In Blog Form, that is. Not a lot of (updated) helpful posts on this, so I figured I should share our experience when we exported Gringo, our 13 year old Kittywitty from Jeddah, K.S.A., to Dubai, U.A.E.! A lot of Animals are left behind when Expatriates move countries or go back home, and it’s really unfair for the fur babies to suffer this way (can you even imagine their heartbreak, not seeing your face and hearing your voice everyday?). If you’re going to adopt a Pet (buying should not be an option anymore, no to Mills), please consider that it is a lifetime commitment. There are so many animals in the shelter waiting to be adopted and most of the ads say it’s because their Family is moving and they could not take their pets with them. I’m sure some have very valid reasons, but if you’re not even putting an effort into trying to take them with you, then I’ll be ringing the shame bell as you walk the airport halls, heading to your flight.
Being a Parent to a Fur child is serious business and isn’t to be taken lightly. My Mother brought one of our Cats all the way from Palawan, Philippines to Jeddah when we first moved there in 1997. When Drew and I decided we were moving to Dubai, it never occurred to me that we would have to leave Gringo behind.
Gringo and I reunited in Dubai
It took a lot of sweat and tears for us to get him on a plane, so, based on our experience, here are my tips for importing CATS into the UAE (full discretion : this is going to be one of the most lengthiest posts in this blog, ever) :
1.) Gringo was yet to be vaccinated with Anti-Rabies, which was perfect at the time. Rabies Test Lab Results and the (Rabies) Test Certification are part of the Requirements. The Blood Test will be done a month after the vaccination. Count 90 days after the Blood was drawn, and that’s when your Cat is eligible to fly out of the Country (you’d have to check if this still applies if you are reading this months from now, note that it also varies per country). This is something that has to be planned ahead, obviously. The fees you pay for your pets to travel with you is WAY cheaper than if you have them shipped to you later. This is the most important thing to consider.
2.) Get your Fur Baby’s Health Certificate and Export Permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, noting that the Export Permit has to be obtained 24 hours prior to your Pet’s Travel.
3.) If you are taking your Fur Baby with you (on the same day / flight), I highly recommend contacting Dubai Kennel Catering – they will be in charge of your Cat’s Import, including the processing of the Import and Release Permits. All you need to do is give them copies of all the Certificates and Documents from your Cat’s vet as well as the Ministry (of Exporting Country), and a copy of your passport. You may inquire with them directly for a detailed guidance of the steps, requirements, and will issue you with a Quotation. Have around 2 – 3,000.00 AED ready for this, which is a rough estimate. It’s costly but you know everything goes smoothly – the risk with dealing with your Fur Baby’s import yourself is that if their entrance to the UAE is rejected, the fee is at AED 5,000.00. Yes, you read that right.
4.) Let the Airline know upon booking a Flight that you will be carrying a Live Animal with you to ensure that the requirements for the Kennel size and fees are all sorted out.
If you’ve done all this, then you’re mostly safe.
5.) However, if you have no choice leave your Fur Baby behind for a few months for him to follow when he is cleared after 90 days and would like to do this hands on, these are the steps I took, which is considered as Option 1 (you’ll need at least a month close to your Fur Baby’s date to work on this) :
(a) Bought forms off of the Pet Passport Store, where I got in touch with Jerry Hatfield, who responded back within a week, sending me the required forms based on the Country we were importing Gringo to. They do the work for you and would be guiding you with clear steps. These forms have to be signed by your Fur Baby’s Vet. Jerry also advises for you to check with him at least 20 days prior to your flight if any of the Documents / Processes has changed, just so you’re aware and would be able to provide the additional / amended requirements then. I paid about USD 20.00 for this.
(b) Created an Account at the Ministry of Climate Change & Environment Website (of Dubai), where I would later upload all the signed and stamped Documents from Gringo’s Vet as well as signed and stamped Veterinary / Health Certificate and Export Permit from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Exporting Country (in this case, it’s Jeddah). After you have completed all the Requirements, you apply for the Import Permit AND afterwards, the Release Permit here. Make sure you have ALL original documents with you as this could cause a problem in the Customs Department of the Importing Country, especially the EXPORT PERMIT, RABIES TEST CERTIFICATE, and LAB RESULTS (at least a clear, colored copy of this). The MOCCAE gives the BEST service and you could easily CHAT with Customer Support if you want to raise questions. I swear, the Ministy’s Customer Service is hands down, 5/5. And if they have to forward your concerns to another department, you would get a message within 24 hours. Have at least AED 1,000 on your card for this (you will be paying onlne).
(c) Finding your Fur Baby a place to stay. If you have no one to leave him/her with, find a Pet Boarding Company for this. Luckily, Gringo’s Vet in Jeddah offers Boarding! His Vet is Doctor Carlos Brandau of the European Veterinary Clinic and he took real good care of Gringo. They always answered my calls and e-mails and kept me posted on Gringo’s health. Not gonna lie to you though, this part is going to be a bit pricey (have at least SAR 4,000+ ready for 3 months), but it’s all worth it knowing that your Fur Baby is well looked after, and, seeing that he is going to be boarding in a Vet Clinic, everything to keep him healthy is accessible, and not to mention, in any case of emergency, he will be immediately tended to! Nothing beats that.
Photos Nof sent me during her visits to the Vet to see Gringo
The enclosure looks smaller than it is, there’s a hole on the side which leads to another part where his food and water is.
(d) Contact a Cargo Agent from the country of Export. I got in touch with Emirates Airways in Dubai, and they gave me their Cargo Office’s number in Jeddah, where they recommended a Cargo Agency / Company to contact to get a quote for the Exporting Fee (have at least SAR 2,000 for this, fee varies depending on the Breed / Weight / Type of Animal).
6.) If you decide to have someone else take care of it for you, this is Option 2 :
(a) You’d have to contact Dubai Kennel Catering as well for the Import and Release Permits, and making sure your Fur Baby is tended to upon his/her arrival in Dubai, also minimizing (or completely obliterating, lelz) the risk of your Fur Baby getting rejected due to missing Documents or undone tests, etc. They also have a list of contacts based on where you are in the World, to assist you with the Export Papers and Fees, as they do vary per Country.
(b) Contact a Cargo Agent from the Country of Export – Emirates would recommend agents based on your needs. If you have all the Documents ready and would only need Cargo Service (from where your Fur Baby currently is, to the Airport), or if you need someone to obtain all the required documents from the Vet and Ministry, let them know. They were really helpful.
(c) Get yourself a Rahwa. Rahwa (or Nof, as most of you know her, if you’ve been reading my crap of a blog for the past few years or so), is one of my Sisters who I met in Jeddah. Whenever we were on Vacation, she tended to Gringo’s needs, and when we left him for a few months in the Vet when we moved to Dubai, she would visit him, too! The best part is, she actually WORKED ON ALL HIS DOCUMENTS including getting his Certificates from the Ministry, from the Vet, etc, on our behalf. Although I doubt you’d find anyone else on Earth like her who would go the distance the way she did. If you do, consider yourself blessed with a friend who you will definitely have for life. Note that because we are still working on our Finances after moving here, Rahwa actually paid for almost all these fees and more (I only spent on Gringo’s Import and Release Fee. I KNOW RIGHT).
You can tell how grateful Gringo is that Nof is there for him
AAAHHHHH I’M OUT
So if you’re thinking of adopting an Animal and you’re out of your own Country, you have this to consider. You don’t love an Animal temporarily, or for your convenience, just so they could keep you company, or entertain your children (ugh) … this is another LIFE you are looking after. And Animals are too good for this Earth, the last thing they need is for you to fuck with their feelings and let them love you unconditionally when you have absolutely NO INTENTION of being with them until they die. And don’t tell me “so what about fostering, Abbie???” because you don’t foster an Animal for 10 years and not consider them Family.
If you know you won’t have funds to back up your plans of taking them with you wherever you go, then please – DO NOT ADOPT THEM. There are so many strays as it is. Why would you want to pollute shelters?
On a less preachy note, if you are thinking of importing your Fur Baby / Babies to Dubai, feel free to leave a comment! I would love to help.
This Furball should surely attest to that.