Bringing Your Cats and Dogs to Korea

Are you thinking of heading to South Korea with your fur ball?


Regulations change from time to time and also differ country to country so be sure to do your due diligence at least 6 months before you plan to leave. I didn’t check the regulations often enough, missed a new regulation for entrance to South Korea and had to leave my cat behind. Thankfully I had an amazing friend who took her in for 3 years but not everyone is so fortunate. It was one of the hardest good-byes I’ve ever had to say, but now that I’m home and back with my little one, let’s discuss how you can avoid my mistakes.

Dropping Ali off in 2013.

Taking Ali to her temporary home in 2013.

Avoid quarantine (or sending your pet home) by following these guidelines:

New Kittens and Puppies Need:

Cats and dogs less than 3 months old OR originating from rabies-free countries don’t need rabies shots, but they must be microchipped. You must also provide a health certificate from your vet that states the animal’s microchip number. To see if your country is considered rabies-free, click here to see the list.

This Sasquatch is not a kitten.

This Sasquatch is not a kitten.

Cats or Dogs Older Than 90 Days (and Not from a Rabies-Free Country) Need:

1) A microchip implant. Please note that the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency of Korea (QIA) states that microchips must be ISO-compliant (ISO11784 and 11785 standards). For any other chips, owners must bring their own microchip scanner. If your pet is already chipped and you’re not sure of the brand, a quick call to your vet or adoption clinic should get you some answers.


2) Rabies shots which can be done up to 24 months prior to leaving your country according to QIA but only up to 12 months prior to leaving according to If you’re not sure when your pet last got shots, call your vet to find out.


3) Health certificate from your veterinarian. The health certificate must state the results of the rabies-neutralizing antibody test or your pet may need to get the shot again and be held in quarantine while the results are pending – on your dime. It must also have the microchip number on the form and that number must match the scanning results of your animal. If those numbers don’t match, re-chipping may happen and again, on your dime. Some countries have official government health forms (for example in Canada it’s called a CFIA International Health Certificate) so ask your vet.

*If you are transporting 5 or more animals, you’ll need an additional import permit.


4) Blood Titer Test which takes 30 days for results. This is the newer regulation that snuck up on me when I was about to leave in 2013. You can have the blood titer test done anytime from 30 days to 2 years before leaving your country.


This information has been collected for you from and the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency of Korea (QIA). I noticed some discrepancies between the QIA site and so I suggest to take both into consideration and use your best judgement. Considering the QIA site hasn’t been updated since late 2012 and Pet Travel has been updated in 2016, it seems Pet Travel is more reliable. Don’t forget to check up on these sites every so often to make sure no guidelines have changed. For info on other pets not cats or dogs, visit Pet Travel here for more guidance.

I hope this helps! Happy trails to you and your four-legged friends :)


Safely back with mom.

One thought on “Bringing Your Cats and Dogs to Korea

  1. Hey Karluch:
    Good advice for folks heading out from Kanuck Land with a feline or dog or tame wolf or mountain goat or friendly black bear.
    Lots of folks, I presume, have to leave their pet behind because they never done their home work with the Feds and I can only think that if Nana and I had gone to SKorea and couldn’t have brought Sam, that would ruin our stay. Anyway, you’re home, the cat is OK and everyone is happy. The advice is good, so youse done good! And don’t take no wooden nickels neither even though youse are back home in Kanuck Land.
    love youse,
    Nana and gramp xxoo

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