Pet Passports & Documents

How to get an EU Pet Passport [2020 GUIDE]

With an EU Pet Passport, your dog, cat or ferret 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!

Getting an EU Pet Passport in 2020 is easy and will just take 2 simple steps:

  1. Research – different countries have different entry requirements for pets. Find out the requirements for your destination country before visiting the vet. You will also need to check whether there are any requirements to return to your home country.
  2. Visit the vet – your pet will need a microchip, a rabies vaccination and a general health check at minimum. An official EU vet will issue your pet’s passport. Your pet may also require additional treatments or vaccinations depending on where you are going.

In this article we will discuss everything you need to know on how to get a pet passport in the EU in 2020.




What is an EU Pet Passport?

An EU Pet Passport is a compilation of documents that your pet needs in order to travel. With an EU pet passport, your dog, cat or ferret will be able to travel freely through the EU without enduring a quarantine period. The documents must be issued by an official veterinarian within the EU. 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.




What does an EU Pet Passport contain?

An EU Pet Passport contains all the documents required to travel with your pet. It will basically prove that your pet is fit and healthy to travel.

An EU Pet Passport contains the following information:

  1. Details of ownership (name, address, passport number, telephone, etc.)
  2. Description of the animal (name, species, breed, date of birth, etc.)
  3. Microchip details
  4. Official veterinarian’s details
  5. Rabies vaccination certificate
  6. An optional photo
  7. Rabies antibody titer test results
  8. Anti-echinococcus treatment record
  9. Additional parasite treatment records
  10. Additional vaccinations recorded and treatment records

At minimum, your EU pet passport will contain those listed 1-5. These are compulsory in order to travel within the EU. Those listed 6-10 are potential requirements that your pet may need if you are traveling outside the EU.

All records are signed and stamped by your official EU veterinarian with official stickers from the medication used.




What is the process of getting an EU Pet Passport?

RESEARCH

Different countries have different entry requirements for pets. Requirements can also vary between pet species.

If you are traveling within the EU, it is likely that your pet will only require a rabies vaccination and microchip. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If you are traveling to the UK, Finland, Republic of Ireland or Malta with a dog, he or she will need a tapeworm treatment. Your EU vet can advise you on the appropriate timing of the medication dose, usually within 1 to 5 days before arrival.

If you are travelling outside of the EU, it is likely that your pet will require additional treatments and vaccinations.

For example – Turkey requires that all dogs get vaccines against parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus, bordetella, hepatitis and distemper before being allowed into the country. 

Find out the requirements of your destination country before visiting the vet. You will also need to check whether there are any requirements to return to your home country.

VISIT THE VET

Before booking an appointment, make sure that the vet is authorised to issue EU pet passports. Not all of them are. Additionally, when booking the appointment, inform the vet where you and your pet are heading to, in case they need to prepare extra vaccinations or treatments.

At the appointment, your vet will administer a microchip and rabies vaccination if your pet hasn’t already had them. They will also perform a basic health examination to ensure your pet is well enough to travel. Once the veterinarian is happy your pet is ready for travel, they will review all the paperwork and complete the pet passport book.

The appointment should take no longer than half an hour.

You will need to bring the following with you to the vet appointment:

  • Your passport
  • Your local address
  • Microchip information (if your pet already has one) – date of implantation, chip number and issuing company information (this info is also on the Annex IV)
  • Pet’s rabies certificate or rabies titre test results no less than 21 days old (if your pet has one)
  • Annex IV form completed by your home vet and endorsed by your country’s official veterinary regulatory body (if you are from outside the EU)
  • Pet photo (optional but recommended) – the size should be 2 x 2 inches (5cm x 5cm). It is better to have one as you do not want to give any customs official a reason to deny your pet entry into a country.

If your pet hasn’t yet been microchipped or vaccinated against rabies, don’t worry, your vet will complete these at the appointment.




How long does it take to get an EU Pet Passport?

Usually, it will take under an hour to get an EU Pet Passport. All it takes is a quick appointment at an official veterinary clinic within the EU.

To save time, when making an appointment be sure to advise the veterinarian staff that you want to get a pet passport. Some clinics are not authorised to issue pet passports. Additionally, you want to ensure that they have blank passports in stock.

The duration of the appointment will depend on how many treatments or vaccinations your pet requires. If your pet already has a microchip and has been vaccinated against rabies, then the appointment will be quick. In this case, your vet will just need to complete a health check and fill in any documents. On the other hand, if your pet hasn’t been microchipped or vaccinated, it may take longer. You may even have to go back for multiple visits.

Please note, it may take you longer than a day to get your complete pet passport. If you are traveling to a country that requires a rabies titer test (rabies blood test), the process will take longer. In these cases, you will need to allow yourself at least 3 months to prepare, 6 months to be safe.

Give your veterinary clinic a call to confirm roughly how long it will take them based on where you are going.




What are the requirements for an EU Pet Passport?

In order to get an EU pet passport, your dog, cat or ferret needs the following basic requirements:

    1. Rabies vaccination certificate
    2. Microchip

REQUIREMENT 1: MICROCHIPPING

Your pet must have a microchip (“transponder”), if you would like to get them an EU pet passport.

We recommend that this is the first step in the process of obtaining a pet passport. This is because if your pet isn’t microchipped before they get their rabies vaccination, then the vaccination may not be valid. This would mean your pet would have to get vaccinated again.


REQUIREMENT 2: RABIES VACCINATION

In order to qualify for an EU pet passport in 2020, your dog must be up to date on their rabies vaccinations. There is no exception to this rule.

Furthermore, in order to qualify, you must be able to prove that your dog has had their rabies vaccination within the past year.

If you’re vaccinating your dog against rabies for the first time and travelling to Europe or a listed non-European country, it must be completed at least 21 days before your arrival.




If you are traveling outside the EU your pet may require the following additional treatments or vaccinations:

  1. Tapeworm treatment
  2. Rabies titer test / rabies blood test
  3. Additional vaccinations – e.g. distemper, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus, bordetella, hepatitis
  4. CITES permit

REQUIREMENT 3: TAPEWORM TREATMENT

If you are traveling to the UK, Ireland Finland, Norway or Malta, dogs will also need a tapeworm treatment. This doesn’t apply to cats or ferrets.

Your dog must have been 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.

This must be administered by a vet and officially recorded in your pet’s EU passport.


REQUIREMENT 4: RABIES TITER TEST

Some countries require pets to have a rabies blood test to show that their rabies vaccination was successful.

Your veterinarian will need to take a blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination, usually. The sample will then be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.

The blood rest results must show that the vaccination was successful – i.e. your pet’s blood must contain at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody.

Usually, you must then wait 3 months from the date of the blood sample before travel.


REQUIREMENT 5: ADDITIONAL VACCINES

As well as the rabies vaccination, your pet may also require additional vaccinations.

This is dependent on the country that you are visiting, as different countries and territories have different requirements.

For example – Turkey requires that all dogs need vaccines against parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus, bordetella, hepatitis and distemper before being allowed into the country. 


REQUIREMENT 6: CITES PERMIT

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

If your pet is an endangered species, you will need to apply for a CITES Permit.

If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, and especially if it is a turtle or parrot, you should verify that it is not protected under CITES. You can check whether your pet is protected here.




How much does an EU Pet Passport cost in 2020?

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 in 2020?.




Where can my pet travel with an EU Pet Passport?

With an EU Pet Passport, dogs, cats and ferrets can travel freely within the EU, and some non-EU countries without quarantine. The countries in each category are listed below.

EUROPEAN UNION (EU) COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES

Austria Azores Balearic Islands Belgium
Bulgaria Canary Islands Ceuta Cyprus
Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Faroe Islands
Finland * France French Guiana Germany
Gibraltar Greece Greenland Guadeloupe **
Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia
Lithuania Luxembourg Madeira Malta *
Matinique Melilla Netherlands Poland
Portugal Reunion Romania Slovakia
Slovenia Spain Sweden

* When traveling to UK, Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta, dogs must have a tapeworm treatment within 1 to 5 days of entry.

** Includes St Barthelemy and St Martin (French part of the island)


LISTED NON-EU COUNTRIES

Andorra Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Aruba
Ascension Island Australia Bahrain Barbados
Belarus Bermuda BES Islands(Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba)(6) Bosnia-Herzegovina
British Virgin Islands Canada Cayman Islands Chile
Croatia Curacao (5) Falkland Islands Fiji
French Polynesia Guam Hawaii Hong Kong
Iceland Jamaica Japan Liechtenstein
Malaysia Mauritius Mayotte Mexico
Monaco Montserrat New Caledonia New Zealand
Norway Russian Federation * Saint Maarten *** San Marino
Singapore St Helena St Kitts and Nevis St Lucia
St Pierre and Miquelon St Vincent and the Grenadines Switzerland Taiwan
Trinidad and Tobago United Arab Emirates ** USA **** Vanautu
Vatican Wallis and Futuna

* The Russian Federation consists of 88 subjects (regions). Please note that the following Republics are not part of the Russian Federation: Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

** The UAE consists of the following states Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Al Fujairah.

*** Formally known as the Netherland Antilles. The BES Islands are Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba.

**** The mainland United States of America as well as American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.


UNLISTED COUNTRIES

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.




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.

Bring your pet’s passport with you to all your veterinary appointments. This way, they can update any vaccines and other important medical information and keep your pet’s medial records up to date.
If will be traveling between the US and the EU, never allow a non-EU veterinarian to enter information into the passport. In order to stay valid, your pet’s passport must be authorised and stamped by an official EU veterinarian.




Can my dog travel to Europe without an EU Pet Passport?

First-time pets traveling to the EU must carry a seven-page EU pet import license (also known as EU Annex IV). This document must be filled out by your vet and endorsed by your home country’s animal regulatory agency.

Timing is critical when obtaining an EU Annex IV because it must be endorsed no more than 10 days prior to departure. Obtaining the document will take about seven to nine days, so make sure you allow enough time. The form can be found on most EU embassy websites.

Once you have an authorised EU Annex IV certificate, your pet is able to get an EU pet passport. When you arrive in the EU, just book an appointment with an authorised vet to complete a pet passport. You will need to bring your certificate along with you, as well as any additional medical records.




How has Brexit affected an EU Pet Passport issued in the UK?

A current 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:

  1. You must have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies
  2. Your pet must pass a rabies titer / blood test. You must wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel.
  3. The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC).
  4. You must obtain a AHC from an accredited vet 10 days before travel.

You will not be able to travel with your pet if you have not completed these steps.

If the blood test result is not successful you’ll need a repeat vaccination and another blood test taken at least 30 days after the repeat vaccination.

Additionally, your pet will need a new health certificate for each trip to the EU.

For information on pet passports for dogs in the UK check How Much Does a Dog Passport Cost in the UK? [2019]




Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

How long is EU Pet Passport valid for?

This certificate is valid for travel throughout the EU for four months, until you leave the EU or until your pet’s rabies vaccination expires.

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.

Bottom Line

Obtaining an EU pet passport for your dog, cat or ferret is simple as long as you are traveling within the EU. Your pet will just need a microchip, rabies vaccination and a basic health check. These can all be completed at an authorised vet within the EU. Once you have your pet passport, you can travel through borders with ease. However, if you are traveling outside of the EU, there may be further requirements. Always check the entry requirements for your destination country, as these vary.

Hope you have found this helpful – happy travels!

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