I can't even begin to tell you how my heart breaks when I see posts on Craislist or regional bookoo yardsale sites stating ... "PCSing, cannot take pets" "EASing... cannot take pets". While everyone has their reasons for not bringing their furry friends along ... I have a hard time stomaching it. Hell, I can't help it: I judge them. I know there are cases where it's just not in the best interst of the animal; be it age or some other health concern ... but typically, that's not the case.
When Drew and I were contemplating our "list" for an upcoming PCS -- on our list of locations was MCB Kane'ohe Bay in Hawaii. While Hawaii is part of the United States, for all intents and purposes it gets treated like an international move. (Who knew?!)Out of curiosity -- I printed off 34 pages from the Department of Agriculture about the steps I would need to take to get my pets safely imported to my destination. Holy moly ... 34 pages?! /headdesk.
Step one: Don't plan on moving with your pets spur of the moment -- many countries will require a quarantine for newly arriving animals, and generally require proof of a neutralizing antibody test for rabies performed no more than 120 days (you may be able to get by with 6 months; but that depends on your country of destination) before the date of importation. Even countries that do not require a quarantine perod will require a health certificate and proof of current rabies vaccination.
Step two: Depending on your destination, you may be able to do the quarantine at home, rather than a foreign country. Each overseas location may have a different process -- so see what you can find out!
Step three: After you've gotten through the vaccine/quarantine process ... start researching a crate for transporting live animals and the guidelines for International Air Transport Association (IATA) shipping crates. Airlines can (and will!) refuse to ship pets if their crates do not conform to the IATA standard.
Step four: Shipping your pets is not cheap. Never having done it myself, but only done the homework ... I'm unsure if the military will pay to transport your furry friends. The bill to ship both my cat and dog to Hawaii via airline, by the way? Well over $2500. In some cases, pet relocation is a tax deductible expense, but not usually. For a truly international location, IE: Japan ... I have considered outsourcing my pets' relocation with an outside company. Because of some strict import rules/regulations, the company would guide us through the process to ensure all of our paperwork and vaccinations are in order. If necessary, they can also pick up my animals from LAX, board them, and subsequently ensure they meet their international connection.