Hong Kong is a bustling region of Asia that maintains separate import requirements from China that couldn't possibly be more different. Where China is rather relaxed with import requirements, Hong Kong is not. Part of Hong Kong is an island which is why their import rules are so strict. Islands, like Hong Kong, that don't have Rabies maintain strict import requirements to keep their countries Rabies free.
In order to bring a pet into Hong Kong, you must follow some very important steps. First, the pet must be 5 months old upon arrival into the country. All pets must be microchipped, preferably with an AVID 9 digit microchip. Most vets in the US do not carry this microchip anymore, so any international chip will suffice. Then, a rabies vaccine is required. This vaccine must be at least 30 days old upon departure but no older than 1 year. Also required are Canine Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo Virus and Feline Panleucopaenia (infectious enteritis) and Feline Respiratory Disease Complex (cat flu)- must be at least 14 days old but no older than one year upon departure.
One other requirement coming from the US is that a vet must agree to the following statement: "The area within 10km of the animal’s place of residence has not reported any cases of rabies in any species (excluding bats) for at least 180 days prior to export to Hong Kong."
Most vets in the US are not willing to say this except for certain areas (notably the Pacific Northwest which hasn't seen rabies in years). For instance, here in Austin, TX, we have rabies in skunks and foxes and bats which can be transmitted to dogs or cats. So in order to get around this, Hong Kong requires we perform a rabies titer test (RNATT). A USDA accredited vet will draw blood, at least 30 days after a rabies vaccine is given, and will send it to Kansas State. If the blood receives a passing result, equal to or above 0.5 IU/mL, the pet can be imported with what's called a supplementary certificate.
Pets with Passports recommends one vet visit 10 days before departure to have the Hong Kong health certificate and the APHIS 7001 completed by your USDA accredited vet. The Hong Kong health certificate must be completed in blue ink and is VERY specific. No mistakes can be made, nothing can be scratched out- no exceptions. These documents are then sent to the USDA for endorsement. An import permit is also required from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
And lastly, pets arriving into Hong Kong absolutely must travel as manifest cargo (unattached to a human ticket). This means they cannot travel in cabin or as excess baggage. There are no exceptions for emotional support animals and typically not even service animals, although check with AFCD if the pet performs life-saving services.
This may all sound confusing, but that's what we're here for! When completed correctly, a Hong Kong move is safe and you'll love living there with your pet! It's a very pet friendly city- lots of great vets, dog parks, even an off-leash dog beach! As always, hiring a professional is imperative to the success of your pet's move so let us know if we can help!
(Barkley spent some time at the Hong Kong airport while transiting to his final destination of Macau!)