I recently flagged that I'd tell you about bringing pets into Vanuatu.


We have first hand experience with this, as we brought our 2 "Rag Doll" cats with us in 2016.


We chose to use a specialist animal logistics company in Australia. A bit if research and getting quotations showed a lot of disparity in price, so it's an area to tread carefully. Make sure the outfit you choose will handle the whole thing end-to-end. You don't want breakdowns in communication leaving your darlings in limbo at "some airport somewhere"


For us the major thing was the welfare of our girls. They had been together since before birth, from the same litter in 2020. So in 2016 they were 16 years old, not spring chickens any more, although our own vet said they presented like 5-year-olds. We didn't want them unnecessarily delayed and in a scary environment for more than was absolutely necessary.


We chose a company which could handle the entire thing, from us delivering the girls to their facility in Cairns, Queensland Australia, flying them to the export port (Brisbane) and finally us getting them back right at the International airport in Port Vila, Vanuatu.


They gave us advice on the procedure and the paperwork we would need. In this case it involved a few trips to a vet that had the relevant license to give the various treatments that would be needed to ensure to the authority's satisfaction that no unwanted parasites could be hitching a ride into Vanuatu.


We made sure they were separated from us for the minimum time by choosing an airline and a flight that meant when we arrived, the animal import handling office in Port Vila would have a vet on duty to conduct their inspections and sign off. This meant we could take them to their new home straight away.


There is a mandatory holding period in Australia and several procedures that need to be done at certain fixed times before departure. This meant we delivered the girls to Cairns early one morning. They were flown to Brisbane to spend the mandatory holding time, and the next day were loaded onto the same flight as us, although we left Cairns and flew to Brisbane the morning following their departure.


The "same flight as us" is the important part of the above paragraph. Planes and flights get delayed, even re-routed. We didn't want any risk of us being on one end and the girls on the other end.


Landing in Port Vila we were processed through customs without incident - even with our 6 large suitcases, one of which was filled with "cat stuff."


We asked where the animal import office was, and were gratified to find it was part of the same complex, only about 100 metres walk away.


So we presented our papers, and a vet - a friendly and jolly kind of man - said he had already examined them and they were fine.


Whew! this was the biggest adventure of their lives, even bigger than when they travelled with us in a car the 1,340 kilometres from west of Brisbane to North Queensland in 2005.


The vet said we would wait no more than 20 minutes while the final process was completed.


The fact that it had all gone so smoothly was a testament to all the the careful planning. We had looked at each point in the journey to make sure ALL the relevant papers were ready. Nothing was left to the last minute. We knew the pre-travel treatments had to be started 4-6 weeks before departure.


This is the main lesson I want you to learn. Research thoroughly, find out EVERYTHING that might be needed, think about what sticking points there may be and prepare for them.


Finally our girls were reunited with us after about 34 hours apart. Not sure who was more relieved, them or us!


For my clients who arrange their citizenship or residence visa through me, I give more details of which companies have a good reputation, and a checklist for importing pets if you want to bring your darlings with you.


Note that with all the procedures involved, and including buying special pet air-freight crates, it actually cost considerably more to fly the cats into Vanuatu than ourselves!


Let me tell you, the rules for bringing pets into Vanuatu are designed to maintain their bio-security, but not over-the-top like some other countries.


For example, if we had gone the other way, there is a mandatory 2-week animal quarantine period in Australia, and only one place in the entire country where this is done... it's expensive, and it's over 2,000 kilometres from where we lived.


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Lance (stroking our cats) in Vanuatu