EU Tightens Rules on Pet Travel and Import of Dogs and Cats

English BulldogUPDATE: Although these regulations are still in effect, things will change with the withdrawl of the UK from the EU. See additional information on how pet travel will be affected by Brexit.

Effective on December 29, 2014, there will be a new regulation involving changes to the popular pet travel scheme governing pet movement throughout the European Union (EU). Whether you live in or are visiting the EU next year, these changes will affect you. Here is the abbreviated version:

EU Pet Passports: The passport issued to EU residents will be changing and will be provide for more identification of the pet. This change will not affect visitors to the EU.

Border Inspections: EU countries will be required to provide for inspections of pets crossing borders at certain locations. The EU may not be as laid back on ground controls.

Minimum age requirement: rabies vaccination for puppies, kittens and ferrets entering the EU will be administered no sooner than 3 months of age. This requirement is meant to prevent the movement of puppies and kittens who have been vaccinated too young in an effort to comply with regulations.

Commercial Movements: If you are traveling with more than 5 pets, unless you are traveling to a pet show or competition, you will need to use a licensed agent and enter the EU through an approved Border Inspection Post. The movement must also be registered on the TRACES system which tracks the movement of animals entering and traveling within the EU.

Unaccompanied Pet Travel: when entering the EU by air, if you cannot travel on the same plane with your pet, you must sign a declaration that you are not selling or transferring ownership of your pet. Additionally, you must travel within 5 days of your pet’s transport. This regulation will raise a lot of questions from pet owners who, for whatever reason, cannot travel with their pet.

Definition of Your Pet: Your pet must be a domesticated dog, cat or ferret. Wild animals, Savannah cats or wolf hybrids are handled through the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

Most of these rules are targeting the illegal trade of puppies and kittens in the EU. The health and welfare of these animals cannot be ignored. Bottom line is to be aware of the rules for pets to travel within and to the EU. You can find them here for every country in the EU: http://www.pettravel.com/passportnew.cfm.


Comments

EU Tightens Rules on Pet Travel and Import of Dogs and Cats — 130 Comments

  1. Hi! I’m planning to bring my cat with me when going to Belgium from Mexico in July. We will be landing in Germany and going by land the rest of the way. I got her microchipped in November and got the rabies vaccination done. BUt have some questions and the admin seems to know a lot about this!

    – I heard the microchip requirements changed Dec29 2014 and now is a 15 digig one. I have an AVID 9 digit one. Do I have to get the reader or microchip my pet again?
    – The Spanish document from the consulate says that an oficial veterinarian has do fill the certificate (it says it has to be authorized by the competent autorities in Mexico). What does this exactly means? Has to be a goverment veterinarian?

    thanks for your help!

  2. Hi admin. I am interested in importing a wolf dog into the UK from the USA. The dog is going to be an F3 which conforms to UK regulations and doesn’t require a dwa licence.
    Can you please inform me of the steps necessary to import a pup on both sides of the water.
    I understand the pup has to be 12 weeks old before having the rabies jab and that I have to wait 30 days prior to leaving.
    Do I need to have a cites permit?
    What are the requirements for the pup landing in the uk?
    Many thanks

  3. Agnes – if you are just passing through Canada, then you will not need additional information to travel to Poland. You will need to have an Annex IV form completed by a USDA accredited vet and endorsed by the USDA within 10 days of entry to Poland. If you are staying in Canada for a longer time that it will take to enter Poland in 10 days from USDA endorsement, then you will need to have a Canadian vet complete the paperwork for endorsement by the CFIA.
    Jason

  4. Hi, I will be travelling with dog from US to Poland true Canada in June. I will be driving do Canada and same day I will be flying LOT to Poland. I already know what documents I need to bring dog to EU from US but I worried if I need any extra to fly from Canada.

  5. Atina – you should get an EU pet passport prior to leaving the country. You can use it to enter the US and to return to Belgium. As long as your pet’s rabies vaccination was given over 30 days prior to the titer test, you should proceed with it as long as it was not given too long ago. The reason for saying this is because the antibody level decreases over time. You want to give your pet the best chance of passing the test. Your vet can discuss this with you as well. But, for sure, get the titer test prior to leaving Italy. It is harder to get it done in Morocco. So you will know, the titer test is good for the life of your pet to re-enter the EU as long as its rabies vaccination does not expire. No parasite test is required to return to the EU, but be sure and protect your pet against fleas and ticks if you plan to visit Morocco.
    Phil

  6. Thank you Phil! A quick follow up question. In order to enter Italy my pet needed to be microchipped (she has been for years and the chip was EU compliant) and her rabies vaccine was sufficient, current and will be for 3 more years. She does not have the “EU pet passport” but the dual translated official EU Health Certificate, so I intended to take her to an Italian Vet to get the “EU Pet Passport”. So when I do that, I should get the “titer test” as I understand and is a parisite test/clearance required? Thank you so much for your help! Finally, we may be returning to the USA from Belguim – Morocco. Anything I should do in advance to prepare? Best, Atina

  7. Athina – it will be easier to travel to Belgium because it is an EU Member country. All you will need to do is to microchip your pet, then vaccinate for rabies (in that order) and get an EU pet passport. You will need to do that anyway to leave Italy and you can enter Italy easily from Belgium when you return.

    To go to Morocco is not a problem, but you will need a titer test to return to Italy. This test must be given no sooner than 30 days after rabies vaccination and at least 3 calendar months prior to returning to Italy. (because Morocco is considered a high-rabies country by the EU.) The titer test is good for the life of your pet as long as rabies vaccinations do not expire, but it will take some advanced planning on your part. The test should be done while you are in Italy.
    Phil

  8. Hello, I am hoping I can get some direction on two potential traveling scenarios.
    1. Both cases, my ADA certified service animal (small dog, under 5 pounds) and I traveled from our USA home by air, animal in cabin, all EU documents etc current, to Italy arriving in January 2015 and consistently currently are located, not leaving Italy since arrival Now, beginning in about 30 days, we are thinking of traveling by airline from Italy to either:
    1. EU country, Belguim to stay for 3-6 months; or
    2. Non-EU country, Moracco to stay for 3 months.
    Can you advise in BOTH situations what is required and allowed? Very confused, thanks!

  9. Reka – if you are flying in and out of Germany on the same airline, then you may not have to enter the country (you will transit). If this is the case, then you will not need documentation for Germany but for Hungary as that is where you will clear customs. If this is not the case, and you will be clearing customs in Germany, you will need an Annex IV form for Germany. This form will be OK to enter Hungary, in fact, it is good for 4 months of travel in the EU.
    Phil

  10. I will be traveling from the US to Hungary in May and will be bringing my little dog with me. We’ll be flying Lufthansa and we’ll change planes in Franfurt, so we’ll be entering the EU in Germany and that’s where we go through customs but our destination is Hungary. Should my vet fill out the English-German health certificate since that’s where we enter the EU or the English-Hungarian health certificate because that’s our destination?

  11. Rosalinwati – as long as your cat’s rabies vaccination has not expired, you will not need a new titer test to enter Germany.
    Susan

  12. Hello Mickey – the new EU regulations take a bit of getting used to. To be on the safe side, you should give your friend power of attorney to represent you as custodian for your dogs. There is also a Declaration of Non-Commercial Transport which has to be signed by your friend that will attest that the dogs are not to be sold or re-homed. That should be fine for border officials. If you want to be absolutely sure, make a copy of your e-ticket and give it to your friend. Sure you know that he can only travel with 5 animals without evidence that he is attending a dog show. Best of luck in the competition!
    Susan

  13. Hello – If your cats are staying at the airport in a quarantine zone, then the titer test you got for them should be good to enter Germany. Can you find out if the quarantine facility they are in is located in the airport or off-premise?
    Susan

  14. Hi, I am flying to Crufts this week and (will) have all the proper paperwork for the dogs i am taking. HOWEVER, I am flying and the dogs are riding in a car with a colleague of mine who is also going to the show. Do i have to give him my entries for the dogs to show that they are not for sale? Is there a special form declaring that the dogs are not for sale? Should I give him a copy of my airline ticket to show we are traveling within 5 days of the animals?
    One would think that Crufts, with 20,000 dogs, would make arrangements with Birmingham Airport so that dogs could fly in at this time. It is a very prestigeous show and an honor just to qualify but the logistics are a nightmare!! Albeit less of a nightmare than 10 years ago.. Your column here is quite helpful. Thank you so much

  15. Hi pettravel staffs,

    I live in Germany and will be picking up my cats this year in Indonesia. last year I have done all certivicates needed by EU for pets movement into European countries.I flied with Luftansa via Singapore Airlines. But beacuse of wrong information from Singapore Airlines about pets transit permit in Changi Airport, I had to travel Germany without my cats. So my question is, do i need to make a new blood titeration test again or not? and how i can get an international health certivicate? or The EU Annex IV Health Certificate filled by accredited veterinarian in my country is enough and eccepted?

    Thanks

  16. Scott – both airlines you mentioned will only accept your pet as manifest cargo and an agent must book the transport. If you are leaving London, your pet can travel in the cabin as long as your airline permits it. Some airlines like Lufthansa require that an agent handle the transport out of London, but not all do.
    Jason

  17. Is there anyway I can take my 4 lb lap dog from LONDON to LAX in cargo and on my lap. It seems there are many rules that just came into play for international travel as of 2015. I would like to travel on Virgin or British Airways. Thanks

  18. Michelle – the answer to your question depends on how long you have been in Canada and whether any of your cat’s rabies annual vaccination(s) were administered in Canada. If your cat has had a rabies vaccination while in Canada, your vet should complete an Annex IV form within 10 days of travel for the first country you are entering in the EU (France or the Netherlands) and reflect the rabies vaccination(s) on the Annex IV form. This form should be endorsed by the CFIA if you are a resident of Canada. Check with your airline to see if you will need a health certificate.
    Jason

  19. I will be moving from Canada to the UK in June and taking a very old cat with me. She must travel in cabin so I have already settled on Paris or Amsterdam for routing so she can travel in cabin with me. Do I require anything other than the EU passport showing micro-chipping and rabies shot? What is this Annex IV that is mentioned. Do I need this if I am only in transit in either the Netherlands or France? Do I need it to enter the UK? I wish they would stop changing the regulations. I have to book my ticket immediately so any and all information would be much appreciated.

  20. Sofia – your puppy’s EU pet passport will be good for the life of your pet as long as its rabies vaccination does not expire. Know that US veterinarians cannot record vaccinations in EU pet passports. You would need to re-enter the UK with an Annex IV form as proof of rabies vaccination in that case. Also know that your pup will need to fly as manifest cargo and enter the UK at approved Border Inspection Posts of London Heathrow or Gatwick or Edinburgh. It will also need a tapeworm treatment between one and five days of entering the UK. You can find requirements to import a pet to the UK here: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedKingdom.cfm
    Susan

  21. Hello,
    We have been just transferred to N.C., USA. We are thinking in buying a puppy, but since we travel to the U.K. and around Europe very often, we would like to know if it would be easier to get a E.U. passport if we buy our dog in the U.K., and how long can last the process to get the passport for the puppy to be able to travel back to the US. Thank you.

  22. Dawn – as long as your client’s pet is flying in and out of Lithuania on the same airline and as long as the layover is not more than 2 hours (assuming the pet is flying in the cargo hold), it will transit the country and will not have to meet the entry requirements. If the layover is more than 2 hours, you will need to contact Lufthansa and confirm that they will hold the pet for the duration of the layover.
    Susan

  23. My client is returning to Belarus from South Africa and taking his adult, fully vaccinated dog with him. His routing is Lufthansa JHB-VILNIUS-BELARUS as there is no direct flight which can transport his dog.
    The dog is microchipped, rabies Blood Titer Test is done and certified . Does the client have to wait 3 months from the date the blood was drawn (4.11.2014) to transit through Lithuania to Belarus. Thank you Dawn

  24. Lawrence – if you have to claim your kitty and clear customs to go to your hotel, your cat will need a microchip and a titer test issued 30 days after the current rabies vaccination and at least 3 calendar months prior to entry to Turkey.
    Susan

  25. Hi, I shall be travelling with my cat to Sofia from Malta in transit through Istanbul. I have all the documentation necessary for the cat but since I shall have to sleep overnight in Istanbul will there be any problems taking the cat with me to the hotel. I mean, will the officials at the airport cause me any problems arriving in and departing from Istanbul airport? The hotel I shall be staying at is pet friendly. My only problem is the airport

  26. Hi Buffy – in order to travel under the Pet Travel Scheme, you can only transport up to 5 animals. Otherwise, you will need to travel under the rules for commercial transport which are more complicated especially after December 29 when the rules change.
    Susan

  27. Hi,
    Travelling by car from Turkey with six cats and two dogs. I will have a friend with me but the animals are all mine. Do I have to put three of of my animals in my friend’s name? ie on their official certificate of health? Do I have to have this paperwork for all the countries we are passing through and do these countries have border checks for our dogs and cats which we have to give notice to?

    Many, many thanks for a great site

  28. Darwin – it depends on what country you are traveling to Germany from. If it is a high-rabies country, then there is a 3-4 month lead time required for microchip, vaccination and titer testing. You can find details on bringing your pet to Germany here: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Germany.cfm. You need to check with the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Germany to see if the import of Savannah cats is permitted.
    Jason

  29. Josh – as long as you are traveling with your pet on the same plane to the UK and it meets UK requirements, there should be no problems with the new regulations. The veterinary certificate has changed from the Annex II to the Annex IV form. A licensed agent will be very useful in meeting export requirements for China and they are required by many airlines to book passage into the UK.
    Phil

  30. We are moving to Germany in 2015 and want to bring our two Savannah cats ( F2 and F3 ) with us. Are there any special import requirements?

  31. I have a Himalayan cat and live in Shanghai. I may need to move back to London in April. This weekend I was planning to get the microchip and rabies vaccination done. Then I was going to engage a relocation service to help with blood test and other admin. Is there anything I need to do in light of these changes listed above?

  32. Walter – it is relatively simple for a dog to enter the EU from the US presently: proof of microchip, rabies vaccination after microchip is implanted, 21 day wait, Annex II form for Spain completed by a USDA accredited vet and endorsed by the USDA within 10 days of travel. The microchip needs to have 15 digits to be ISO 11784/85 compliant. You can find one here that comes ready for your vet to implant: https://www.pettravelstore.com/pet-microchip/.

    However, things will really change on December 29, 2014 and shipping a pet to the EU unaccompanied will amount to a commercial transport and it will be much more complicated. The rules are not clear even now as officials are discussing how they intend to define several of the changes. You can read about them here: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Spain.cfm.

  33. I will be shipping a pet unaccompanied to a friend in Madrid Spain. They require several things. A)microchip implant IOS-11784 or 11785 B)vaccination records C)booster vaccination must be done before expiration D)vet certificate with usda raised seal E)health certificate within 10 days F)eu journal with usda raised seal G)vaccination must be older than 21 days.

    My questions are: Where do I get the “eu journal” and are the rest of these requirements accurate? This microchip is the regular usa microchip or a specialty one I have to buy and have a vet install for me?

  34. Helen – you need to have your pet microchipped, then vaccinated for rabies (in that order) in order to return to the UK. Before you go to Canada, get an EU pet passport and have your vet update it. You can use it when returning to the UK. Your pup will also need a tapeworm treatment between one and five days of the return trip. Your pet must travel as manifest cargo into the UK. You can fly directly to Glasgow on Emirates, KLM, United or Thomson Airlines. You will need to check with the airlines to see if they will require an agent to book the transport. (Thomson always does.)
    Jason

  35. I had my yorkshire terrier get a rabies shot on the 1st dec for travel to canada on the 6th jan 2015. My vet is issuing him with a pet passport. We will be staying in canada till april 22nd 2015. Will we need a new passport on return to the Uk? We leave from glasgow and I found it cheaper to class him as excess baggage. Do I need a pet company to arrange his return to glasgow. Many thanks.

  36. Antonio – because the UK considers Brazil as a high-rabies country, you will need to have your pets microchipped, then vaccinated for rabies. (if your pets are already chipped, then just make sure you have vaccinated them AFTER the chip is implanted.) If it is the first vaccination after the chip, wait 30 days and do a blood titer test. Assuming acceptable results, your pet can enter the UK 3 calendar months after the day the blood was drawn. Assuming your most recent rabies vaccination was done in Brazil, you will need an Annex II form for the UK completed within 10 days of entry and a tapeworm test between one and five days of entry. You can find details and links to instructions and forms here if you need them: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedKingdom.cfm You can fly on an approved airline into Edinburgh or Glasgow without clearing in London.
    Susan

  37. hello
    I had been living and working in brazil since 2012 as Expat. before living in Scotland and now We have to returd to UK and we would like to return with our 3 dogs original from UK and europena passport. We took them from UK to Rio Brazil back in 2013
    Now we would like to know what and how take the dogs back to UK.
    Thanks
    antonio

  38. Angela – the EU has stated that they no longer support non-ISO microchips. There is no way to know whether the scanner they have in Germany will be universal, but you have time to have your kitty chipped with a 15 digit ISO compliant microchip. (many pets have 2 chips). You will need to have her re-vaccinated at least 21 days prior to travel. The other option would be to travel with a scanner that will read your pet’s chip.

    You will need an Annex II form completed by a USDA accredited vet within 10 days of travel and endorsed by your State USDA office. That and your proof of rabies vaccination will make up your pet’s passport. Not sure how long you are staying in the EU and whether it would make sense to get a Blue Pet Passport.
    Phil

  39. I will be traveling from the US to Germany with my cat over the Holidays 2014/15. I took her before, 10 years ago. At entry they couldn’t read the microchip. I assume my vet didn’t give the “euro” chip but they let me in anyway. Any chance they now have universal scanners at entry and be able to read the chip or do I need to get another chip or buy/rent a scanner? Would you recommend to get a pet passport even though it is a US cat? Thanks!

  40. Jutta – the Annex II form which is required to return to Germany must be completed within 10 days of entering the country. Your pet must also have a microchip if it is a dog, cat or ferret. The chip must be implanted prior to the rabies vaccination.
    Jason

  41. I want to move back to Germany in early 2015 and want to take my dog with. How long is the USDA Health Certification and the veterinarian
    health certificate (our vet who gave the rabies shot) good for? Could I get all the papers ready this November of 2014 and will they be accepted in f. i. April of 2015? The problem is I don’t have an exact moving date yet (splitting from husband).

  42. Neev – you may want to contact an agent in China and ask how it is done. Did the breeder have any advice for you?
    Susan

  43. Hi, i recently bought a puppy in China.I want to microchip and vaccinate him. i am being told i need to register him with local government and police station. then micro chip and vaccinate him. then blood test him, get health certificate and passport. I have been told that as i am not a property owner in China i am unable to register the dog, consequently i can not microchip etc…
    Please could someone give me some advice.What are the correct procedures to follow to do this in China to enable me to travel to the EU with him.

  44. Thank you for such a useful website. I have been searching EU governmental sites for information about the tightening of EU regs. but found absolutely nothing.

    Thanks again.

  45. Camille – unfortunately, Colombia is considered to be a high-rabies country by the EU so it will take up to 4 months of preparation to avoid quarantine. You will need to microchip your pets, the vaccinate them for rabies. It must be done in this order, but the same vet visit is fine. You will wait 30 days and your vet will do a Blood Titer Test. Your cats can enter Germany 90 days after the date the blood was drawn for the titer test. You will need an Annex II form for Germany. You can find details and links to instructions and forms for taking your cats to Germany here if you need them: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Germany.cfm.
    Campbell

  46. I will be moving to Germany for school from my home in Colombia. How can I take my cats? I would like them to fly with me. What are the rules?

  47. Angela – the new rule does not require those already holding an EU pet passport to get another one to replace it. Your passport should be good to re-enter the EU.
    Susan

  48. I have a resident visa for France and my dog has a current Pet Passport. I will be flying to US for Dec/Jan and returning to EU after the new rules are in place. Does anyone know if you can get the ‘new’ Pet Passport prior to Dec 29th?

    Thanks

  49. Pingback: Tighter New Rules for EU Pet Travel | Dog Lovers Today

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