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Last checked: 09/02/2021

Travelling with pets and other animals in the EU

Affected by Brexit?

Travelling with pets: dogs, cats and ferrets

EU rules make it easy to travel to another EU country (in this case the 27 EU countries + Norway ) with your dog, cat or ferret. These rules also cover travel to the EU from a country or territory outside the EU.

With a few exceptions, your pet can travel with you to another EU country or from a non-EU country to an EU country if it has:

Warning

The EU rules on travelling with pet animals apply to private journeys with pet animals which do not involve a change of ownership or sale.

Travel documents for your pet dog, cat or ferret

European pet passport

A European pet passport is a document, which follows an EU standard model and is essential for travel between EU countries. It contains a description and details of your pet, including its microchip or tattoo code as well as its rabies vaccination record and contact details of the owner and the vet who issued the passport. You can get a European pet passport for your dog, cat or ferret from any authorised vet (permitted by the relevant authorities to issue pet passports). A pet passport is valid for life as long as your pets rabies vaccination is in date.

Warning

If you are travelling to an EU country from Andorra, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State, your pet can also enter the EU with a pet passport issued in one of these countries.

EU animal health certificate

An EU animal health certificate is another type of document, which contains specific information about your pet (identity, health, rabies vaccinations) and is based on an EU standard model.

If you are travelling from a non-EU country or territory, your pet must have an EU animal health certificate endorsed by an official State vet in the country of departure not more than 10 days before your pet arrives in the EU. The certificate is valid for travel between EU countries for 4 months from this date or until the anti-rabies vaccination expires, whichever lapses first.

In addition, you should also complete and attach a written declaration to your pets EU animal health certificate stating that its relocation is for non-commercial reasons. This declaration is also required if your pet is travelling under the responsibility of a person authorised by you. In this case, your pet must be reunited with you within 5 days of your relocation.

Pets travelling without their owner

As a rule, pets must travel with their owners; however, you may give written permission to another person to accompany your pet for you (this written declaration is described above). You must however be reunited your pet within 5 days of its relocation.

Warning

If your pet is travelling unaccompanied, it will have to comply with animal health rules which apply to the import or trade of dogs cats or ferrets into the EU.

Travelling with more than five pets

You can travel with up to five pets, but if you there are more than five pets (dogs, cats or ferrets) you must provide proof that:

Warning

If you are travelling with more than 5 pets (dog, cats, or ferrets) and you do not meet any of the exceptions mentioned above, your pets have to comply with animal health rules which apply to the commercial import of animals into the EU.

Check the detailed rules when travelling with your dog, cat or ferret:

Choose the country you are travelling from:

Rabies vaccination

Before your pet can travel, an authorised vet must vaccinate it against rabies. For the vaccination to be valid, your pet must be at least 12 weeks old and must have been microchipped before the vaccination is given. Your pet can travel 21 days after the completion of the vaccination protocol. You should make sure that any further vaccinations are given before the validity period of the previous one has expired.

Rabies vaccination – exceptions for young dogs, cats, ferrets

You can travel with your young pet to Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland if it less than 12 weeks old and has not been vaccinated against rabies, or if it is between 12 and 16 weeks old, has been vaccinated, but is not yet fully immune to rabies.

To be allowed to travel with your pet in these cases:

  • you must either have a declaration attached to your pets passport stating that it has had no contact from birth up until the time of travel with any wild animal species prone to rabies,

or

  • your pet must be accompanied by its mother from whose passport it is clear that she has had an anti-rabies vaccination before giving birth.

Warning

Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Norway do not allow you to enter their territory with a young pet which has not been vaccinated against rabies or has been vaccinated but is not yet fully immune.

Special rules for treating the tapeworm Echinococcus - dogs only

If you are travelling with your dog to Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway, you must have it treated against the tapeworm Echinococcus between 24 and 120 hours before travel. All details of the treatment must be entered in your pets passport or EU health certificate.

Warning

The anti-Echinococcus treatment is not required for dogs travelling directly between Finland, Ireland, Malta and Norway.

Rabies vaccination

Before your pet can travel, an authorised vet must vaccinate it against rabies. For the vaccination to be valid, your pet must be at least 12 weeks old and must have been microchipped before the vaccination is given. Your pet can travel 21 days after the completion of the vaccination protocol. You should make sure that any further vaccinations are given before the validity period of the previous one has expired.

Rabies vaccination – exceptions for young dogs, cats, ferrets

You can travel with your young pet (dog, cat, or ferret) to Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Switzerland if it less than 12 weeks old and has not been vaccinated against rabies, or if it is between 12 and 16 weeks old has been vaccinated but is not yet immune to rabies.

To be allowed to travel in these cases:

  • you must either have a declaration attached to your EU animal health certificate or passport (if travelling from if travelling from Andorra, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State only) stating that it has had no contact from birth up until the time of travel with any wild animal species prone to rabies,

or

  • your pet must be accompanied by its mother from whose EU health certificate or passport (if travelling from Andorra, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State only) it is clear that she has had an anti-rabies vaccination before giving birth.

Warning

Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Norway do not allow you to enter their territory with a young pet, which has not been vaccinated against rabies or has been vaccinated but is not yet fully immune.

Special rules for treating the tapeworm Echinococcus - dogs only

If you are travelling with your dog to Finland, Ireland, Malta, or Norway, you must have it treated against the tapeworm Echinococcus between 24 and 120 hours before travel. All details of the treatment must be entered in your pets passport or EU health certificate.

Warning

The anti-Echinococcus treatment is not required for dogs travelling directly between Finland, Ireland, Malta and Norway.

Rabies vaccination

Before your pet can travel, an authorised vet must vaccinate it against rabies. For the vaccination to be valid, your pet must be at least 12 weeks old and must have been microchipped before the vaccination is given. Your pet can travel 21 days after the completion of the vaccination protocol. You should make sure that any further vaccinations are given before the validity period of the previous one has expired.

Rabies vaccination – exceptions for young dogs, cats, ferrets

You can travel with your young pet (dog, cat, or ferret) to Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Switzerland if it less than 12 weeks old and has not been vaccinated against rabies, or if it is between 12 and 16 weeks old has been vaccinated but is not yet immune to rabies.

To be allowed to travel in these cases:

  • you must either have a declaration attached to your EU animal health certificate or passport (if travelling from Andorra, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State only) stating that it has had no contact from birth up until the time of travel with any wild animal species prone to rabies,

or

  • your pet must be accompanied by its mother from whose EU health certificate or passport (if travelling from Andorra, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State only) it is clear that she has had an anti-rabies vaccination before giving birth.

Warning

Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Norway do not allow you to enter their territory with a young pet, which has not been vaccinated against rabies or has been vaccinated but is not yet fully immune.

Special rules for treating the tapeworm Echinococcus - dogs only

If you are travelling with your dog to Finland, Ireland, Malta, or Norway, you must have it treated against the tapeworm Echinococcus between 24 and 120 hours before travel. All details of the treatment must be entered in your pets passport or EU health certificate.

Warning

The anti-Echinococcus treatment is not required for dogs travelling directly between Finland, Ireland, Malta, and Norway.

Entering the EU with your pet

You can only enter the EU with your pet through a travellers point of entry in the EU country of destination, your pets documents and identity will be checked by the competent authorities. If your pet fails these compliance checks, it may be returned to the country of departure, be placed in quarantine until such time as it is complies with EU health rules or if neither of these options are possible, the animal may be euthanised.

Rabies vaccination

Before your pet can travel, an authorised vet must vaccinate it against rabies. For the vaccination to be valid, your pet must be at least 12 weeks old and must have been microchipped before the vaccination is given. Your pet can travel 21 days after the completion of the vaccination protocol. You should make sure that any further vaccinations are given before the validity period of the previous one has expired.

In addition to the standard requirements (microchip, anti-rabies vaccination, anti-Echinococcus treatment where necessary, EU health certificate), your pet must have a rabies antibody test 30 days after their rabies vaccination and not less than 3 months before travelling to the EU. An authorised vet must take the blood sample for testing by an EU approved blood-testing laboratory.

The results of the rabies anti-body test must be attached to your pets EU health certificate.

Entering the EU with your pet

You can only enter the EU with your pet through a travellers point of entry in the EU country of destination, your pets documents and identity will be checked by the competent authorities. If your pet fails these compliance checks, it may be returned to the country of departure, be placed in quarantine until such time as it is complies with EU health rules or if neither of these options are possible, the animal may be euthanised.

Travelling with other pets

European pet passports are issued for dogs, cats and ferrets only. If you are travelling to another EU country with any other pets, such as birds, ornamental aquatic animals, reptiles, rodents or rabbits, check the national rules of the country you are planning to visit for information on the entry conditions.

FAQs

EU legislation

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