Making Aliyah with Pets

For most animal lovers, a household pet is another member of the family. Pets are required to go through a separate approval process before they will be allowed entry into Israel. Israel’s Misrad Hachaklaut (Ministry of Agriculture)Reshut Hateva V’haganim (Nature Reserves Authority) and EL AL Israel Airlines each have specific regulations that determine which pets are eligible to travel on flights and be approved for entry into Israel. Coordinating your pet’s Aliyah requires advanced planning.

DISCLAIMER:

NBN will not be held responsible if you do not fulfill Misrad Hachaklaut’s and/or EL AL’s requirements, and your pet is denied passage to or entry into the State of Israel.

  • If EL AL cannot accommodate your pet due to size, type or FAA Regulations, EL AL has the right to deny your pet passage.
  • The information in this email and on our website is strictly a resource/guide to assist you in understanding the basic rules & requirements. It has been taken from Misrad Hachaklaut and EL AL’s websites as of May 2010 and/or was communicated to Nefesh B’Nefesh by Dr. Shlomo Garazi, Misrad Hachaklaut’s Chief Import & Export Veterinary Officer.
  • It is your responsibility to contact Misrad Hachaklaut and EL AL to verify their most current policy and to ensure you have correctly fulfilled all governmental & airline requirements.
  • The information noted here and on our website only covers Israel’s import regulations; it is your responsibility to research and fulfil any additional export requirements of the North America and the U.K.
  • Misrad Hachaklaut reserves the right to refuse entry to Israel or destroy any pet that is not properly certified and/or that is illegal to import.

Eligibility for Import
Exams, Procedures & Documentation required for Import
EL AL’s Pet Policy
Wildlife
For Further Information

Eligibility for Import:

  • All animals without proper documentation, as mandated by Misrad Hachaklaut, Reshut Hateva v’Haganim and EL AL, and animals under the age of 4 months are illegal to import.
  • Provided they are in good health: cats, household birds (not including rare or exotic birds), rabbits, rodents & most dogs are generally approved for import.
  • It is prohibited to import a dog belonging to one of the following dangerous breeds: Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaff), Bull Terrier, Fila Brazileiro, Staffordshire Bull Terrier (English staff), Tosa Inu (Japanese Tosa), Rottweiler and Argentinian Dogo. In addition to this, a dog that is a cross with one of the above dangerous breeds, and that exhibits behavioural patterns and/or physical traits similar to those of a dangerous breed, will also be prohibited import.
  • Reptiles, amphibians and rare or exotic birds are classified as wildlife. Animals that fall into one of these categories, that in general are considered normal household pets, are usually approved for import after receiving special approval from Misrad Hachaklaut and Reshut Hateva v'Haganim.
  • It is illegal to import monkeys and a number of animals classified as wildlife by Misrad Hachaklaut and Reshut Hateva v'Haganim, i.e., species that do not usually live with human beings in their natural habitat.
  • To determine if your pet is considered wildlife, see: Wildlife

Exams, Procedures & Documentation Required for Import Approval:

Rabies Vaccine:

  • Must be administered within the year, and no less than a month prior to the pet’s arrival in Israel. (This is an Israeli requirement, even if the vaccine given to your pet is valid for more than a year.)
  • After the vaccine is administered you must ensure to obtain a copy of the International Certificate of Rabies Vaccine, issued by your veterinarian.

Rabies Serological (Titer) Test – for Dogs and Cats: 

  • This test measures the levels of the Rabies Antibodies in your pet, after a Rabies vaccine has been administered.  Positive results are required prior to completion of the Health certificate.
  • The results of the test must be obtained from an authorized laboratory. They need to show that your pet is responding to the rabies vaccine and that it is producing a sufficient level of antibodies.
  • Obtaining the results of the rabies serological test may take anywhere from 1-3 months depending on the lab in your area.
  • If your pet fails the test, another rabies vaccine will need to be administered and your pet will need to be retested a month later.
  • Once your pet has passed the Rabies serological test it is good for life if you have the results officially documented.

Written Permission to Import Animals Considered Wildlife:

  • Written Permission to import any animal considered as wildlife, must be obtained from Reshut Hateva v’Haganim several months prior to your pet’s arrival in Israel. This is in addition to complying with the regulations of Misrad Hachaklaut & EL AL.
  • Reshut Hateva v’Haganim usually requests detailed information about your pet before issuing the written permission.
  • Additional documentation may be requested. For further information see Wildlife.

Veterinary Import License (If applicable): A Veterinary Import License is issued by the Director of the Veterinary Services in Israel and states the conditions and requirements pertaining to each animal. 

You must obtain a Veterinary Import License if:

  • You are bringing more than two of each of the following animals: dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and rodents.
  • You are bringing one animal (or more) that is not a dog, cat, bird, rabbit or rodent.
  • Your pet is considered wildlife.

How to Obtain your Vetinary import License:

  • A written application for a Veterinary Import License must be submitted as soon as your flight date is determined, but no less than 10 days before the planned date of departure of the animals.
  • The application must be accompanied with a check (approximately 42 NIS) and should include the following details:
    • Animal species
    • Sex
    • Breed
    • Age
    • Date of expected arrival in Israel
    • Country of origin
  • The application should be faxed to +972-3-977-2033 or +972-3-960-5194 and addressed to:
    The Director of Veterinary Services/Import-Export Officer
    P.O. Box 12
    Bet Dagan 50250
    Israel

Electronic Chip – for dogs, cats & certain animals classified as wildlife:

At least a week prior to your pet’s flight (earlier is better)
Dogs, cats and certain types of animals that are classified as wildlife must be tagged with a subcutaneous electronic chip prior to entering Israel. Regulations require that the chip transmits on a frequency of 134.2 Kilohertz and can be read with a chip reader that conforms to the provisions of the ISO standard No. 11784 or of Annex A of ISO Standard 11785. If the chip does not conform to these standards, the importer or the importer’s representative is required to be in possession of another means to read it. This is not the standard chip used in the United States. Before getting your pet chipped, verify that your veterinarian is implanting the correct model. If not, you may be required to have your pet chipped again within five days of arriving in Israel.  If your vet does not carry them, ask if he/she can order it, or if he/she would be comfortable implanting the chip if you order it online. The chip is available for purchase on some pet websites.

Health Certificate (aka Veterinary Certificate for Entering Israel) – Completion & Endorsement:

  • Dogs & Cats – Completed no more than 10 days and no less than 2 Israeli business days prior to flight (Israeli work week is Sunday – Thursday)
  • Other Pets - No more than 7 days and no less than 48 hours prior to your pet’s arrival
  • UPDATE For All Pets - Endorsement of the completed health certificate by a USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Veterinary Services Officer or CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) Veterinary Inspector - no less than 2 business days prior to flight

* Your veterinarian should be able to obtain the Israeli health certificate on your behalf.

Completion of the Health Certificate:

  • Only a USDA or CFIA licensed veterinarian may fill out and complete the health certificate.
  • Book an appointment in advance with your veterinarian to ensure there is availability the week prior to your pet’s Aliyah. This appointment is for your veterinarian to give your pet a final check up and to complete the health certificate.
  • Verify in advance that your veterinarian will have the Israeli health certificate in time for the appointment.

Endorsement of the Health Certificate:

    • Once the Health Certificate has been completed by your licensed veterinarian, it must then be endorsed by either a USDA Veterinary Services Officer or a CFIA Veterinary Inspector.
    • The endorsement is required for your pet to enter Israel.  
    • To locate your regional USDA Veterinary Services Officer or CFIA Veterinary Inspector view the following links. Please note that your regional office might not be located in your city or in some cases even in your State. Please plan accordingly for travel.

USDA Veterinary Services Area Offices

CFIA Animal Health Office

For Dogs & Cats see Part A. For all other pets see Part B:

Part A: Fax the Ramla Quarantine Station & Veterinary Services - for dogs & cats: 2 Israeli business days prior to your dog and/or cat’s departure date (Israeli work week is Sunday – Thursday). As part of the import process, you are required to fax the Ramla Quarantine Station & Veterinary Services at Ben Gurion Airport, at +972-3-977-2033,with the following information:

  • Name of owner
  • Veterinary Health Certificate
  • Notification of Pet Arrival - Click here for the form (known as Annex B)
  • List indicating the type of animal (dog/cat), breed, sex, date of birth, identification number of electronic chip (for dogs) and date of last vaccination against rabies
  • Flight number
  • Approximate date/time of arrival
  • Declaration of Animal Possession View the declaration form (known as Annex C).
  • International Certificate of Rabies Vaccination (for cats and dogs only)
  • Veterinary Import License, if applicable

Part B: Fax the Ramla Quarantine Station & Veterinary Services - for all other pets: No more than 7 days and no less than 48 hours prior to your pet’s arrival in Israel.
As part of the import process, you are required to fax the Ramla Quarantine Station & Veterinary Services at Ben Gurion Airport, at +972-3-977-2033,with the following information:

  • Name of owner
  • Animal species
  • Age
  • Flight number
  • Approximate date/time of arrival
  • Veterinary Health Certificate
  • Declaration of Animal Possession
  • International Certificate of Rabies Vaccination (for cats and dogs only)
  • Veterinary Import License, if applicable

EL AL’s Pet Policy:
If you are flying on an airline other than EL AL, please be in touch with the airline directly regarding their pet policy; some airlines, including US Airways, do not allow pets on their flights.

Pet Fare: EL AL charges a fee based on the size and weight of your pet and its kennel/carrier:

  • For a listing of rates please see: Pets: Calculation of Charge
  • The pet fee is paid directly to EL AL at the airport on the day of the flight
  • Fees are subject to change at EL AL’s discretion
  • EL AL reserves the right to refuse carriage for oversized and/or extremely heavy kennels, or to charge additional fees, as it sees fit.

In Cabin: In accordance with EL AL regulations, all pets weighing over 17 pounds (8 kilos), including the weight of their kennels, must be placed underneath the plane in pet cargo (provided there are no FAA regulations preventing this). There is a temperature-regulated cargo hold for pets, which is separate from the luggage hold.
Dogs, cats and birds weighing under 17 pounds (8 kilos) including the weight of their carrier, can come in the cabin of the plane ONLY if they are small enough to fit with their carrier underneath the seat in front of you, and only if there are in-cabin pet seats available. Your carrier – soft or hard may not exceed 40 cm X 40 cm X 21 cm and must be stored under the passenger’s seat.  There are no exceptions to the rule.
Even if your pet meets the above criteria, there is no guarantee that your pet will be placed in the cabin. Once your flight reservations have been made and you have provided NBN with your pet’s details please contact EL AL to verify whether your pet will be able to fly in-cabin or will need to be placed in the pet cargo hold.  In addition, follow up with EL AL to ensure your pet’s kennel meets their criteria.  EL AL reserves the right to refuse carriage for oversized and/or extremely heavy kennels, or to charge additional fees, as it sees fit.
Even if the EL AL representative tells you there is room in the cabin of the plane, it is not guaranteed.  EL AL has the right to limit the placement of pets both in-cabin and in pet cargo, based on FAA regulations and the available space on the flight.

 

Note: Based on our past experience, EL AL does not allow most rodents and reptiles to travel in-cabin, regardless of size or weight.

In Cargo:
Your pet’s crate or kennel may not exceed the following dimensions when traveling in cargo. Please note that regulations vary based on the type of plane:

  • 777: Width 32” X Height 40” X Length 123”
  • 747: Width 40” X Height 47” X Length 95”

Wildlife
If you aren't sure whether your pet is considered wildlife, be in touch with Reshut Hateva v'Haganim with the following information:

  • Type of animal (such as bird, lizard or frog)
  • Exact species (English and Latin names)
  • Where the animal was obtained or purchased (such as pet store, friend, zoo or nature)
  • Copy of purchase certificate, if the animal was bought in a store
  • Length of time the animal has been in your possession
  • Animal size and weight

If your pet is eligible for import, Reshut Hateva v'Haganim may have additional requirements, in order to grant your pet written permission to enter Israel, such as:

  • Export permit from the country or state of origin (where your pet currently resides or is departing from)
  • Implantation of a Microchip and chip number
  • Import permit from Misrad Hachaklaut
  • Agra, or a processing fee (in addition to the fees collected by Misrad Hachaklaut and EL AL)

For Further Information:

Misrad Hachaklaut - Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture
Website: http://www.vetserveng.moag.gov.il/VetServENG/travel.htm
Additional information for cats & dogs:  http://www.vetserveng.moag.gov.il/VetServENG/ImportExport/General/
Misrad Hachaklaut’s official Regulations for Dogs & Cats and relevant forms
Contact: Dr. Shlomo Garazi, Misrad Hachaklaut’s Chief Import & Export Veterinary Officer
Email: shlomoga@moag.gov.il

Reshut Hateva v’Haganim - Nature Reserves Authority
The Licensing Department’s office hours are:
Sunday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Israel Time)
Phone:  02-500-5461
Fax:   02-538-3405
Mailing Address: Reshut Hateva v’Haganim, 78 Yirmiahu Street, Jerusalem, Israel

EL AL
Website: http://elal.com/ELAL/English/AllAboutYourFlight/BeforeYourFlight/Pets/PetsGeneral.htm
Contact is based on country of the departure city:

New York Area Office
John Jakubowski
Direct phone number: (718) 244-3165
Main phone number: (718) 244-3167/8/9
Email: JJakubowski@elalusa.com

Toronto Office
Zippy Brown
Phone: (416)967-4222 ext.223
Email: zippy@elalcanada.com

UK Office
Martin Haley
Email: martin@elal.co.uk