Moving Your Pet Overseas Can Quickly Get Expensive—Here’s What You Need to Know

If you are getting ready to move overseas, you know there are a lot of details to be worked out. It becomes even more complicated if you are moving the four-legged members of your family. Depending on where you are moving to, your pet's medical needs may have to be completed at least 180 days prior to your move in order for your pet to not have to face an extensive quarantine. In addition to all of your pet's medical needs, there is required paperwork and quite a few fees involved. Failing to plan for these expenses can cause a significant impact on your moving budget. 

Before You Leave

The exact requirements your pet will need to meet will depend upon the country that you are moving from as well as the country you are moving to. Unfortunately, these steps will not always be the same in reverse.

For example, what is required to move your pet from the United States to Japan may not be what you need to move your pet from Japan back to the United States. can give you a good outline of exactly what will be required based on where you are going.

Prior to leaving the United States, most countries will require that your pet undergo extensive medical testing. Once you know what is going to be required, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Arrange for your pet to have all of the following:

  • a full check up
  • any required vaccinations
  • official veterinary certification
  • microchipping

These visits will vary based on what your pet needs to have done, but you can easily spend several hundred dollars. Consider collecting and saving all of the required information by purchasing a Pet Passport. The cost of these is based on the country you are moving to.

The Actual Transport

The first thing that you have to do to facilitate the actual transport is to find the carrier or kennel that your pet will travel in. The cost will depend on the size of the crate as well as the materials it is made out of.

If you have a small pet that fits in a carrier that will fit under your seat, you will only have to purchase them a small carrier and a ticket. This is the most economical way for your pet to travel. The cost of this type of ticket can start around $69 and range up to over $125. There may be additional taxes and fees added onto this.

If your pet does not fit in the under-seat space, you may have to check it in as baggage. This price can start around $175 and easily go over $250. Some airlines will not even allow you to check pets as baggage during certain seasons due to the cargo hold being too hot or too cold.

Another option that you may have to consider is a cargo flight for your pet. These tickets are often priced by the weight and kennel size of your pet as well as the destination. There may be exceptions to these prices if you are transporting a therapy pet or a seeing eye dog or traveling on military orders.

Once You Arrive

Once you arrive at your destination, your pet may be facing quarantine. If your papers are in order, this may only be for a few minutes, but in some countries it can be for 10-plus days. The cost per day varies, but could easily exceed $100 per day. Even at $100 per day, if your pet has to remain for 10 days, you will end up spending at least $1,000. In addition to these charges you may also be charged for the following:

  • custom clearances
  • import taxes
  • proxy charges

Once you start the process of getting your pet ready to move overseas, make sure you follow all of the instructions you are given. Failure to do so at best may end up costing you additional money, but at worst it may mean that your pet will not be able to go with you. For more information about moving overseas, reach out to a company that specializes in such moves.