Moving Pets in the European Union
Properly identified and vaccinated pet animals may travel freely in mainland Europe, provided they have an EU Pet Passport...
European Pet Passport
The European Pet Passport (EU Pet Passport) allows for qualifying domestic animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) to freely cross borders in Europe. It is a booklet, identical for all European countries, which contains obligatory information concerning an individual animal: identification number, and proof of valid vaccination against the rabies virus. It may contain other non-obligatory information and is valid for the lifetime of the pet. Each passport is numbered for identification purposes. Animals travelling within any European Union country need to be accompanied by a Pet Passport.
For Ireland, Finland, Malta, Norway and the United Kingdom, further rules apply. When crossing the border to these countries dogs must, in addition to the passport, also have proof of tapeworm (echinococcosis) treatment. This treatment must be administered between 24 and 120 hours before entering the country. All vets should have the relevant information and be able to prepare a pet for travel.
- Learn more about tapeworm treatment
- Note: There are no restrictions on the movement of pet rabbits, rodents, fish, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates within the EU and no pet passport is needed for these animals. Rabbits and rodents from outside the EU may need to spend up to four months in quarantine. See the Europa's FAQ page on pet transport for more details
- The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows qualifying domestic pets to travel to and from the UK without undergoing quarantine
- See the EUROPA website for more information on transporting pets in the EU
- A pet is eligible for a pet passport even if the owner is not an EU citizen
Changes in 2015
To reduce the number of pets being unethically bred and sold in the EU, rules on pet transport within the union changed as of 29 December 2014. The key changes are:
- In general dogs, cats and ferrets cannot receive a rabies vaccine before the age of 12 weeks. As a kitten or puppy cannot be transported without a confirmatory blood test 21 days after the primary vaccination, this effectively increases the minimum age at which a pet may be transported to 106 days (approximately 3.5 months). The day after of vaccination is counted as Day One. Note: Some countries make provisions for transporting dogs, cats and ferrets younger than 12 weeks old. See the Europa website for more information on the laws of individual member states
- The introduction of a new style of pet passport. The new pet passport has laminated pages detailing micro-chipping, vaccination information and other details about the pet. Laminate is used to avoid this information being fraudulently changed later. If an animal already has an older style of pet passport it is not necessary to apply for a new one
- The definition of domestic pets has been more clearly defined to prevent the illegal import of cross breeds and animals considered to be exotic. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are now defined as Felis silvestris catus (domestic cat), Canis lupis familiaris (domestic dog) and Mustela putorius furo (ferret)
- Owners must travel with their pets or within five days of their pets being transported. An animal that travels more than five days before or after the owner must fulfil the requirements that apply to animals transported for trade, and fulfil those animal health conditions
Getting an EU Pet Passport
The passport may only be issued by a licenced vet and both the passport and a record of administered vaccines should be kept current by the vet. Before issuing it, the vet will confirm that the animal: is identified by a microchip has valid vaccines against rabies has had a blood test to confirm the vaccine is in the system Following these steps the vet can issue a certificate of health - the Pet Passport.
Arriving in France
A non-commercial importer may bring up to five pets into France.
Pet owners must carry a valid EU Pet Passport for each pet when travelling with their animals to France.
If the rabies vaccination was the animal's first vaccine then it must wait for 21 days before entering the country. There is no time delay with booster injections, providing there is proof that the booster was administered before the last vaccine had expired.
A dog, cat or ferret must be over three months old to enter French territory. However an animal under three months of age may enter if it has had the complete rabies innoculation.
Rabbits and rodents may travel without a passport but should be declared at the border.
- The French Ministry of Agriculture has more information (in French)
- Information on travelling with pets from Service Public (in French)
Bringing birds to France
Each family is allowed to bring maximum five birds into France, provided it has a certificat sanitaire and a declaration du propriétaire. One of the following conditions must apply:
- There has been a 30 day pre-export quarantine
- There has been a 30 day quarantine after import
- The bird has been vaccinated with the H5 vaccine at least 60 days before the import
- Isolation of the bird for at least 10 days before departure and a test to detect the H5N1 antigen or genome
Compliance with the above conditions must be verified in a certificate by an official veterinarian.
Bringing other pet animals to France
Small pet animals such as rabbits and reptiles need a veterinary certificate to state that the animal is in good health, not showing any signs of illness. At the most five animals may be brought in.