Thursday, October 4, 2012
Well, it has been many months in planning, and so many things to get done. I'm taking my wife and two Italian Greyhounds (KoKo and MayMay) with me on this journey. They will stay in Taiwan while I travel on business in Asia. As you can see, they are patiently waiting for us to leave, and Koko wants to make sure we take her favorite orange ring toy with her.
If you are not familiar with international travel for extended period of time and taking pets as well, then be prepared for an adventure in bureaucracy....
Getting an Export/Import Certificate for our two Italian Greyhounds (IGGYS).
This actually takes a very long time to do. You have to start the process more than 6 months from the planned date of entry into Taiwan with your pets. Since Taiwan is a Rabies FREE country, they have very stringent regulations to keep it that way. There is a nice checklist on line that explains everything you need to do from start to finish.
You have to start by making sure you have lots of cash in your checking account or credit on your credit card for the vet services. Make sure the vet is accredited with the USDA (the vet can confirm this). Then, take your pet to your vet, and making sure all their shots are up to date. This includes the proper rabies shots and boosters. Also, you need to have a readable microchip implanted in your pet. The vet can do this for you in their office. The vet will need to take a blood sample and send it to a Kansas City BAPHIQ designated laboratory along with a complete and signed Veterinary Certificate for the Export of Dogs/Cats to Taiwan to make sure the Rabies virus is killed in the blood sample. The microchip information needs to be on this document from your vet. The lab will complete a FAVN Report Form and return it to the vet. PLEASE remember to get the ORIGINAL FAVN report with the lab sticker attached from your vet, and NOT a copy. Copies may not be accepted later on in this process. Lab results can take 2-4 weeks or more.
Next fill out the application to Import your pet(s) to Taiwan and send it to the BAPHIQ, Hsinchu Branch. You will need your vet certificate, FAVN report, and the application form at minimum to email to Taiwan. If everything is in order, they will email back an official import certificate document with the import license number and information on your pet/pets. All of the above needs to be done more than 30 days prior to arrival in Taiwan.
At least seven (7) to fourteen(14) days prior to arrival, you need to apply to the animal quarantine authority. In the US, it is the USDA APHIS department. But, before going to your local area office, first, get your last health check from your vet (with a lot more cash or credit), and get all of the correct documents signed by your vet. These forms are available on the USDA website for your vet to download. By now you really have severe writers cramps I imagine!
Send by registered mail or take these certificates, original FAVN reports and Health Certificates to the USDA APHIS branch office. Oh, and take a a check or credit card they do not accept cash. This final USDA approval, stamp and signature will cost about $117 for one pet. Once you have this done you are almost ready to travel. Do NOT forget to get a hard plastic airline approved travel cage for your pet if it has to go in the cargo area.
You also have to verify at least 30 days prior to departure for Taiwan that there is room on the plane for your pet(s). Call the airline and make sure they put this pet shipment in your with your air reservation. Double check the week of departure, because my airline changed planesand departure time on me....disaster averted!
Reconfirm with the quarantine office in Taiwan 3 days prior to departure. Arrange travel for your pet with this office from the airport to the quarantine office. Here your pet must remain 3 week before they will release them to you, but you can visit them 5 days a week for 1 hour each if you fill out the request form in advance and email it to them.
Now you can rest for a few days or hours if you procrastinate to the last minute. Relax and enjoy your flight to Taiwan! I have two fun filled relaxing days before my flight..... YEAH!