Importation and quarantine procedure for pets (cats and dogs) to The Republic of Korea
All live animals and animal products entering Korea must be accompanied by valid certificates issued by the exporting country's government. Declare all import animals and animal products upon arrival to the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service, where they must be inspected.
Cloven-hoofed animals and their products that are shipped from import-restricted areas will be sent back or destroyed.
Number of cats and/or dogs allowed to be imported without prior notification: A maximum of four (4) animals without prior notification. If bringing more pets, contact a QIA office to obtain permission in advance. The animals may then be held in a quarantined area for at least one day.
Microchip Implantation required: All dogs and cats entering Korea must be implanted with a microchip and the identification number stated in the veterinary health certificateissued by the Quarantine Authority. The microchips must be ISO-compliant (ISO11784 and 11785 standards); for any other chips, the person bringing in the pet must have their own microchip scanner. Animals without a microchip will be quarantined until one is implanted.
Rabies Antibody Test Certificate (TITER) required: A rabies-neutralizing antibody test must be administered by an internationally approved laboratory or by the competent authority of the exporting country up to 24 months prior to boarding/entry with a positive result equivalent to at least 0.5IU/ml or higher. The test result must be stated in the veterinary health certificate issued by the Quarantine Authority.
Exception: Dogs and cats younger than 90 days or arriving from a rabies-free country are not required to have taken the rabies antibody test. The Korea Quarantine and Inspection agency list the following as rabies-free countries: Albania, Australia, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Department of Reunion, Wallis and Futuna, Dominican Republic, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Iceland, Hawaii, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Lichtenstein, Macedonia, Malaysia, Martinique, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and United Kingdom.
International Approved Laboratories:
There are approximately 40 approved laboratories around the world that are authorized to conduct the test. Submissions must sent by a veterinarian or veterinary clinic.
There is only one International Approved laboratory in North America that issues the TITER certificate, which means it can take a minimum of 4-6 weeks to get the rabies antibody certificate if you live anywhere in North America. Over and above the cost your vet wil charge for the blood work, you can expect to pay an additional $99.00+ for the TITER.
Pets with a microchip and a rabies antibody test certificate of 0.5IU/ml or higher may be in quarantine for one day (generally there is no quarantine). If your pet is quarantined, arrangements can be made to have her/him delivered to you - delivery time may be 5-7 hours although it can also be faster.
Pets with no chip and/or recognised rabies certificate will remain in quarantine until both have been completed.
Pets with a rabies test result below 0.5IU/ml will remain in quarantine until they meet the minimum requirement.
Quota of animals: The maximum number of animals permitted entry without prior notification/permission is four (4).
Korea Quarantine and Inspection Agency Offices: The QIA website has information in English. For a full list of QIA offices, see this page on the QIA website. Phone number and addresses are given - no email addresses. Following are some of the locations:
Incheon Airport Passenger Terminal – 032-740-2660
Gimhae Airport – 051-971-1925
Gimpo Airport – 02-2664-2601
Incheon Port: 032-772-8238
Busan Port: 051-6006242
* Additional Certification is required to import cats from Australia, and cats & dogs from Malaysia.
Documentation required: a valid health certificate which testifies that the stated animal has been kept in a Hendra and Nipah virus-free region, or a valid health certificate which documents that the stated animal has been kept in a Hendra and Nipah virus-free area for 60 days before export and confirms a negative Hendra and Nipah virus test result (blood test should have been conducted within 14 days prior to importation).
Supplies to bring:
- Bring a supply of toys for your dog. If you have a large dog, pack large feeding bowls as well as fitted leashes and collars.
- If you are bringing a cat, pack most cat necessities, including litter, food (special brands) and toys. In the large urban areas product for cats are readily available but not necessarily in other areas.
- Also bring a supply of any current medication your pet may be taking as well as its medical file.
- If your pet is a fussy eater, bring along a 6-12 month supply of pet food, medications and other goods to last you until you go on your home leave and are able to replenish your stock.
- Heartworm, flea and de-worming medication can be purchased here from veterinarians (as can a limited range of food).
- While prices have come down as more Koreans have pets, you'll likely find that the cost of some products are much higher than you're used to paying. That said, veterinarian costs may be lower.