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A guide to pet policies in Shanghai

Bringing your pets (only cats or dogs are allowed) to the city is possible, but the quarantine procedure is as complicated as you can imagine. With a whole set of original documents, including a health certificate and a rabies vaccination certificate, your pet will also need to go through a 30-day compulsory quarantine by the entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities, according to current rules.


With one passport, you can bring only one pet. After your pet has passed the quarantine examination, you should register it at the local police department under the name of a local Chinese resident. You may need to seek help from a local Chinese you trust to accomplish the mission.

Click here (http://www.shciq.gov.cn/english/ ) for the official Website of Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

Below are the general steps involved in bringing your pet with you to China:

1. Present a valid passport for each pet - (only one pet is allowed per passport).

2. Book your and your pet’s flights (this must be done at the same time). Also, make sure you have a pet carrier/cage that will be approved by the airline. Some airlines have specific rules on the type of carrier you can use (such as pets must be able to stand on all legs, turnaround, and still have clearance on top).

3. There are two specific types of documentation that you must have with you upon arrival:

Rabies vaccination records – you get this from your vet

International Health Certificate – usually issued by your country’s agricultural department/agency

4. You’ll need to have 2,000 RMB in cash with you upon arrival. If arriving to Shanghai Pudong International Airport at Terminal 1, there is a Citibank ATM just before you leave immigration and right before you descend to the Baggage Claim area.

5. If personally handling your pet’s transport then go directly to the Plant & Quarantine office upon arrival (it will be one of the small rooms just opposite one of the baggage carousels). If you have hired a service, there should be an assigned agent waiting for you near the baggage area to escort you to the office. Again in this case, you may be better off using a pet relo firm to help you through the processing at the Plant & Quarantine office especially if you don’t have someone traveling with you who speaks Chinese.There is a 30-day quarantine period for dogs (cats aren’t required to be quarantined). The first seven days are mandatory quarantine (as of 2007). The quarantine facility is located in Qingpu District. If after seven days the dog’s health has been approved, they can then be transferred to your home to spend the rest of the 23 days in “at home” quarantine. However, during this time they are technically not allowed to be outside. At the end of the 30 days, the Plant & Quarantine agency will send an inspector to come to your home to complete the final processing for your dog.

The contact details for the Plant & Quarantine offices in Shanghai are listed below:

Pudong International Airport

Address: 900 Qihang Rd
Tel: 021- 3848 4500

Hongqiao Airport

Address: 2550 Hongqiao Rd

Tel: 021- 6268 8918

Animal Plant & Quarantine Bureau

Address: 13 Zhongshan No. 1 Rd E.

Tel: 021- 6586 3030

If you are importing your dog, the next step after getting approval from the Plant & Quarantine is to obtain a dog license.

The Dog License


Dogs are required to get a license in Shanghai. The license fee for a dog in Shanghai ranges from 300 yuan to 500 yuan depending on location. The license is valid for one year, after which you must reapply for a renewal of the license and pay the license fee again.

Having a dog license means that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies. If an owner does not have the dog license on them at the moment they’re confronted by a dog catcher, the dog is often taken. When a dog is taken, the owner is almost guaranteed never to get him or her back. In many cases, the dog catcher will not even allow the owner to go upstairs to fetch the license. Thus, it is vital to get your dog licensed and take it with your dog at all times.

Fortunately, the dog license application process has improved over the years and is now a fairly straight forward process once you confirm the list of requirements, paperwork to complete and where to go to submit them. The completed paperwork should be taken to the designated police station in your district that is responsible for the handling of dog license applications. Note though that you won’t find anyone there who speaks English, so it’s best to bring along a Chinese friend or colleague to help translate.

Below are the basic requirements for applying for a dog license in Shanghai.

- A completed Dog License application form. Note that if you are renting an apartment in a compound, you are required to get the management company to chop the application form.

- Dog owner’s Passport

- Your apartment lease (if you’re renting) or proof of ownership

- One 1" color photo of the owner and one 3" color photo of the dog (where the whole body is visible in photo)

- Proof of work/business in Shanghai

If someone else is applying on your behalf, a written authorization and the ID of the representative are required.

Note that foreigners can only get the permit if they are staying in Shanghai for more than one year. It normally takes 10 days to process the application after all forms have been submitted.

Click here to check how to buy or adopt pets in Shanghai.

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