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Importing a dog into the UAE - innoculations, certificates and permits
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
In most Asian countries crossing borders with a dog poses no significant problem. In more developed countries like the UAE, Oman and Saudi there are pet import rules similar to importing pets into Europe. For our journey to the UAE we went through the process of obtaining an import permit for Indra - our swiss shepherd. We arranged the UAE import permit through the Internet while travelling through Pakistan and Iran.

Pet Import Papers for the UAE

To import a pet into the UAE, the owner needs an import permit. The permission authorised by the ministry of Environment & Water allows you travel with your pet into the UAE without too much hassle. We entered the UAE at Port Khalid – Sharjah by ferry from Bandar Abbas - Iran. And later on from Oman to the UAE through the Hatta land border. (more about this entry later on) For most Europeans with pets the procedure to obtain the import permit is moderately easy. For a dog you need the following papers:

1.    Chip registration
2.    Pet passport based on chip registration
3.    Rabies inoculation (with labels of the production batch)
4.    Rabies certificate (Rabies serology report)
5.    Yearly inoculations. (Parvo etc)
6.    Health certificate less than 10 days old
7.    200 Dirham on a e-Dirham card. (about € 38,-)
8.    Import permit

The main focus is on 3 & 4. There are different rabies inoculations some valid upto 3 years. The rabies certificate proves there are antibodies in the blood. The test is done by an independent laboratory using the FAVN test after the inoculation.

Pet Import preparations

With a rabies inoculation validity of 3 years there is no need to repeat the inoculation or to get the obtain a new certificate upto the 3rd year. Even when coming from countries where rabies is still reality . (Like Iran and Pakistan). This is an important detail because obtaining a new certificate while travelling can pose a problem or even prove to be impossible.

The health certificate proves the dog has no signs of infectious diseases. It must be less than 10 days old. For this we visited the Ministry of Jihad – e – Agriculture in Bandar Abbas. Doctor R. Vahdani checked our dog and made the health certificate in English. Office GPS Location in Bandar Abbas : N27 11' 43" E56 20' 01"

The import permit can be obtained through the website at It takes a few days to process and results in an import number and a printout through Internet Explorer of the permit. For this you need to supply copies of the items 1 thru 5.

E-dirham chip card of 200 AED
E-dirham chip card of 200 AED
The e-Dirham card was sent to us by Aramex from Abu Dhabi. It took 3 working days for the card to arrive in Bandar Abbas from Abu Dhabi. With this e-Dirham card the health officer is paid on arrival. Brit vets in Abu Dhabi arranged this card for us through a payment using an international bank transfer.
Update about the E-dirham card at end of this story.

Pet quarantine in the UAE

Without items 6 to 8 it’s still possible to enter the UAE with your pet. However the whole procedure is done on arrival which can take upto a few days. Officially the pet(s) should be in quarantine in the airport in Dubai in the meanwhile. However when you arrive with a mobile home it might be enough to keep your pets inside till all paperwork is completed. But this flexibility might depend on the officer on duty at that moment.

Pet import from Oman

At the start of April 2008 we returned to the UAE coming from Oman crossing the Hatta border. The procedure at the UAE side of the border was much easier. We already had the import permit when we left the UAE including the e-Dirham card. The only extra condition the vet at the border station imposed on us was we had to finish immigration and custom procedures first. Then our papers were processed after a quick and distant look at Indra. Indra's health certificate we got from the vet at the airport in Muscat. Very easy procedure and free of charge. At the Hatta border they have clearly more experience with people crossing the border with pets.

UPDATE:: 21 november 2008

On the border from Oman to the UAE the health officer tried to use the E-dirham card. The EPOS terminal showed "card error" making it impossible to make the payment. Not surprisingly, we could pay in cash with an addedd 5 AED to cover expenses. Back in the UAE we checked the E-dirham card balance through the E-dirham website, (cardnumber on the backside) it showed 200 AED. The health officer told us, the card must be activated at the postoffice - a somewhat strange story. Anyhow, if possible check the E-dirham card through the E-dirham website when possible! 
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