Moving Pets Within the European Union

Properly identified and vaccinated pet animals may travel freely within the EU...

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.

  • 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.

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 vaccination is counted as Day One. Note: Some countries make provisions for transporting dogs, cats and ferrets younger than 12 weeks old. 

The definition of domestic pets is clearly defined to prevent the illegal import of crossbreeds and animals considered to be exotic. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are 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.