1. Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

How to Move Internationally with a Parrot

Discussion in 'Bird Boulevard' started by tuesdaynight, 4/14/12.

  1. tuesdaynight

    tuesdaynight Meeting neighbors

    Joined:
    1/13/12
    Messages:
    32
    I'd like to request that this be made into a sticky if possible, this information would have been invaluable to me when planning our move, and I hope it's useful to anyone else who needs some help with this complicated process.

    As promised, here is a breakdown of much of what you'll need to do if you ever plan to move from the United States to another country. This is not a definitive list, but it is a very detailed explanation of my process. It will, of course, be different per country, but much of this will be true regardless of your relocation, and can be used as a reference for your move.

    I am writing this because I found it virtually impossible to find much of this information. There is no centralized database, and most places that you call, including vets, the FWS and the USDA all have inconsistent information. Even pet relocation specialists (which I will touch on more below) rarely know the specifics of what you need, and often hire specialists themselves to handle the actual work.

    I wanted to begin by being frank: moving internationally is not easy! There is an incredible amount of preparation that needs to happen, and even one misstep can set you back months, if not permanently. I don't want to discourage you, because it can be done, but be prepared. I recommend a minimum of four months preparation and ideally six months or more. If your bird is Appendix I, I recommend at least 1 year (more info below in the CITES section). You will be dealing with: the USDA, the US FWS, a foreign Board of Agriculture, Customs agents, airlines, the IATA, and USDA accredited veterinarians.

    Our move was from LA to Sweden

    Your Options

    You have three options when moving. 1) Handle it all yourself 2) Handle most of it yourself while hiring a consultant 3) Hire a relocation specialist to handle the full move.

    Option 1) This the most time consuming, but you have full control.
    Option 2) I went with this options and was sorely disappointed. I would not recommend it. I tried 3 consultants, and they are much more capable at dealing with their own people than they are at disseminating information to you. I was often left frustrated, misinformed, or simply stranded.
    Option 3) If money is not an option (expect the move to cost thousands), I would probably recommend this option. It will likely be what I do on my next relocation, despite the cost.


    What You'll Need

    Here is the general list of all paperwork and such you'll need. Again, this will vary per country, but this list will be a better starting point than anything else you will find on the internet. I will write the list, and then go into detail about each.


    • CITES Export Permit from the United States (3-200-46 and )
    • CITES Import Permit to the country of relocation (in our case EC E9-22GB and E9-79)
    • Veterinary import application to country of relocation (in our case permit D092GB)
    • Veterinary certificate to EU AKA CVED (Common Veterinary Entry Document) for your country of relocation if moving to a European country (European Annex II)
    • USDA Certified H5N1 and H1N1 test and notarization
    • Import Declaration for your country of relocation (European Annex III - usually comes with the CVED)
    • US Interstate and International Certificate of Health (APHIS form 7001)
    • US Fish and Wildlife Service Declaration of Export (USFWS Form 3-177)
    • Approval from your airline of choice
    • Microchip (highly recommended) or leg band.
    • IATA approved pet kennel

    Details


    CITES Export Permit from the United States
    Start this first and early! It takes 2-3 months, and is required for much of the other paperwork including the CITES import permit. Information can be found on the USFWS site. You will need to know your bird's scientific name (easily found on wikipedia) and Appendix number, which can be found on the CITES site (cites.org). Appendix II is the most common, and is for birds that are under no threat of extinction or endangerment. Appendix I is for birds that are endangered or otherwise protected. Birds in this category (such as Cockatoos) are particularly difficult to move. It can be done, but personally, I would not recommend it. Give yourself a minimum of 9 months if you are moving an Index I bird to avoid complications.

    The permit will also ask that you describe the crate you intent to use for shipment - since you likely don't even know this yet, simply give a general idea of what you plan to use. Requirements can be found from specific airlines and the IATA. Information should also be available on the CITES site.

    CITES Import Permit
    First, contact the foreign country's Board of Agriculture to find out their specific requirements. This information can often be found simply on their website. When inquiring for information, you may find it difficult getting a response, but be persistent and patient. It took me several days of emails and waiting for a response before I was able to get in contact with someone who actually knew what they were talking about. Once I did though, they were a priceless resource during the entire process!

    In a slight catch-22, you cannot apply for the CITES import permit until you have the export permit, even though many forms require information from both. Give yourself approximately 1 month to receive the import permit. I was able to send my application via email to speed up the process. If you've filled out the export permit, this form should not have any real surprises. Most import permits also come with a document explaining how to fill it out.

    One challenge, however, was finding the EC Annex (similar to CITES Appendix) for a European import. I never found a database for this information, but instead found previous years annual reports (eg EC 2001 annual report) and located my parrot's species in the list, and found the Annex.

    Veterinary import

    When you contact the foreign countries Board of Agriculture to find out about the CITES, they should also let you know of any additional import permits required. It will still be a good idea to double and triple check these requirement though. They will vary per country.

    Veterinary Certificate to EU (CVED) and import Declaration

    Similar to the veterinary import document, this will vary a little per country. I recommend doing a search for a form that has both English and the language of the Foreign country. It took me a few hours of searching, but I was able to find one for myself. The foreign Board of Agriculture may be able to provide you with one.

    Be careful when you receive this form as the Board of Agriculture isn't always the most up-to-date. In my case the 2007 form and 2010 form had dramatic differences. For example, the 2007 form required a 30 day quarantine at a facility, but the 2010 form allowed for a 10-day in-home isolation (more info on this below).

    This form requires an HS Commodity code, I found a really useful database (actually created for import to China) to find the code. China Hs Code, hs code customs , China tariff code
    I think in almost all of our cases the code will be 010632 (live parrot). The breakdown is like this 01: live animal; 06: other live animal - bird; 32: Psittaciformes, pure-bred

    In my case the CVED required a test for H5N1 and H1N1 - your vet should be able to coordinate this with a lab. My test needed to be done no sooner than the 3rd day of isolation. Once all the requirements are fulfilled, you will need to take this form to an accredited vet within 48 hours of travel, and once it's signed by the vet itrequires USDA validation (see below)

    The Declaration usually comes with the CVED and simply states that you've complied with the requirements of the CVED

    US Interstate and International Certificate of Health (APHIS form 7001)
    This one caught me off guard as I wasn't told about it until the day I was leaving. That aside, some airlines require that you have this Certificate of Health completed before you travel. It will also need to be validated by the USDA. It's a very generic, basic form.

    USDA Certified H5N1 and H1N1 test and validaton/notarization
    Once you've completed the CVED and Certificate of Health, you'll need to take it to the USDA for approval. I recommend going as early as possible because they only have limited office hours, and at this point you're less that 48 hours from traveling. This process was straightforward for me, and costs about 40$.

    As a side note, I highly recommend contacting the USDA early on in this process. In my experience they were the most informed and most helpful (this makes sense as most of this paperwork is their requirement anyway), and they were very friendly the whole time. It's also a good idea to contact them several days before you take your forms in for validation.

    US Fish and Wildlife Service Declaration of Export
    Once you receive your CITES export permit (US), it will come with instructions, as well as link information for filling out this form. This form is pretty basic, however, the tricky part is that it will need to be validated by a US FWS agent the day of your travel (sometimes the day before depending on your situation). This will require some coordination as you must arrange to meet either at the airport or at a branch office (which may be far) and they do not work weekends. This form requires payment, so be prepared.

    In my experience the US FWS agents were extremely friendly and helpful, and a simple call a week or two before your flight to schedule and coordinate a meeting should be all you need.

    You only need the form verified once - so your initial port of departure (eg LAX) should be where you meet. If there is a connecting flight, there is no need to inform the FWS agent at that location. You can also arrange to meet at their office, which simplifies the process further (though may be far out of your way)

    Approval from the Airline

    Now, this process is really hit or miss. The airlines are... ill prepared when it comes to handling birds. They can handle cats and dogs easily enough, but when you mention a bird, the whole system falls apart. You will get misinformation, conflicting information, or you simply will get no information. Here is what I learned along with some recommendations:

    US Airways, United Airlines, and Aeroflot are the only airlines I found that will accept birds in cabin for international flight (something which I recommend if possible). It took me days to track down this information. Delta used to have a good reputation for handling birds, but the merger with Continental in 2012 has send them in a downward spiral - maybe things will improve in the coming years.

    Other airlines, such as SAS and Lufthansa will accept the bird in the cargo hold, in a special area designed for pets that is heated, pressurized and dimly lit (to encourage sleeping). Many airlines, such as Virgin, only accept cats and dogs.

    There are many sites, such as petfriendlytravel, that are great resources for finding airline pet policy, unfortunately the policies change often, so the sites can be out of date. You can try calling the airlines, but I had very bad luck getting through to many of them, and the information varied from agent to agent. Sometimes a quick call will help you determine if birds are even a possibility, and at that point what I recommend is filling out a contact form and getting the official policy in writing.

    When you book your reservation (which I recommend a minimum 3 months in advance), I recommend calling and mentioning the bird multiple times during the conversation. I was able to get my bird approved for the cabin, but even after multiple approvals, when I checked in I was still informed that it would not be allowed. Some convincing words from me, as well as my confirmation email printed out resolved the situation, but this is why it's good to double and triple confirm things.

    Another important piece of information to inquire about is cage dimension requirements - in cabin requirements vary per airline, as do cargo hold requirements. There are great travel cages out there, but you need to know what dimension you'll need.

    Booking a direct flight will save you and your bird a lot of stress, but is not a requirement. I had a connecting flight in another country, and as long as you stay in the international terminal, you should have no complications.

    Microchip or leg band.
    This is another tricky area. First I'll start by mentioning the requirements, then I'll give a small anecdote of my situation.

    Getting your bird micro-chipped will actually significantly improve this process. If it's possible, I highly recommend it. However, there is one important note. In Europe, the 15 digit ISO pet microchip is standard, in the US 9 or 10 digit microchips are standard. This poses a double problem - either the EU side will not be able to read the chip for import or the US side will not be able to read the chip for export. 15 digit is supposedly becoming the standard, but it is possible that you may need to invest in an expensive microchip reader to ensure that the chip can be validated wherever you are. A phone call or email to the respective Airports should allow you to resolve the situation.

    The reason I recommend microchip over leg band (aside from that fact that some vets simply to not approve of leg bands of safety reasons), is that most countries do not recognize leg bands as legitimate identification.

    Now, as for my situation, it was a mess, but it's important for me to tell you because no one had information on this issue. First, my bird is smaller (64g) and microchips are not recommended for birds under 100g. Now, this is a judgement call for you, since it's technically possible to microchip any bird, but I was not comfortable with it. Not only that, but my Vet specifically recommended against it. Second, my bird did not have a leg band. As I mentioned, this is a safety concern for some vets, and it was not even recognized by my country of relocation (Sweden).

    So, at that point I'm pretty much stuck - no band or chip means no official means of identification. However, many phones calls to many different people led me to believe that this would not be a problem because 1) it was only 1 pet bird being moved for personal reasons (vs commercial) 2) I could use "identifying marks" as id, such as scars or coloration (of which there were few - arguably none). Unfortunately, on the day I was leaving I was at the USDA getting my validation, and they informed me that identifying marks were in no way acceptable. They said they'd validate my forms, but made no guarantee, and said that it would complicate our return the the US (should we decide to do so). At that point I had to make a judgement call, and ended up getting a leg band put on at the USDA office. They also provided notarized paperwork stating that it was valid ID - especially for re-entry.

    I think the lesson of my story is: the more official your form of ID the better. I tried my hardest to do what I thought was best by avoiding microchips and leg bands, but it ultimately backfired.

    Quarantine

    This varies per country, and many countries do not have official quarantine facilities, which means you'll need to book a reservation at another country's facilities, so this may require homework. Most countries also have multiple options (pre-movement quarantine, post-movement quarantine, vaccination, isolation, etc)

    I did everything I possibly could to avoid a quarantine, and my research led me to discover that a 10 day pre-movement isolation was acceptable. Now, you'll probably get conflicting information on what the difference between "isolation" and "quarantine" is, but the only thing that matters is what the USDA tells you it means. In our case, an at-home isolation was considered acceptable, especially since we have no other birds (this only makes sense, but you'd be surprised...)

    Luckily for me, my move was more dependent on being given a clean bill of health beforehand than on quarantine.

    The Actual Move/Travel

    Once you've done everything you possibly can, now comes the actual day of travel. I won't lie - it's going to be extremely stressful, but luckily, it should ultimately be the most straightforward part, and it will be over relatively soon!

    It should be noted that most Customs officials require at least 48 hours notice of your arrival. I recommend contacting them a week in advance - this will vary per country and per airport.

    But, I did find that customs agents, flight staff, official vets, and government agents were all very kind to our situation (and many are very surprised - moving a bird is not a common venture!). I also found (somewhat frustratingly) that most of these officials barely even glance at your paperwork - the airlines especially (my airline didn't even look at my 7001 ><). As I mentioned, this is largely because people don't know what actually needs to be done, so your paperwork all looks the same to them. At the end of the day though, you'll know you did it correctly and, should anything happen, you will be officially "protected".

    Finally, It's important to keep your bird hydrated - planes are very dry, and you may be traveling for the better part of 24 hrs. It's recommended that you move away from dry foods (pellets) the evening before, and make sure you bird has had plenty to drink. Bring juicy fruits such as grapes, strawberries and apples - this will ensure that even if your bird is not comfortable drinking, they will be getting some liquids. If you can, take a break during the flight or during a transfer to go to the restroom with your bird to not only give them some peace and quiet away from people, but you can also give them a drink or treat.

    If your bird had to go in the cargo hold, tape care instructions to the crate - the flight staff should be required to check on your pet and fulfill any needs.

    I hope this helps! Information like this would have been a godsend to me several months ago. If I remember more information, or if I learn anything new, I will try to update this post. Good luck!

    Small disclaimer: this is my personal experience and information, this information is not official in any way. That said, I've painstakingly researched this for months, and believe this to be one of the most thorough breakdowns you'll find.
     
    Last edited: 4/14/12
    Savi, peppermint, Tami B and 21 others like this.
  2. ArloDuncan

    ArloDuncan Rollerblading along the road

    Joined:
    2/28/11
    Messages:
    1,433
    Location:
    CT
    Real Name:
    Steve
    Awesome info to have for those that might travel internationally. Well done and so glad you arrive safely after all your months of preparation. You should write your story and submit it to bird talk Magazine also.:)
     
    Wasabisaurus and dolldid like this.
  3. Chantilly Lace

    Chantilly Lace Rollerblading along the road Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Veteran

    Joined:
    3/31/11
    Messages:
    4,829
    Location:
    South Florida
    Real Name:
    Chantel
    This is by far the most detailed article I have seen about International travel with parrots. Thank you!
     
    Percy&Ivan and dolldid like this.
  4. southernbirds

    southernbirds Rollerblading along the road

    Joined:
    11/8/09
    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Excellent post. Sharing of this information will be valuable.in the future.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. LitByKristen

    LitByKristen Meeting neighbors

    Joined:
    11/2/12
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    AZ
    Real Name:
    Kristen
    THANK YOU SOO MUCH for your information!!:hug1: Im going to copy and paste this into a document to save. We are planning?dreaming of moving to Europe, preferably in the next 5 years. And Ive already looked into the info for our dogs, but to move Bocelli will be much more intensive apparently, and I am SOO grateful for this info, so I get it all done correctly!!!
     
    Wasabisaurus and dolldid like this.
  6. LitByKristen

    LitByKristen Meeting neighbors

    Joined:
    11/2/12
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    AZ
    Real Name:
    Kristen
    I agree!!!!
     
  7. bygbyron3

    bygbyron3 Strolling the yard

    Joined:
    10/27/12
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    New York
    Real Name:
    Byron
    Thanks for consolidating and posting all this information; I'm moving cross-country in the United States but a lot of this still applies.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Nevermores Mum

    Nevermores Mum Sprinting down the street

    Joined:
    3/28/13
    Messages:
    329
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Real Name:
    Kacie
    Thank you! We are considering moving back to Hawaii and we just discovered that they require alot of this. This will be SO helpful. Very well written also.
     
  9. Ueda96

    Ueda96 Rollerblading along the road Avenue Veteran

    Joined:
    10/24/10
    Messages:
    3,073
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Real Name:
    Jay
    Great post.
     
  10. mrstweet

    mrstweet Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award

    Joined:
    1/25/11
    Messages:
    4,214
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Real Name:
    Amanda
    Oh my gosh THANK YOU!
     
  11. Mamanda

    Mamanda Meeting neighbors

    Joined:
    6/1/12
    Messages:
    27
    Very informative!
     
  12. Icey

    Icey Rollerblading along the road

    Joined:
    2/29/16
    Messages:
    2,026
    Location:
    Wales, United Kingdom
    Real Name:
    Ann
    Yes it is good information, and gives good time frames of what needs done and when.
    We brought all our animals (dog) and 2 B&G's (Frankie and Bebe) from Canada to the UK last year.
    It can be stressful if it's not planned out well.
     
  13. Clueless

    Clueless Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

    Joined:
    11/3/12
    Messages:
    16,977
    Awesome information!
     
  14. Icey

    Icey Rollerblading along the road

    Joined:
    2/29/16
    Messages:
    2,026
    Location:
    Wales, United Kingdom
    Real Name:
    Ann
    It cost us $2800.00 just for the dog (Teddy) flight, another $600 for the vet fees for all the vaccines and microchip. And he didn't even get to fly first class lol
     
  15. Clueless

    Clueless Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

    Joined:
    11/3/12
    Messages:
    16,977
    Wow
     
  16. Icey

    Icey Rollerblading along the road

    Joined:
    2/29/16
    Messages:
    2,026
    Location:
    Wales, United Kingdom
    Real Name:
    Ann
    Frankie was already banded, so he was okay. Bebe had to get microchipped. The total for both birds was about $1500.00
    We were upset because if we had brought our other macaw it would have only been another $300.00. But we had sold her already :(
    They also had to be in isolation for 30 days which was a challenge in itself...they didn't like being away from us during the day.
    But after all was said and done they didn't take long to settle down over here and get into a routine :)
     
  17. Wasabisaurus

    Wasabisaurus Cruising the avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

    Joined:
    2/2/10
    Messages:
    10,400
    Location:
    Land of Confusion
    Real Name:
    Mother Monster

    We will be moving 500 miles to Canada about 7 years from now, but I think it would still be considered an International move and I'll have to jump through the hoops as everyone else.

    A million thank yous for contributing this information!!!
     
  18. Percy&Ivan

    Percy&Ivan Rollerblading along the road Shutterbugs' Best

    Joined:
    4/12/16
    Messages:
    4,209
    Thanks!
     
  19. Tami B

    Tami B Walking the driveway

    Joined:
    6/29/16
    Messages:
    183
    Wow.
    Thanks for this detailed info!
    If I move, my pets will come with me!!!

    Just this March, I traveled to Europe with one off my dogs (which I've done many times without any issues), and got stuck in Atlanta for 3 days, since no-one from the airline had a clue.
    I had all my paperwork in order (I have a vet that deals with international pet travels on a regular basis!)
    They were trying to tell me that they don't take dogs on overseas flights, but prove of that was nowhere to be found (at least not accessible to a simple person), and there were instruction on pet travel on their website, but nothing about "no oversea flights with pets".
    And I had mentioned the dog during booking!
    They ended up rebooking me to a direct flight, with a one-time exception!

    Needless to say, I won't book airCanada again.
    My experience: use Lufthansa (even though it's a sister company to AC!) - that's what we used for return flight ... And had No issues!
     
  20. Jobot

    Jobot Walking the driveway

    Joined:
    8/11/16
    Messages:
    223
    Real Name:
    Jo
    I've considered what it would take to move to another country with my parrot, but like you, found very little info on the matter. So this is really helpful. Thank you!
     

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)