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Importing Your Pet to Kuwait

January 26, 2017
importing your pet to kuwait, expat, import, pet

I cannot tell you how happy I am that Roxy is here with us in Kuwait! Getting her here was a bit of a process so I wanted to go through the steps of importing your pet to Kuwait for anyone who might be curious.

I got my passport back in late October so I went back to the States to get Roxy in early November. Luckily Kuwait does not have a quarantine for pets, so that was a huge plus.

When we moved to Kuwait, Kyle’s parents were kind enough to keep Roxy for us until we were able to bring her over. We had to find a pet friendly apartment before we could bring her, among other things. I really don’t think it would have been possible to bring her with us on our initial move, even if the apartment had allowed dogs.

Here are the details on how we went about importing Roxy. First of all, we looked into several transportation companies in addition to the cost of shipping her over by herself but it turned out to be far cheaper to just fly over and bring her back with me. The average estimate for the transport company was $1,300 for 30 pound Roxy.

Luckily, Kyle figured out that it would be significantly cheaper for me to fly back to the States for about 24 hours and bring Roxy back. Another huge factor to this working out was that Kyle’s mom was able to drive Roxy to Atlanta and meet me there.  She is too big to fly in the cabin so I brought her as excess baggage on Qatar Airways.

import, dog, expat, kuwait

Who could live without this little face?


In the US

Before we left to move to Kuwait, we updated all of her vaccines. The vet has to sign these forms in BLUE ink.

Roxy also needed an International Microchip. We asked one vet 3 times if they were sure they had the right one, only to find out just as they were about to inject it that it was NOT the international one – luckily someone who knew what we were talking about walked in just in time! We’re also glad we never had her micro-chipped before even though we talked about having it done several times, but it wouldn’t have been the international chip.

Within 10 days before arrival into Kuwait (meaning not more than 10 days before you get here) you must have an import form filled out by a USDA vet to certify your pets health. You can find the form here.

I believe this also has to be signed in blue ink.

Luckily, my in-laws had access to an Air Force Base where the vet was well versed in all of these procedures. They also had the international microchip so we got that there as well.

We ordered everything we needed for her trip to my in-laws house through our Amazon Prime before we discontinued it. We bought this crate, along with these bolts, and quick release zip ties. I read that many airlines will not accept crates with the plastic bolts that crates are sold with and require metal ones, so I didn’t want to take the chance and just bought the metal bolts.

We also got her this water bottle. I don’t know if she used it or it ended up leaking out but it at least made me feel better knowing she had access to water. For an ID tag we got this one before we left for Kuwait. We put Kyle’s mom’s phone number and both Kyle’s and my email addresses. That way, if anything happened in any of the three airports they would have valid contact information.

In Kuwait

We emailed the International Vet Hospital with an inquiry as to what was needed. They sent us a list of documents they needed, which included a copy of her vaccines and microchip number. We sent them all of the required documents and payment. I believe the import permit is only valid for 30 days so you have to make it back to Kuwait within 30 days of getting it. We drove there (almost an hour from Salmiya) to pick it up. It took about a week to process the permit.

The Airline

I can only speak to what I went through with Qatar but I think that was the worst part of the entire ordeal. I called with my flight numbers every 24 hours for over a week trying to confirm with them that I would be bringing my dog into Kuwait as excess baggage. Finally, after a week, I was told that the flight I had booked from Qatar to Kuwait could NOT accommodate a pet. We had to change to a different flight about 48 hours before I left for the States.

After that, flying with Qatar was fine. I am 100% positive they did get her out of the crate in Qatar. The zip ties had been replaced and her toy was missing, which was a bummer, but a small casualty.

Back in Kuwait

I heard stories about lots of different things happening when you land here. For us, Roxy was waiting beside the baggage belt for our flight. I stayed with the rest of our bags while Kyle went with Roxy and some airport officials to another room to check some of the paperwork. Then, the airport took her back from us and sent her to the cargo area.

At this point we drove back to the cargo area and spent about 3 hours going back and forth from one office to the next to complete the paperwork and wait on her to be brought back to cargo from the airport terminal. Paperwork in Kuwait is . . . interesting. Once she was brought to cargo she and Kyle were driven to a vet (only one of us could go) to check her microchip. More paperwork after they got back. I really wish I could remember how much we ended up having to pay to get all of the paperwork done but I think we almost ran out of cash because we didn’t realize how much it would be.

We couldn’t take Roxy out of the crate until we had driven out of the cargo area altogether. They did however allow me to open the crate door to pour some water into her bowl. I wish we had remembered to grab a few bottles of water on our way out of the airport because there was none available in the cargo area.

Carrying On:

Since Roxy is really too big I didn’t spend a ton of time trying to find a flight that would allow her in the cabin. I was very much under the impression that all non-American airlines flying to the Middle East would NOT allow any dog, even service dogs, in the cabin with the only exception being seeing-eye dogs.

That said – on our flight out of Kuwait for Christmas break a family had their small dog on the Turkish Airlines flight we were on. I’m not sure if theirs was technically a “service” dog or if they only have a size restriction but at least we now know it’s possible to have a pet in the cabin on Turkish Airlines.

Roxy’s New Home

Roxy did amazing on the flight and was so happy to see Kyle! She’s doing really well here – her only nemesis is all of the cats. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind having a bit more grass but she’s getting used to the sand just fine.

dog, import, pet, kuwait, expat

Adjusting back to being an inside dog.

I was pretty worried we wouldn’t be able to find someone to watch here when we were traveling. Luckily though, there are several kennel-free boarding facilities here. The one we used over Christmas break (and are using again while we’re in India) picked her up from our apartment and dropped her back off clean and smelling amazing.

We also got lots of pictures several times a week while we were gone. She made friends that she got to play with all day and her own room to sleep in at night.

So happy to have our little family back together again!


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  • Reply Laura January 27, 2017 at 5:42 am

    I’m glad your family is together! I hope you’re doing well! I love reading about all of your adventures, too!!!

    • Reply Sheli January 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks for reading, Laura!! I hope you’re doing well too!

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