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 Sarah – if you want to travel non-commercially into the EU (which is much easier than commercially), you can travel with a total of 5 pets as their owner. You will need to review the import requirements for Germany, noting that the rabies titer test in step #3 will be required. You can find them here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Germany.cfm. The Annex IV form that you will use will be good for entering any EU country for 4 months, and their should be no additional requirements as long as you do not enter the UK, Norway or Finland. In order to get an EU Pet Passport, you need to be a resident of a country for 6 months or have a local address, but it is not necessary for your purposes.
    Susan

  2. Hi, I live in Saudi Arabia. I have 7 rescue cats and a dog. I don’t intend to take them all at the same time. I want to take them from Saudi to Portugal via Frankfurt, Germany. Mainly to avoid a second flight and to be able to travel with them in the cabin. Do I need to get an EU pet passport before I can drive them from Germany to Portugal? If so do they have to be in Germany for a certain length of time before I can drive them and how long does it take to get a pet passport? Is there anything else I need to be aware of if I follow this route. Many thanks for all your help, kind regards Sarah

  3. Aga – first of all, the puppy must be microchipped, then vaccinated for rabies no sooner than 12 weeks of age and wait for 21 days before entering the UK. You can act as representative of the owner (breeder) and travel non-commercially, but technically, the transport involves a change or ownership and re-homing, so the puppy must travel under commercial rules. You can find the differences between commercial and non-commercial travel to the UK here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedKingdom.cfm.
    Phil

  4. Hi I want to get a puppy from Europe and bring it back with from my holiday.The breeder will get a passport ready but it will be in her name.Will I be able to enter UK with a puppy and a passport in breeders name?

  5. Owner – no, your puppy would need to be microchipped, then vaccinated for rabies no sooner than 12 weeks and wait for 21 days before entering Denmark.
    Susan

  6. I am looking at getting a puppy from either Germany or the Netherlands. I live in Denmark. Would I be able to bring this puppy into Denmark before the age of 12 weeks?

  7. Jerri – the requirement for animals to enter the UK as air cargo is not that of DEFRA; it is the pet policy of the airlines. If you can find an approved airline that has a pet policy for ESAs, then your daughter’s pet should be able to enter the UK in the cabin. Try another airline.
    Susan

  8. My daughter, Hannah, is going to England in Sept for grad school and wants to take her service dog w/her. UK rules state service dog has to be trained by someone on their (International) list. As Hannah’s dog doesn’t meet this requirement she has to travel as a non-service animal in cargo/hold and must be done through a shipping company. The cheapest price for this is $3,500. We are trying to figure out another way to get the dog into England and hoping someone has ideas…? ☺

  9. Hi Brittany – your dogs will need a current rabies vaccination administered after a 15 digit microchip was implanted and no sooner than 21 days before entering Germany (https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Germany.cfm). Within 12 days of travel, a USDA-accredited vet must complete the Annex IV form for Germany for endorsement by the USDA. You will give your family member Power of Attorney to represent you in their transport. They will need to sign a Declaration of Non-Commercial Transport attesting the dogs’ movement was not due to the sale of the dogs.
    Susan

  10. Hi, we are moving to Germany and will not be able to fly our dogs with us on the same plane. We are planing on having a family member fly them over (it’s cheaper to purchase a round trip ticket than a one way) with them on their flight. Would you be able to direct me in the best way to do this?

  11. Sheila – your kitten must have been microchipped before being vaccinated for rabies, otherwise, it must be re-vaccinated after it is chipped. The vaccination must be at least 21 days prior to import to Scotland. A licensed veterinarian will complete the Annex IV for Scotland within 10 days of entry for endorsement by the CFIA. Details here with links to instructions and forms if you need them: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Scotland.cfm. Your kitty must fly as air cargo into Glasgow or Edinburgh on an approved airline (Air Canada is approved to fly to Edinburgh and likely flies your route.)
    Susan

  12. I am traveling back to canada to get my kitten he is 6 months old and i want to bring him home with me to Scotland. He has been vaccinated for his 6weeks shots his 8 week shots and his 12 week shots also has a rabies certificate, what do i need to do next.

  13. Richard – you can have a legal representative accompany your cat to the UK in August (watch out for high temperatures as your cat will be flying in cargo.) or it can fly with or within 5 days of your flight to qualify for Pet Travel Scheme regulations. If your cat is traveling unaccompanied, it must fly under commercial regulations. See the differences here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedKingdom.cfm.
    Susan

  14. Triin – you may want to contact DEFRA to make sure that your pup can leave the UK un-vaccinated. We have heard mixed comments about this from UK vets. You will need to sign a Declaration of Non-commercial Travel form. (the airlines may have this.) You will need to have your pup treated for tapeworm between one and five days of returning to the UK.
    Susan

  15. Rena – your Annex form should be for the first EU country that you enter. If you are flying in and out of Germany on the same airline, then your cat will transit the country and the Annex form should be for Hungary. You will need to have it endorsed by your State USDA office. Ask your vet for an APHIS 7001 form for the airlines.
    Susan

  16. Hi,

    I am returning to the UK from Thailand in July 2016. My cat has been microchipped in January 2016, rabies vaccinated in Feb 2016, and the blood sample taken and sent to a Swiss lab in April 2016. So I think we’re all good to go in July. My question is, my original plan was for me to fly back in early July and then my cat to fly in August 2016 once I had found suitable accommodation etc… However, I have now read that my cat must fly within 5 days of me travelling. I fly on the 12th July, so does he have to fly on the 17th at the latest… Is it possible for him to stay in Thailand until mid august and then fly? If so, what additional paperwork do I need to fill in etc?

  17. Hi, we are flying soon with our puppy from London Heathrow to Estonia through Finland Helsinki Vantaa airport (transiting only). Pup is less than 12 weeks old, unvaccinated but is microchipped and has EU vet book.
    Puppy is flying in the hold, we are on the same flight, tickets are booked for all of us. We have all documentation – non-commerical movement and healt cert that pup has not had contact with rabies animals.

    Is this all we need or are there something more, like an in airport checkups. I prefer not to have any surprises before the flight.

    Or I give the pup to checkin and this is it?

  18. Hello!
    We will be flying with Lufthansa from the US to Hungary with transit in Germany. Our cat flies with us in the cabin. He has an EU passport, but he received rabies boosters during his stay in the US. My understanding is that (besides the docs required by Lufthansa) he needs Annex IV too – this health certificate should be issued in at least English AND one of the official languages of the entry point. Since our entry port is in Germany, but our destination is Hungary, in what language(s) do we need this Annex? Do we need it for both Germany AND Hungary? Thank you in advance for the help.

  19. Jose – according to Switzerland’s regulations, unaccompanied pets can only enter the country within the 5 day window of their owners under the regulations of the Pet Travel Scheme. In other words, puppies cannot enter Switzerland unaccompanied for the purpose of resale or rehoming.
    Phil

  20. Owmer – your airlines will be looking for an APHIS 7001 form completed by a veterinarian and endorsed by your State USDA office. The vet should complete the form within 10 days of travel. You call the State USDA office and make an appointment to bring in the forms or you send the forms with a check for $38 with a postage-paid expedited return envelope and the USDA will return them to you, usually in about 3 days. Most all vets have APHIS 7001 forms and are familiar with filling them out. As you have an EU Pet Passport, you should not need an Annex IV form unless your cat has received a rabies booster while in the US. If it has, then the rabies booster should be reflected on the Annex IV form. More details here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Finland.cfm.
    Susan

  21. Hello. A friend who is in Switzerland is interested to purchase a puppy from the Philippines. What does the current rules say on purchase of puppies (commercial)?

  22. I am travelling to Finland with my domestic cat. He has his EU passport and a micro chip. I know i need a USDA veterinarian to give a rabies booster and to write a health certificate. I am having trouble locating a vet who will write the health certificate, there are USDA accredited veterinarians but they all say they don’t write health certificates anymore. Where can i get the certificate and how does the USDA work? If i go to the USDA accredited vet to take the rabies vaccination and to get the health certificate, do i still have to send some papers to the USDA?

  23. If the dog has an EU Pet Passport, then you will need to contact the airlines to see if they are expecting an APHIS 7001 form for the dog. If it does not have an EU Pet Passport, then it will need an Annex IV form and an APHIS 7001 form endorsed by the USDA. This is assuming that your friend will be traveling with the dog. If not, then an Annex I form will need to be completed instead of an Annex IV form.
    Susan

  24. to be as concise as possible, my friend, a French citizen, traveled here in October with her dog. She had to go back to France unexpectedly and left her dog here. Now she is going to take her home. The dog is up to date on vaccinations, passport and health certificate. Does she still need the USDA endorsement?
    thank you

  25. I would like to bring a 10 week old puppy home with me from Hungary to the United States on Wednesday January 20, 2016. I will drive to Vienna Austria airport then fly into Amsterdam on KML. The flight from Amsterdam to the United States is on Delta (operated by KML). I have forms to move the puppy from Hungary to Austria. I have permission from the Center of Disease Control to bring the puppy into the United States without the rabies vaccination. My problem is in Amsterdam. I cannot get a answer if they will allow the puppy through customs. I was planning on hand carrying the dog on the flight. Would it make a difference if I checked the puppy as access baggage to avoid customs? Can you please help. I would not risk bringing the puppy unless I had a definite answer.

    Thanks!

  26. Dan – as long as the titer tests were done according to EU regulations, the EU considers them good for the life of your pet as long as the rabies vaccinations have been kept up to date. EU regs are: pet must have a current rabies vaccination AFTER a microchip is implanted. After the vaccination, a 30 day wait must occur. Then a titer test must be performed and the sample must be sent to an EU-approved laboratory. If that was done, you do not need another titer test.
    Susan

  27. We are returning to EU from Panama after 3 years with our two chihuahuas. They have pet passports, with rabies blood assays etc, and have been revaccinated to schedule- which in Panama is every year. Do they have to have a new rabies blood assay to re-enter EU from Panama or does original assay hold as long as vaccinations are within date?

  28. Inna – ordinarily, if you are flying in and out of Finland on the same airline, you and your pet can transit the country. That said, you mentioned that you needed to enter the EU in Finland so your pet will be inspected in Finland as well and you will need the Annex IV form for Finland completed within 10 days of travel. You can use the same form to enter any EU country for 4 months after it is completed by your vet. If you are not arriving during normal working hours, you will certainly need to let Border Inspection Officials know that. In some countries, veterinary inspection can be arranged after hours. We have not tried to do that in Finland. You will need to leave time to clear customs before getting on your next plane. BIP officials may be able to help you with that. You can find details on entering Finland with your pet here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Finland.cfm.
    Phil

  29. Hi and thank you for answering. I will transport my cat from Israel to Sweden with connection in Finland (cat in cabin). I have to enter the EU in Finland (passport control).
    I have the required docs, titer test etc. do I have to go through the veterinary control in Finland or in Sweden? Are there different Annex IV forms for these countries? Do I have to take a longer connection so that I have enough time to go through the vet control in Finland? I also saw somewhere that I need to be there (Finland) at the vet border control working hours. Is it true? Thank you!!!

  30. Joanna – your ex should have no problem with transiting in Amsterdam because the requirements are the same as for entering Spain. If he is on the same airline in and out of Amsterdam, and the layover is not excessive (under 3 hours), then the airline will transit your dogs and no documentation is needed. If he is changing airlines in the Netherlands, he will need to claim your dogs, clear customs and recheck them for the next leg of the flight. This will mean he will enter the EU at the Netherlands and the vet should complete an Annex IV form for the Netherlands. If the dogs are just transiting, then the Annex IV form for Spain should be completed.
    Susan

  31. My two dogs have everything they need (microchip, South African state vet paperwork etc) I live in Spain and my ex is bringing them to me. Problem: no direct flights from south Africa to Barcelona or madrid, they are via other eu countries or dubai/Qatar. If he lands in Amsterdam for example, will he have trouble getting the dogs from there to Spain?

  32. Lynn – to travel from Norway to Edinburgh, your dog will need to have a current rabies vaccination administered after a microchip was implanted and at least 21 days or more prior to travel. With an updated EU Pet Passport, you are good to travel with your pet. We are not aware that any commercial airline will fly live animals into the UK as checked baggage; they require that pets travel as air cargo.
    Phil

  33. Hi, I am planning take my golden retriever from Norway to Edinburgh, I have a pet passport for my dog, do I need to get him certifified by a vet that he is fit to travel? Or is there any other documentation needed ffor his travel because I intend to travel with as excess baggage on
    KLM. Thanks

  34. Pieter – to export your pup from Scotland, it should be microchipped no sooner than 12 weeks of age, then vaccinated for rabies – in that order. Get your pet an EU Pet Passport from your vet. When 22 days have passed after the rabies vaccination, you are good to go as long as you or your legal representative are traveling with or within 5 days of your pet. If your pet is traveling alone, it will need a health examination within 48 hours of travel and you will need to contact the Scottish government about the transport. Details for entering the Netherlands here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Holland_Netherlands.cfm.
    Susan
    Susan

  35. I was wondering how old a labrador retriever has to be to bring from scotland to the netherlands, anybody any ideas?

  36. Hi, after reading the comments I am a little confused. Our family is moving the states. So can we bring our 4 month old puppies that are already fully vaccinated for rabies?

  37. Hello,
    Please help me answer the questions I cannot find the answers online.
    I would like to bring a dog from Yangon, Myanmar to UK.
    Is this possible since myanmar is not listed on the official website of pet and travel?
    If so, what will be the easiest/recommended way and rout to bring my dog to UK?

    Thank you very much.

  38. The airlines may require the health certificate and, assuming a vet in the US issues it, it should be endorsed by the USDA. You will need to sign a Declaration of Non-Commercial transport. If the owner is accompanying the pet, that is all you will need. If you or someone else is representing her, then Power of Attorney is advised.
    Susan

  39. I have a friend’s dog visiting the states to be shown and returning next month to Germany.Ownership never changed during her visit. She does have her EU pet passport and is current on all of her vaccines so I only need her international health cert and the USDA approval before sending her back correct? She will be traveling as baggage with a passenger.

  40. CC – you can clear your pet in Manchester as long as you are traveling with your cat. However, you can fly directly to Edinburgh or Glasgow on an approved airline and avoid Glasgow if there is routing from your home in the US. United and KLM are approved to transport pets into both airports. Additionally, Lufthansa and Air Canada is approved to fly into Edinburgh. As for the details for flying into Scotland, you can find them all here with links for forms and instructions here if you need them: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Scotland.cfm. You will need to have both an Annex IV and APHIS 7001 form completed by a USDA accredited vet and endorsed by the USDA within 10 days of travel. We suggest expedited shipping if the State USDA office is not located in your home city.
    Phil

  41. Hello! We are moving from USA to Scotland and bringing our one year old cat. We will be flying from Olando to Aberdeen, Scotland, connecting via Manchester, England. I have read somewhere that since we are coming from a non-EU country, that we must fly into Edinburgh or Glasgow for our cat to be inspected? Is this true? Also, if you could please kindly clarify the annex IV form process. I need to visit the vet approx. 10 days prior to the flight and have him fill out Annex IV form (where can I get this form?), then send form to USDA, then wait for their approval (via mail?), then bring form with me on flight and after arrival in Scotland, visit vet again to sign off on form? Thank you so much for the info service you provide.

  42. Hi Ethan – the clock starts ticking after the USDA endorses the Annex IV form. Because the forms must be completed and endorsed within 10 days of travel, you should visit your vet 8-10 days prior to travel and have them complete the Annex IV and APHIS 7001 form and get them to the USDA as soon as you can with either a visit or express mail. Include a return postage paid envelope. You will need to sign a Declaration of Non-Commercial Transport stating that you have no intention of re-homing or selling your cat or dog. Other than that, you are good to go.
    Susan

  43. Hi. I read the comments chain and am a bit confused with what are the new regs. I am traveling from the USA to Belgium with a dog and a cat. They both have the 15 digits microchip and the required vaccines. The vet will issue us the EU certificate. is there anything else we need? how soon before we move do we need to have the certificate endorsed by USDA?

    Thanks Admin!

  44. John – your pup needs to travel as manifest cargo into the UK due to airline regulations. If you are not traveling with your pup, then it must travel commercially. You can find the requirements for importing a pet commercially to the UK from a Third country here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedKingdom.cfm. CITIES usually covers endangered species and you can look up your pup here to see if it is covered: http://checklist.cites.org/#/en.
    Susan

  45. Cecilla – the EU only recognizes the 15 digit microchip. What that means is that there is no guarantee that they will have a universal scanner at customs clearance that can read a 9 digit microchip. Best to have your pet re-chipped or carry a scanner that will read your pet’s chip. You will need an Annex IV form for Germany and it should be completed by a veterinarian licensed by the government and endorsed by a local Senasica office. Ask your vet about this. the form will be good to enter Belgium as well.
    Phil

  46. Tyra – the US has changed their regulations and puppies being imported for the purposes of a change of ownership must be fully vaccinated for rabies and no less than 6 months of age. This is most likely the problem.
    Phil

  47. I was due to have a puppy shipped from Germany into the US. Now the breeder is calling and saying that due to new rules, they can no longer ship puppies from Germany to US because of new rules imposed by Germany/EU? Can someone help me to better understand this. I’ve been getting puppies from this same breeder for myself for years.

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