (Christchurch) – 1360 Highfield Road, Christchurch, 7671.

Step 4: Get an import permit. The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) ( website is very helpful. You need to download the import permit application form. This form asks for details about you in the UK and you in New Zealand and details about your pets who want to enter New Zealand. This form also includes an Official Veterinary Declaration (OVD) and so you will need to find an Official Veterinarian in UK to complete this OVD. Send application form, OVD and the quarantine confirmation letter to NZ MPI and they will ask for any information they are missing and then issue the import permit.

Step 5: So, you have the flight booked, rabies work done, quarantine booked and permit applied for. Now is the time to apply for the DEFRA export paperwork. You need to email DEFRA in the UK ( and ask them to issue you with an application form and EXA 1 forms. You can fill these out and apply for the DEFRA export papers and these will be sent to your vets within 7 days of the flight date.

Step 6: Plan the vet work! Work back from the date of flight to get a timescale of vet work. The below schedule is devised by the PetAir UK vets and allows time to rectify any positive results. There are schedules which make things slightly easier, but they give us no room or time to rectify errors or positive results prior to using our pet transport service to New Zealand.

Day 26-28 before the flight – date of first vet appointment. If you have dogs travelling to New Zealand, then this appointment is the time to take the first blood samples for Leptospira and Heartworm and treat your dog against ticks and internal parasites. If you have cats being imported into New Zealand then this first appointment is to check them over for ticks and to treat them against worms and ticks.

Day 14-16 before the flight – dogs only – second vet appointment. At this appointment, your vet needs to take bloods from your dog for Babesia and Brucella. Cats travelling to New Zealand do not need this middle appointment.

Day 0-2 before the flight – cats and dogs. Both cats and dogs travelling will need UK DEFRA export paperwork completing and so your vet will need to give your dog or cat a full check over, treat them for worms and ticks again and then complete the paperwork. This document must fly with your pets when they travel to New Zealand

Step 7: Head down to the airport and get your pet checked in.

Step 8: An airport vet will double check your vet’s paperwork and make sure that it is all perfect and correct.

Step 9: Plane takes off and off your pet travels on their incredible journey. The quarantine staff will be at the airport to collect them and bring them back to the quarantine station to get them some well deserved food and rest.

Step 10: 10 days later. The pets are released from quarantine and are now fully fledged New Zealand Citizens.

Please do bear in mind that PetAir UK can help with as many or as few of the above stages as you wish as part of our New Zealand pet travel service. We can offer parts of the process or the full process, just ask us.

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