I didn’t think any place could be stricter on pet immigration than the UK. But I was wrong. If you’d like to see what we went through to get our cat here, check out this post from 2013.

So I thought we might have a leg up coming from the UK since there’s no rabies here. But apparently that’s just one of the things they check for in Iceland.

We like the airline-approved travel kennels from Petmate.

We like the airline-approved travel kennels from Petmate.

Happily the really helpful and awesome people at the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) know that there are quite a few steps involved with the importation process and will send you a handy checklist and ask you to do the following:

  1. Apply for an import permit through MAST.
  2. Pay for import permit. I put this as its own item because your first instinct will try to be to pay in the requested Icelandic kronur. But shockingly, very few banks outside of Iceland actually deal with Icelandic kronur (including USAA, Bank of America, and even our local British bank). And they will also charge you a fee to transfer the sum internationally. But if you ask the really nice folks at MAST if they will give you an exchanged rate, you can then transfer the cost of your permit in your local currency, which for us was £175 ($260 USD).
  3. Make a reservation at one of the two quarantine facilities (einangrun.is or www.hvatastadir.is). That’s right, four weeks of quarantine is mandatory no matter where you’re coming from. And they will burn anything that shows up in the carrier other than your pet. So don’t send along your pet’s favorite blanket or squeaky toy. Einangrun is near Keflavik, and Hvatastadir is somewhere in the north. Quarantine for a cat will cost 145,000 ISK (currently about $1,050), and for dogs it’s more based on their size. They only allow animals into quarantine on certain days, so make sure and check the online schedule. I didn’t have any luck getting a hold of them directly via email. But they were responsive to phone calls and also replied via email once I’d completed the online reservation form.

Note: We’ve also discovered if you’re looking to adopt a dog from a breeder in Iceland they generally tack on an extra $1,000, because they know you’d have to pay for quarantine if you brought your own into the country. And you can’t bring in any animal under five months old.

  1. Contact your veterinarian and set up three appointments: one for shots (MAST will let you know which ones are required) at least 30 days before import, one for a fecal test (ew) within 30 days of import, and one to complete and sign an import health certificate within 10 days of import.
  2. Figure out how you’re going to get your pet from wherever you live to Iceland. All pets can only come into the international airport at Keflavik. The folks at quarantine will process your pet through customs and take them to the facility. Your pet can arrive one of two ways:
    a.  As manifest cargo through a freight forwarder. The one we were looking at in the UK was going to charge us £526.50 ($775 USD)) for a four-hour flight, and would require an export permit at £165.00 ($245 USD), for a grand total of $1,020 USD.
    b. Or as accompanied baggage with a human passenger for the miniscule Icelandair fee of €44 ($47 USD). So yes, it might actually be cheaper to book a human on a roundtrip flight just to drop off your pet.
  3. Send a copy of the health certificate to MAST, and make sure all the original paperwork is attached to the outside of the carrier when it goes on the flight.
  4. Wait one month, and pick up your pet!

…who will either be damned glad to see you, or will piss in your shoes for leaving her! Good luck!