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Travel, Teach, Live in Korea

Korean Rules for International Pet Travel
By:Helen Trencher

According to a pet owner survey by the American Animal Hospital Association, more than two thirds of pet owners will have traveled by air with their animal companions in 2010. If the pet owner is traveling internationally from the United States, the individual must comply with airline, country of export and country of import requirements. When flying a pet to South Korea, there are procedures and rules for travel and immigration.

South Korea Travel Preparation
Before traveling with your pet to South Korea, complete the required documentation and ensure your pet is healthy and safe for travel. You must provide the Korean veterinary certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian and officially endorsed by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). These forms certify the animal is disease-free and has had a rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to travel. If the animal is less than three months old, you do not need a rabies vaccination; however, you still need to present a certificate from a licensed veterinarian stating the animal is parasite-free, healthy and free of diseases communicable to humans.

While South Korea does not require a microchip, you should have it done for peace of mind and identification. Each microchip number is unique, and the microchip number should appear on all medical certificates. If need be, be sure to bring a microchip scanner.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global trade organization for commercial air travel, has created rules for traveling with pets; most of the world airlines' adhere to these rules. Pets may travel as checked baggage or cargo; in either case, this area is pressurized and temperature controlled. The pet crate must adhere to IATA requirements: The kennel must be made of sturdy plastic, well ventilated, have a secure locking system and large enough for the animal to stand, turn around and sit down. Further, the food and water bowls must attach to the inside of the front door and be refillable without having to open the door. Also affix to the container an extra copy of the pet's health certificate, live animals stickers, the animal's name and the owner's contact information.

Airline-Specific Rules for Pet Travel
There are several airlines that offer direct service from the United States to South Korea; the three largest are Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, and Delta Airlines. All three airlines require that your veterinarian certifies that your pet is healthy enough to travel and is free of diseases communicable to humans; you may also need to provide an acclimation certificate if you travel during very cold weather. You also need to transport your pet in an approved container, and you may be able to bring it into the cabin if it is small enough. You also must provide all the immigration documentation required by South Korea.

South Korea Pet Immigration Procedures
When arriving at a South Korean international airport, you must check in with the National Veterinary Research & Quarantine Service office. A dog or a cat will be released from quarantine the same day if, upon inspection, it is healthy and you present the required veterinary forms. If you are traveling with a bird, South Korea will quarantine it for five days. If you quarantined it for five days in the United States, South Korea will hold it for just one day.

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