How to Get an EU Pet Passport in 2023
With an EU Pet Passport, your dog, cat or ferret can can travel through the EU and other non-EU countries. So, if you’re planning a trip around Europe, you don’t have to leave your furry friend at home!
In this article we will discuss everything you need to know on how to get a pet passport in the EU.
What is an EU Pet Passport?
An EU Pet Passport is a compilation of documents that your pet needs in order to travel to EU countries. With an EU pet passport, your dog, cat or ferret will be able to travel freely through the EU without enduring a quarantine period. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your pet is fit and healthy to travel.
The documents required to travel depend on which country you are travelling from, and which country you are entering. Each country has different rules and requirements to export and import pets. These also vary between pet species. We will discuss the requirements in detail below.
The requirements for travel to EU Member States with your pet depends on the country you are travelling from.
There are 4 categories of countries. The category your country falls into will determine the preparations you need to make for your pet to travel. Details for each category are set out below:
Category 1 (EU Countries).
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Andorra, Switzerland, Faeroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City State.
Ascension Island, United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Bahrain, Bermuda, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (the BES Islands), Belarus, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Fiji, Falkland Islands, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, Montserrat, North Macedonia, Mauritius, Mexico, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Russia, Singapore, Saint Helena, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, United States of America, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
An unlisted country is any country not listed in the list of EU or non-EU countries. These countries have not applied or been accepted for listed status because of less robust veterinary or administrative systems or higher rabies incidence. The rules for taking your pets to these countries, or returning to the EU from these countries are different than they are for EU member states and listed countries.
How do I get a EU Pet Passport.
Traveling from within the EU (Category 1)
The first step towards obtaining an EU pet passport is to ensure your pet has a microchip. The microchip should comply with ISO standards and be implanted by a qualified professional. The unique identification number linked to the microchip will serve as a permanent and secure form of identification for your pet.
To obtain an EU pet passport, your pet must be up-to-date on their vaccinations. The core vaccinations include rabies, which is mandatory for travel within the EU. Ensure your pet receives the rabies vaccination at least 21 days before your intended travel date. You do not have to wait the 21 days if your pet has had yearly or 3 yearly booster vaccinations.
Depending on your destination within the EU, additional vaccinations may be required, so consult with your veterinarian.
Pet Passport Application.
Contact your veterinarian or a designated animal health authority in your country to obtain an EU pet passport application form. Complete the form accurately and include all necessary information, such as your contact details, pet’s identification details, vaccination records, and health certificate. Review the form thoroughly to avoid any errors or omissions that could delay the process.
Submit the completed application form, along with any required supporting documents, to the appropriate authority in your country. Pay any applicable fees, which may vary depending on your location.
Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive an EU pet passport for your furry friend. This document contains crucial information about your pet, including their identification details, vaccination records, and your contact information. Ensure all the details are accurate and check for any errors.
If you are traveling to the UK, Ireland Finland, Norway or Malta, dogs will need a tapeworm treatment. Your dog must be treated against tapeworms between 24 hours (1 day) and 120 hours (5 days) before entering these countries. If you fail to have your dog treated within this time scale, then he or she may be put into quarantine for up to 4 months. The treatment must be administered by a vet and officially recorded in your pet’s passport.
Traveling from outside the EU (Category 2, 3 & 4)
If you are traveling to the EU from a non-EU country, the process will be slightly different. It will also vary depending on whether you are traveling from a group 2, group 3 or group 4 (unlisted) country.
Animal Health Certificate.
If you are traveling to an EU country, from a group 2, group 3 or group 4 (unlisted) country, you will need to get your dog, cat or ferret an animal health certificate. This will need to be obtained within 10 days of travel and must be signed by an official veterinarian.
Your pet’s animal health certificate will be valid after the date of issue for:
- 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
- 4 months for onward travel within the EU
- 4 months for re-entry to GB
Your pet will need a new animal health certificate each time you travel to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
Rabies Blood Test.
If you are traveling from a group 4 (unlisted country), your dog, cat or ferret will need a rabies blood test. A blood test must be taken at least 30 days after your pet’s rabies vaccination and the blood test must show the vaccination was successful. The date of the vaccination counts as day zero not day 1. You must then wait 3 calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before travelling.
How long does it take to get an EU Pet Passport?
The time it takes to get an EU Pet Passport depends on where you are traveling from. In most instances, it should take under a month. This is the case when applying from within the EU, or when traveling from a group 2 or group 3 country. However, if you are traveling from a group 4 (unlisted country) it can take up over 4 months.
If you are based within the EU, or are traveling to the EU from a group 2 or group 3 country, the process is simple. You must visit the vet with your dog, get them microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. You must then wait 21 days before traveling. If traveling from group 2 or 3 you will also need to obtain an animal health certificate.
However, dogs traveling to the EU from unlisted countries require a rabies blood test. This can take over 4 months to complete. This is because you must wait 30 days after your dog’s rabies vaccination before doing the blood test. You also have to wait 3 calendar months from the date of the blood sample, before traveling.
How much does an EU Pet Passport cost?
The cost of a EU Pet Passport can vary drastically between €20 and €448+. The price you pay will depend on the following:
- The country you get your pet’s passport in
- The veterinary clinic that you visit
- The species of your pet
- Whether your pet already has a microchip and rabies vaccination
Firstly, different countries and veterinary clinics will have different prices for an EU pet passport. If you want to save some money, check the prices of a few different veterinary clinics.
Additionally, some pets species may require more treatments and vaccines than others. For example, only dogs will require tapeworm treatments when travelling to the UK, Ireland, Finland, Norway and Malta.
If your pet already has a microchip, and a recent rabies vaccination, you will probably pay less for your EU pet passport. This is because you will only be paying for the health check and the documents.
For more information on the cost of an EU Pet Passport, check How much does an EU Pet Passport cost?.
Advantages of getting an EU Pet Passport
The main reason to get a pet passport is to facilitate the ease of travel throughout the EU. However, there are many more benefits of getting an EU pet passport:
- Easy travel inside EU – through European borders, including the UK, Norway, Switzerland, and the Balkans.
- Easy travel outside EU – to the UK, Norway, Switzerland, the Balkans, the US and other countries.
- Avoid quarantine – when traveling within the EU and to many non-EU countries, your pet will not need to endure a length quarantine period.
- Organisation – all of your pet’s medical records are stored in one location.
- Healthy pet – getting an EU pet passport forces you to regularly check your pet’s health.
With an EU pet passport, your dog, cat or ferret will be able to travel through the EU with ease. The pet passport contains all the required documents to show customs officials that your pet is healthy and fit for travel. Additionally, an official EU pet passport will also allow your pet to travel to countries outside of the EU.
With an EU pet passport, your pet will not be required to ensure a lengthy quarantine period. However, there may be some exceptions to this when traveling outside of the EU.
As well as hassle-free border crossing with your pet, a pet passport will eliminate the need to fill out confusing paperwork. All of your pet’s medical records will be stored in one place, making it easy to manage.
How to use an EU Pet Passport.
You pretty much use it just as you would your own passport!
When crossing a border, you will need to inform the customs agent that you are bringing your pet. If you are booking a flight or traveling on a train, inform the travel company that you will be traveling with a pet. It’s important to do this as some companies do not allow pets. It is easier if you are traveling in a car.
When at the border, you will simply need to present your passport, along with your pet’s passport.
It is important to keep in mind that vaccinations must remain up to date in order for your pet’s passport to be valid. Additionally, remember to check border requirements prior to entry in case the country has additional requirements.
Can my dog travel to the EU without an EU Pet Passport?
Yes, they can.
If you are traveling from outside the EU with your pet, you will need an animal health certificate instead of an EU Pet Passport. This will need to be issued by an official veterinarian.
Once you arrive in the EU, you are are able to apply for an official EU Pet Passport, which would make traveling in between EU countries easier.
How has Brexit affected an EU Pet Passport issued in the UK?
An EU pet passport issued in the UK will not be valid for travel to the EU.
Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- You must have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.
- You must obtain a AHC from an accredited vet 10 days before travel.
Your pet will need a new health certificate for each trip to the EU.
Related post: How Much Does a Dog Passport Cost in the UK?
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
How long is EU Pet Passport valid for?
A pet passport is valid for life as long as your pets rabies vaccination is in date.
Can I get my puppy or kitten an EU Pet Passport?
Many countries require that dogs and cats are a minimum of 4 months old. This is because many countries require rabies vaccinations which can only be administered to pets over the age of 3 months. Most of the time you must wait 28 days after the vaccination, before entering a country. This is the case for entering the US. Additionally, proof of age should be available.
What if I lose my EU Pet Passport?
If a passport is lost or stolen, it can be replaced as long as you have evidence of the animal’s vaccination record and blood test result (if applicable). Both records must also show your pet's microchip number. Details of the lost or stolen passport, including its serial number, country and date of issue (if known) should be recorded on the Pet Passport Control Sheet. We recommend that you scan photos of your pet passport in case you lose it.
Can I get an EU Pet Passport outside of the EU?
Unfortunately no. An EU pet passport must be issued by an official veterinarian within the EU. You can however travel to the EU with an animal health certificate issued by an official veterinarian in your country and apply for an EU pet passport once in the EU.
Obtaining an EU pet passport for your dog, cat or ferret is relatively simple. The requirements for travel to EU Member States with your pet depends on the country you are travelling from. If you are applying for an EU pet passport from within the EU, you’ll simply need a microchip and rabies vaccination. If traveling from outside the EU, you will also need an animal health certificate and potentially a rabies blood test. It’s important to note that each country may have slightly different requirements. So, be sure to check the import regulations for your specific destination country.
Hope you have found this helpful – happy travels!