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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shipping our Cats to Korea

Both our cats are coming with us to Korea. Rather, I’m shipping them from the US, my husband will receive them in Korea.
We went through an IPATA certified shipper.   We went with Air Animal Inc. I’ll give them a more thorough review after our cats get to Korea.   Before I hired them though I looked into what would be required to get our cats out of the US and into Korea. Korea’s requirements aren’t that bad.
1.       Need to have a rabies vaccination < 1year but more then 30 days. If less than 30 days, then they have to sit in quarantine until the 30 day mark is reached.
2.       Need to have a Health Certificate by a certified veterinarian (this means the USDA certified vet for your state…. Which means you’ll have to send off for the certification, the USDA has its own rules and regs and it’s a lot harder getting a straight answer from them)
An IPATA shipper, depending on how much you’re willing to pay them, will sort out all this paperwork for you. Pick your pets up at your front door, provide appropriate kennels and supplies, they will transfer your pet (make sure they don’t get lost at an airport), get them through customs, and deliver them to your door at the end.
Because I had so much trouble finding out costs before I did this, I’m going to provide our breakdown here for anyone who might be using this as a reference for their own move. And let me just say, Thank God Shannon’s company is paying for this.
$350       Residential pickup/airport delivery
$403       International health certificates with USDA endorsements
$500       Domestic Cargo
$350       Airline Transfer
$950       International Cargo with Insurance
$1200    Customs clearance, duties fees, and residential delivery
$945       Pet Move Management Fee
$4698    Total
I probably could have done this for cheaper (they call this the VIP treatment). It was worth it to me to have them take care of everything so I wouldn’t have to stress out about this. A month on my own trying to figure out from the USDA certified vet what we needed to do (they gave me 10 year old documents about what’s required by Korea and then contradicted that information on the next page, not to mention pricing charts that had farm animal information instead of pet information) convinced me that it was worth any price to have someone else figure it all out and get my pets safely to me. Also, they’ll have someone who speaks Korean escorting our cats through clearance at the end.  (That’s why customs clearance is so expensive!)
My experience thus far is I would recommend this route to anyone who can take it. I’ll let you know if I still feel that way in April.


  1. WOW is that crazy to ship pets. Would have been cheaper to have the Vet give the kittys a sleeping shot, and packed them in a box and ship them over-nite via ups/fedex, etc. And when they woke up, they would be in Korea. lol but that is a good thing Shannon's company is paying for it.

    ps it only let me post this via anonymous. this is mike spano

  2. now i figured out how to do

  3. I think you can post under your Google ID if you have one.... And I think sticking them in a box all drugged up might be considered animal abuse, lol.

    Dee also had pretty much the same question, she asked why I couldn't bring the kitties on the plane with me.

    In response, I probably could, but it would be 2 cats, so at least 2 seats, and it's 26 hours of flying. Unlike dogs, you can't take cats for a walk to go pee at the airport, my cats at least won't do that. They get too distracted by everything around them and the fact that they're wearing a leash. And then, I'd have to get them through customs and I don't speak Korean! Yikes!

    I'll write another blog on Kennel preperation, there's very specific regulations on what they can travel in and what can travel with them.

    If it was a closer move... well if it was closer I'd probably just drive my cats there anyway. Like anywhere in the continental US. :D

  4. Yeah true that might be animal abuse, and don't want to do that, but man, I am in the wrong buisness. I need to start shipping animals

  5. there any cheaper route? My heart just broke...

  6. I'm sure there's a cheaper way. But since Shannon's company was paying.... This was the VIP shipment, before I added in someone to meet them at customs and escort them from plane to plane, it was more like $2000(for 2 animals).

    Call AirAnimal, or any IPATA shipper and explain your situation, I'm sure they'll work with you. (For example, you could offer to take your pet to the airport yourself -$350, you could get the international health certificate/USDA endorsements yourself -$403, you could meet your pets at the end airport and get them through customs yourself -$1200)

    Keep in mind that all these minuses, would include some pluses. Like getting the USDA endorsement I heard can cost $200 just in paperwork and is quite a headache. Also, you have to have your vet sign-off on your pets health (health certificate) within 10 days of arrival in the foreign country, and the health certificate has to be sent to the USDA to get the USDA endorsement before that.

    I did a lot of research trying to do it myself before I found out I could have an IPATA shipper do it for me. I heard a lot of horror stories about pets being lost at layovers and not being able to get your pet through Korean customs because you can't speak Korean (hence the $1200 cost)....

    Keep in mind too, I was bringing cats to Korea. They adapt well to apartments, and we don't have to walk them. Koreans only have tiny dogs when they have them at all. Toy and Miniature size. There just isn't room for larger dogs unless you own a farm in the country.