The term “pet passport” was originally popularized in the European Union (EU) where dog, cat or ferret owners could get a blue pet passport from their veterinarian under the Pet Travel Scheme and travel freely through the EU member countries. This is still true today for pets living in the EU. It will last for the lifetime of the pet as long as the rabies vaccination is kept up to date and pet owners don’t run out of pages.
However, for pet owners residing in countries outside of the EU, a “pet passport” is simply a term we use to represent the collection of the required documentation needed to take your pet to other countries. Customs officials will need to see these documents in order to clear your pet through customs, and the inconvenience caused by losing them can be significant.
Your veterinarian can help you create a pet passport for your pet to enter almost any country in the world. For example, if you are from the United States and are visiting most European Union countries, then the pet passport will consist of the following:
- The Annex IV form for the country you will be visiting (they are all different) completed by your veterinarian and endorsed by a USDA veterinarian. You airline may also require and health certificate, especially if your pet is flying under an air waybill in the cargo hold. A microchip certificate can identify when your pet’s microchip was implanted and which veterinarian administered the implantation. This is important because your pet must be identified by a microchip prior to receiving the rabies vaccination.
- Your pet’s rabies certificate or inoculation record which must be attached to the certified Annex IV form.
If you are visiting one of the United Kingdom countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales) as well as Finland or Malta, your pet will need proof of a tapeworm treatment to complete your pet passport.
UPDATE: As Brexit has occurred, note that the United Kingdom is no longer be a part of the European Union and UK Pet Passports are no longer be accepted for pets entering the EU. To enter the EU from the UK, your pet will need either an EU Pet Passport with the most current rabies vaccination recorded in it or an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued by an Official Veterinarian in the UK. The AHC can be used to travel throughout the EU for 4 months after issuance or until your pet’s rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first. It can also be used to reenter the UK during the 4 month validity period.
Every country in the world will require a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination, although the rules for additional treatments and testing vary widely from country to country. You should have a health certificate completed by your veterinarian prior to travel. This certificate is also referred to as a Veterinary or Sanitary Certificate.
The cost for a pet passport will depend on your veterinarian’s fees, the fees for microchipping (if required), and the fees for completing and endorsing the necessary forms. There will always be a trip to the vet prior to travel for a health certificate. Other tests and treatments, such as tapeworm, internal/external parasites, microchips, and rabies titer tests, if required, will affect the cost. Endorsement by a government veterinarian will always incur a fee. Many countries also require an import permit and they will charge for processing it.
The first thing to do is to find out the requirements to bring your pet to your destination country. In some cases (like Australia), you have to plan 6 months in advance. The key to avoiding delays at the border and/or quarantine when traveling with your pet is to have your pet passport complete and accurate for the countries you are visiting.
You can find information on country requirements in our immigration section and pet passports with forms and instructions on over 220 countries all over the world. You can also post questions on our blog homepage and we will answer them promptly. More information pet passports can be found here: https://www.pettravel.com/news_pet_passport.cfm