International Pet Transport Logistics Help Needed
September 25, 2016 1:11 AM   Subscribe

I'll be moving from Korea to Arizona in December and wondering how to also bring my pet hamster to the US. What kind of paperwork do I need to be prepared for? Do airlines take hamsters? My preliminary research seems to point to probably not but maybe if you negotiate well? But then how do you avoid the cargo bay? What with the sensitive and loaded nature of transporting animals and scammers on the internet, are there any reputable international pet transport services that people have had good experiences with that also takes hamsters?

I'm currently in Korea and planning on moving to the US. I have a hamster and expected that my family could take care of her in my absence, but it looks like while it's technically possible, it would be ideal if I could just bring her with me during my move.

I've checked out CDC and state government sites that state that most animals including hamsters like in my case do not require special paperwork to be accepted into the United States barring state specific laws but I do not believe this is applicable in my case. I'm also aware that shipping services and airlines may require health certification of my hamster to make sure she's fit to travel, and I believe I will be able to acquire the appropriate paperwork as needed. Is there anything else I need to know on this front?

I have already arranged my travel plans and since checked the pet policy for my airline carriers (Asiana Airlines and Delta respectively). It seems as though both only accept dogs, cats and birds as carry on pets. There are cargo options I could potentially explore, but I'm concerned about the stressful conditions of a cargo hold, so I'm considering a pet transport service. However I'm concerned about the well being of my hamster in this process as well as scammers so I was wondering if this is even feasible in the first place and if so what options do I have?
posted by maykasahara to Pets & Animals (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I moved from Texas to Korea in 2005, then back to Texas again in 2008, then to Amsterdam last November, all with my Boston terrier (who, sadly, passed away at the ripe old age of 14 about a month ago). I don't know about hamsters but I can tell you my experience as it replates to my dog.

For the first move we used a pet transport company. The price was roughly the same as a full-price business-class ticket, so: expensive. But, since we were moving from a hot weather state in the middle of summer with a brachycephalic dog our options were limited — many airlines do not allow dogs to fly in cargo* when temps at any point on the destination are above a certain level. The transport company also took care of the health certificate and the microchipping, so it was a package deal. Gus got to spend an overnight in, oddly enough, Amsterdam before meeting us in Seoul.

*Gus, despite being a somewhat small dog, was juuuuuuust over the height and weight limit to fly in the cabin with us. Pets must be small enough that they can be stowed under the seat with enough room to stand up and turn around.

For the move back to Texas, and for the most recent move to the Netherlands, we did everything ourselves. I started by calling the airline and asking what the policies were and what steps I needed to take: make sure microchip was still fuctioning and the correct format readable by European machines, get health certificate, book spot on plane. The reservation this most recent time cost about $125, so significantly cheaper than the pet transport company. You also need to find out what vaccines (if any) are required and whether you need to pay taxes on the animal. For Korea. US I don't think there are any government fees.

I would start with calling your airlines. If it turns out you need to hire a pet transport company I think you'll be fine. All the ones I've researched seem on the up-and-up. Just read reviews. It might be more expensive but it also might be your only option short of rehoming the animal.
posted by Brittanie at 8:41 AM on September 25, 2016

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