Travelling with Pets in Russia

Find out about getting a pet to Russia and making the journey comfortable…

All airline companies currently flying into Russia, both Russian and international, accept pets on board. Requirements relating to size of the pet, ways to transport different types of animals and the container required may vary, so prepare for travel in advance by checking the requirements of the airline.

If a pet (container) is larger than allowed to travel in the cabin with the owner and has to be shipped in the luggage department, it is advisable to avoid having it shipped as cargo. When checking in at the airport, state clearly to the airline that the pet is to be shipped as accompanied luggage/excess baggage and not as cargo, as cargo may arrive at another terminal and customs clearance is far more expensive and complicated than for accompanied luggage.

Pet Carriers

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets out guidelines for container, handling and packaging requirements for pets. The general guidelines are:

  • The container must be of the correct size; large enough to allow the pet to stand up, turn around, as well as lie down in it, without being squeezed inside
  • Animals should normally be carried in separate containers, but in the case of very young puppies or kittens, each animal in the carrier must have enough space to move, stand, lie and turn
  • It must be strong enough to protect the animal during the journey, escape-proof and made of a material that cannot be chewed
  • It must be leak-proof and the bottom should be covered with suitable bedding
  • It should provide sufficient ventilation on all sides
  • The door must be secure so it cannot be opened accidentally or by the pet
  • Openings should not permit the pet’s nose or extremities to come out
  • Water and food containers accessible from the outside should be provided

The carrier should be marked on top with the sign ‘Live Animal’ and with a secured paper in a waterproof transparent envelope containing the following information about the animal:

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Name and contact details for the owner in the country of origin and in Russia

Requirements for Assistance/Guide Dogs

The International Health Certificate must be dated less than 10 days before entry to Russia. There is no required quarantine or entry permit.

Registration Requirements

Upon arrival at the airport in Moscow or St Petersburg, it is possible (but not always the case) that custom officers will ask the owner to register the cat or dog at the border veterinary station (pogranichnyi veterinarnyi punkt / ??????????? ???????????? ?????). If asked to do so, the owner should do this before clearing any luggage and come back with the registration, which is in the form of a stamp and date on the pet’s health certificate. There is a registration fee to be paid for each animal, payable only in cash.

Restrictions on Exit and Re-entry

When in possession of the required papers, there are no issues in leaving or re-entering Russia as many times as is permitted by the visa held by the owner of the pet.

Pet Travel Services

If assistance is required with the arrival of a pet into Moscow or for preparing to leave the country, this can be provided by vets.

Services offered include arranging:

  • Vaccinations
  • Documentation
  • Assistance at the airport including customs clearance (inbound and outbound)
  • Pet cargo shipments

All home countries will have companies specialising in the shipping of pets internationally, including all required administrative procedures.

Additional Information

Comprehensive and useful information and advice about importing a pet into Russia can be found on the website of the organisation Moscow Animals, including sections on: