Guide to the Import of Pets into South Korea: Documents and Requirements

Author Veterinary Consultant
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Guide to the Import of Pets into South Korea: Documents and Requirements

1. Are you planning on traveling to South Korea with your pet?

Do you wish to have a relaxing time with your pet? Do you want to view the vibrant red maples and blossom pink cherry trees? Follow these guidelines on how to import your pet to South Korea!

Since December 1, 2012, new rules regarding the import of pets into the Republic of Korea have been enacted, according to which pets of any age can be transported as long as specified prerequisites are met. Hence, puppies aged fewer than 90 days are exempt from the rabies antibody testing requirement. Adult dogs must receive a chip, vaccination, and a quarantine certificate as well.

It is not allowed to transport pregnant females and certain dog breeds into South Korea:

  • Tosa Inu or Japanese mastiff;
  • American pitbull Terrier;
  • Rottweiler;
  • Staffordshire Terrier;
  • Bull Terrier;
  • Mastiff;
  • Laika;
  • Cane Corso;
  • Shepherd.

Carrying certain breeds of dogs, such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, and Toy Terriers in the cargo section is prohibited. Likewise, transporting Persian, Burmese, and Himalayan cats in the cargo is not allowed. No more than 3 animals per passenger are allowed for transportation, with one in the cabin and two in the cargo section at most.

Getting ready

To import a pet into South Korea, the following items must be obtained:

  • Veterinary passport;
  • Microchip;
  • Rabies vaccination;
  • Rabies Antibody titer test;
  • International veterinary certificate.

Please note that the test for determining the rabies antibody titer must be conducted between 30 days and 24 months prior to the date of travel.

Паспорт животного.
Veterinary passport. A Veterinary Passport is an official document issued by a state veterinary clinic that contains important details about the animal, such as breed, age, and vaccination records. Additionally, a 15-digit identification code is also provided for a microchip that is implanted under the pet's skin, which serves as a unique identifier for the animal.
Microchip. The microchip for your pet needs to meet specific technical specifications and international standards, such as HDX or FDX-B technology, and comply with standards ISO 11784 and ISO 11785. If your pet already has a traditional chip installed, there is no need to change it, but you must have a compatible reader with you when transporting your pet overseas.
Vaccinations. Vaccinations are required for any animal over 90 days old. In addition to a rabies vaccination, your pet must be vaccinated against a range of other diseases, including plague, infectious hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus enteritis, and more.
Тест на титр антител к вирусу бешенства.
Rabies Antibody Titer Test. Rabies Antibody Titer Test is conducted a minimum of 30 days following vaccination, as that is when the vaccine starts to take effect. This serological investigation is performed only by authorized anti-rabies laboratories, including «NoviStem» LLC. The acceptable concentration of antibodies in the blood of the animal must be at least 0.5 IU/ml. If the rate is too low, then supplemental rabies vaccinations must be administered. Remember, it's essential to schedule a test in advance, at least 2-3 months before departure.

Customs and Flight

When preparing to travel with your pet, it is crucial to arrive at the airport a minimum of 3 hours before the flight's departure to exchange the Veterinary Certificate Form 1 for a Veterinary Certificate Form 5a at the airport customs. Additionally, you must present the full set of documents at check-in for the flight and purchase a suitable kennel according to the IATA Pet Transportation Rules.

Be informed that not all airlines provide pet transport services: for instance, in South Korea, the transportation of animals is typically handled by KoreanAir and AsianaAirlines.


Are there limitations on the weight of animals when traveling aboard an aircraft?
The total weight of the animal (in its kennel) during air transportation in the cargo section cannot exceed 45 kg. Furthermore, cats or dogs that weigh less than 7 kg have the option to be transported in the cabin of the aircraft.
What age requirement exists for pets being allowed to accompany travelers onboard an airplane?
Pets older than 8 weeks are allowed to be carried in the passenger cabin of an aircraft. In contrast, adult animals that are at least 16 weeks old can be transported in the cargo section of the plane.
What other animal species can be imported into South Korea?
In addition to dogs, cats and birds, you may also bring exotic animals to South Korea as long as they are not listed in the CITES Convention on endangered species. Rabbits, hamsters, and snakes, however, are not permitted to be imported into the country.
Useful tips

It is possible to bring an animal into South Korea without a quarantine period, provided that it has a valid quarantine certificate stating the results of rabies antibody titer test. This certificate is issued by a certified anti-rabies laboratory, such as «NoviStem» LLC, and is required to confirm the animal's health status and ensure safe entry into the country.