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Pet Travel to Ireland [Pet Passport Ireland 2020]

Whether you are planning on visiting Ireland for a holiday, or are relocating there, you don’t have to leave your pets behind!

Taking pets to Ireland is pretty straightforward. Firstly, you need to ensure you have to correct documentation for an Ireland Pet Passport, or EU Pet Passport. Dogs, cats and ferrets are eligible for an EU Pet Passport which allows them to travel freely within the EU. Other pet species such as birds, rabbits and rodents are also able to travel from to Ireland simply, with other documents we will discuss below. Secondly, you will need to organise travel. You can either enter Ireland in a car, ferry or by air. 

In this article, we will discuss in detail the process of taking a pet to Ireland. Additionally, we will walk you through how to obtain an Ireland pet passport and all the documents required.

!! INFORMATION ON BREXIT !!

On October 17, 2019, United Kingdom and the European Union reached an agreement on the conditions for the departure of the UK from the EU and also defined a transition period to negotiate terms for that agreement. The agreement has been approved by both the UK Parliament and the EU Commission.

The next step in the process will be the negotiating period. During this time, all legislation currently in effect for pets traveling to the UK and between the UK and the EU will remain in effect. Until the end of December 31, 2020, UK Pet Passports will be valid for travel within the EU.


What is an Ireland Pet Passport?

An Ireland is a compilation of documents that your pet needs in order to travel to Ireland. With an EU Pet Passport, dogs, cats and ferrets are able to travel throughout the EU without enduring a quarantine period. Pets will require a microchip and rabies vaccination at minimum, proof of both is needed in order to obtain an EU Pet Passport. All 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 with pets depends on which country you are travelling from, and which country you are travelling to. Each country has different rules and requirements to export and import pets. Requirements and restrictions also vary between pet species. We will discuss the requirements to travel to Ireland in detail below.


What does an Ireland Pet Passport contain?

An Ireland Pet Passport / 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 Ireland 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. Official veterinarian’s details
  4. Microchip information
  5. Rabies vaccination certificate
  6. Rabies antibody titer test results
  7. Parasite treatment records
  8. Additional vaccination and treatment records
  9. Pet photo (optional)

At minimum, your Ireland pet passport will contain those listed 1-5. These are compulsory in order to travel within the EU. Those listed 6-9 are potential requirements that your pet may need if you are traveling from outside the EU or from certain countries.

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

Please note that due to Brexit, it is possible that your dog may also require a rabies titer test as of 2021. This will be a requirement in the case of a no deal, as technically the UK will no longer be part of the EU.

What pet species can get an Ireland Pet Passport?

Currently, under the Pet Travel Scheme, only dogs cats and ferrets are able to obtain an Ireland Pet Passport or EU Pet Passports.

However, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to take other pets to Ireland with you. If you wish to travel with a bird, rabbit or rodent, you will simply need alternative documents in order to travel. We will discuss this in detail below.

RABBITS & RODENTS

Rabbits do not require rabies vaccinations or a health certificate if traveling from other EU states as well as Andorra, Switzerland, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and San Marino.

However, pet rabbits and rodents important to Ireland from any other non-EU rabies controlled country will require a health certificate. Furthermore, they will need to stay in quarantine for 4 months.

BIRDS

Birds are permitted to enter Ireland from other EU Member States or Andorra, Croatia, the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City State.

However you will either need to travel with your bird, or provide an Owner’s Declaration. Furthermore, you will need to send an import form to the Department of Agriculture.

Birds entering Ireland with their owner or owner’s representative from other countries will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Application for a Licence to Import Pet Birds, health certificate and Owner’s Declaration must accompany your bird;
  • Your bird must reside in an OIE member country;
  • You are not importing more than 5 birds;
  • Your bird must have undergone isolation for 30 days prior to export; OR
  • Two vaccinations against avian influenza with the H5 vaccine between 60 days and 6 months of import; OR
  • 10 days of isolation and undergone a test to detect the H5N1antigen or genome; OR
  • 30 days of quarantine in a registered premesis in the United Kingdom or other EU countries;
  • All permits must accompany birds that are covered by CITES; and
  • Export permits may be required by the wildlife authority in the exporting country.

Birds must be imported at either Dublin or Shannon Airport.

For more information on the Pet Travel Scheme, check out What is The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)? [2020 GUIDE].


What is the process of obtaining a Pet Passport for Ireland?

VISIT THE VET

You will need to visit the vet to obtain your pet’s passport.

Before booking your appointment, check that your chosen vet is authorised to issue EU Pet Passports. Not all of them are.

At your appointment, your vet will administer your dog, cat or ferret with 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 healthy enough to travel. Once the veterinarian is satisfied that your pet is ready for travel, they will review all the paperwork and complete the pet passport booklet.

If you are traveling with a bird, rodent or rabbit, you should obtain a health certificate. This is only a requirement to enter Ireland from non-EU countries, however many airlines will require a health certificate to transport pets. It’s also a good idea to have the health of your pet checked for yours and your pets own wellbeing.

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.

ORGANISE TRAVEL

You will then need to figure out how you are traveling to Ireland. The easiest option is to travel by car, however you can also travel by air. Traveling by air is far more complicated as airlines have very specific rules and regulations when it comes to traveling with pets. Some airlines may even prohibit certain pet species, and breeds from boarding their planes.

When importing pets to Ireland, you must:

1. Enter Ireland through Cork, Dublin or Shannon Airport, or Cork or Rosslare Port.

There are compliance checks that may need to be completed when pets enter Ireland. These can only be done at these specific ports of entry.

You can enter Ireland from any port if traveling to Ireland with a dog, cat or ferret from EU states, as well as Andorra, Switzerland, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and San Marino, you can enter at any port.

If you are traveling from any other country, you must enter through Cork, Dublin or Shannon Airport, or Cork or Rosslare Port.

2. Inform the Department of Agriculture in Ireland, if required. 

All dogs, cats and ferrets traveling from outside the EU, or those traveling with other pet species from anywhere, must provide advanced notice to:

3. Organise compliance checks for your pet in advance of your arrival to Ireland.

All dogs and cats will undergo a health check upon arrival in Ireland. They must be found free of any evidence of disease communicable to humans. If your dog or cat is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at your expense.

You can email your port of entry (see contact email addresses above) and must include the following information:

  • Date and time of arrival;
  • Airport;
  • Name;
  • Flight Number;
  • Number of animals to be checked; and
  • Paperwork the pet will be travelling with e.g. EU Pet Passport or EU (Annex III) Health Certificate.

If you do not follow these rules, or your pet fails the compliance checks, you risk being refused entry. Alternatively, your pet may be placed into quarantine for the necessary tests or vaccinations. In very limited circumstances, your pet may be euthanised.


Travelling to Ireland in a car or ferry

You can take your pets to Ireland on a ferry, with or without a car. However, some ferry companies do not allow foot passengers to bring pets on board. Therefore you may only be able to transport pets to Ireland in a car. 

Some companies will charge extra to bring your pet on board, while others don’t.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to let the company know that you will be bringing your pet with you. It is best to do this well in advance to ensure for a smooth journey.

Many ferry companies require pets to stay inside vehicles, which is why foot passengers are not permitted to bring pets.


Travelling to Ireland by air

Traveling to Ireland with pets by air is far more complicated than traveling by car or ferry. This is because airlines have strict rules, regulations and restrictions when it comes to traveling with pets. Many airlines will not allow pets to travel on their planes at all, however there are some that will.

Traveling via air is far more expensive too, as you will need to pay extra to ship your pet. The price will vary between airlines, and depending on the weight and size of your pet.

1. Before booking your flight, be sure to check out different airline’s policies to ensure that you are able to take your pet with you.

Some airlines may allow your pet to travel in the cabin with you, where others will require pets to travel in the cargo area of the plane. If you have a small dog or cat, then you may be able to take them in the cabin with you. However, if you have a large dog then he will need to fly in the cargo.

2. All pets must enter Ireland through Cork, Dublin or Shannon Airport. 

All pets must enter through these airports, and must undergo a compliance check. They will check all of your documents and do a health check on your pet. You must organise this with your port of entry.

3. When booking your flight, inform the airline that you will be bringing your pet with you.

Do this as soon as you book your flight, as airlines often have limitations on how many pets they can ship at any given time.

4. Be sure to get an appropriate travel carrier and get your pet used to spending time in it.

Different airlines have different size and weight restrictions when it comes to pet travel carriers. Be sure to check those of your chosen airline. If traveling in the cabin of the plane, the carrier must be small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of you.

To ensure that the journey is as stress-free as possible for your pet, ensure they are comfortable in their travel carrier.


What are the requirements for an Ireland Pet Passport?

In order to get an Ireland Pet Passport, your dog, cat or ferret requires the following:

    1. Microchip
    2. Rabies vaccination certificate

REQUIREMENT 1: MICROCHIPPING

All dogs, cats and ferrets must have a microchip in order to obtain an Ireland Pet Passport. No other pet species require a microchip.

A microchip is a electronic chip that holds a unique number traceable with a chip reader. It is place just under your pet’s skin in between its shoulder blades. 

We recommend that this is the first step in the process of obtaining an Ireland 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 therefore mean your pet would have to get vaccinated again.


REQUIREMENT 2: RABIES VACCINATION

All dogs, cats and ferrets must be up to date on their rabies vaccinations. No other pet species require rabies vaccinations.

In order to get an Ireland Pet Passport, you must be able to prove that your pet has had their rabies vaccination within the past year, but at least 21 days before your arrival in Ireland.

Ireland accepts the 3 year rabies vaccination for dogs, cats and ferrets. However, it should only be applied as a booster (not the initial vaccination).

Once your pet has entered Ireland, a 21 day waiting period is not required for subsequent visits, as long as their rabies boosters are kept up to date, and the other entry requirements are met.

If your pet is entering Ireland from a high-risk rabies country, it must wait for a minimum of 30 days after the primary or booster vaccination before receiving a rabies titer test. Please see below.

Rabies-controlled (listed Third) countries as classified by the European Union:

American Samoa, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Azores, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belarus, Bermuda, Bonair, Bosnia-Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus (South of Buffer Zone only), Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Germany, Gibralter, Greece, Greenland, Grenadines, Guadeloupe (St Barthelemy and French part of St Martin), Guam, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jamaica (does not participate in Pet Travel Scheme – quarantine required), Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madiera, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mauritus, Mayotte, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Reunion, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Helena, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Scotland, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Al Fujairah), United Kingdom (Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Malta), United States of America, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Virgin Islands – US, Virgin Islands -British and Wallis and Futuna.

High-rabies (non-listed Third) countries as classified by the European Union:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Angola, Anguilla, Antarctica, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Balearic Islands, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Borneo, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cabrera, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Ceuta, Chad, China, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Corsica, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Turkish Republic of (Northern), Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Easter Island, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fatuna, Formentera, Galapagos Islands, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (North and South), Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Margarita Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Melilla, Miquelon, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Cyprus, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Samoa, Saint Barthelemy, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tibet, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Western Sahara, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe

It may be possible that you require the following:

  1. Tapeworm treatment
  2. Rabies titer test / rabies blood test
  3. Health certificate (ANNEX III Form)
  4. CITES permit

REQUIREMENT 3: TAPEWORM TREATMENT

Dogs will need a tapeworm treatment if traveling from any country other than UK, Finland, Malta or Norway. This only applies for dogs.

All dogs must be wormed by a vet, with this recorded in their pet passport.

The treatment must contain praziquantel and must be administered by a veterinarian. This needs to be done between 5 days (120 hours) and 24 hours before returning to the UK, based on your arrival time in Ireland. 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.


REQUIREMENT 4: RABIES TITER TEST

All dogs, cats and ferrets traveling from a high-risk rabies country, must pass a rabies titer test (rabies blood test).

A rabies titer test is a blood test to see whether your pet’s rabies vaccination was successful. Your veterinarian will need to take a blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. 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.

You must wait 3 months before your pet can enter Ireland. If you do not wait 3 months, then your pet will be quarantined in Ireland for the remainder of the time.


REQUIREMENT5: HEALTH CERTIFICATE (ANNEX III FORM)

Dogs, cats and ferrets will not require a health certificate. However, all other pet species will.

Only dogs cats and ferrets are able to obtain official EU Pet Passports / Ireland Pet Passports. Rabbits, birds, rodents, reptiles and amphibians will require official health certificates.

Any pets being transported for commercial reasons, such as adoption and re-sale, must be accompanied by a health certificate. See section on commercial transport of pets below.


REQUIREMENT 6: CITES PERMIT

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

Only 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 Pet Passport for Ireland cost?

The cost of an Ireland Pet Passport is usually around £60-£100. The cost is broken down into the following costs:

  • Microchipping – £0-20
  • Rabies vaccination – £0-20+
  • Pet passport application – £60

Firstly, different countries and veterinary clinics will have different pricing for a pet passport. Check the prices of a few different veterinary clinics if you want to save some money. Some will also offer pet passport packages.

Additionally, some pets species may require more treatments and vaccines than others. For example, dogs may require a tapeworm treatment where cats and ferrets do not.

If your pet already has a microchip, and a recent rabies vaccination, you will probably pay less for your Ireland 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?.

For information on how to get free microchipping in the UK check How to get Dog Microchipping for Free in the UK [2020].


Commercial transport of pets to Ireland

Any dogs, cats and ferrets being transported for commercial reasons, such as adoption and re-sale, require the following:

  1. Microchip;
  2. Valid rabies vaccination;
  3. Undergo a health examination and be accompanied by an Annex I Health Form;
  4. Be accompanied by original paperwork, signed by a licensed vet; and
  5. A successful rabies titer test result.

Pets are only permitted to enter Ireland from a high-rabies country if they are accompanied by their owner or a legal representative of the owner.

DOCUMENT ENDORSEMENT

A licensed veterinarian must complete the English version of the commercial EU health certificate for Ireland within 48 hours of entry. If your pet is traveling from the US or Canada, the veterinarian must be accredited by the USDA or CFIA respectively and the commercial EU health certificate must be endorsed by the local USDA or CFIA office unless the certificate is completed by a military Veterinary Corps Officer or GS-0701 series civilian government veterinarian employed by the military. If traveling to Ireland from another country, then the forms must be endorsed by the government agency responsible for the import and export of animals.

ADDITIONAL VACCINATIONS

All dogs must be vaccinated against distemper. If traveling from a country other than the UK, Finland, Malta or Norway must also be treated against tapeworms.

If your pet is entering Ireland from a rabies-controlled country, it must enter through an approved Border Inspection Post (London Heathrow or Gatwick Airports). You must give them at least 24 hours prior to arrival.


Which breeds are banned from entering Ireland?

The following breeds of dogs or their crosses are not banned but are controlled while in Ireland:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier;
  • English Bull Terrier;
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier;
  • Bull Mastiff;
  • Doberman Pinscher;
  • German Shepherd (Alsatian);
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback;
  • Rottweiler;
  • Japanese Akita; and
  • Japanese Tosa.

Owners of these dog breeds are responsible for their pet’s actions, and are liable for injuries or attacks. In public places, they must be on a strong, short lead. The person holding your dog must be over 16 years old, and your dog must be muzzled. The court, if they deem the dog as dangerous, sadly has the power to have your dog euthanised.


Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Can I take my puppy or kitten to Ireland?

Yes, as long as your puppy or kitten is at least 4 months old. This is because Ireland requires dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies, which can only be administered to pets over the age of 3 months. You must then wait 21 days after the vaccination, before entering Ireland. Additionally, proof of age should be available.

Can I travel without an Ireland Pet Passport or EU Pet Passport

Yes, you may enter Ireland without an Ireland Pet Passport or EU Pet Passport as long as you have an EU Health Certificate (also known as EU Annex III Health Certificate.

What if I lose my Ireland 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 take my pet in the plane cabin with me?

It is a possibility yes. If you are the owner of a small dog or cat, then you may be able to take them in the cabin with you. However, only some airlines will allow this.

Bottom Line

Taking pets to Ireland is pretty straightforward. If you are taking a dog, cat or ferret, you will need to get them an Ireland Pet Passport or an EU Pet Passport. This involves getting your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at the vet. If you are taking another pet species with you, then they will not need a microchip or rabies vaccination, but you will need a health certificate at minimum. You may also require an import permit.

Traveling to Ireland with pets in a car or ferry is far simpler than flying. This is because airlines have strict rules and regulations to follow when traveling with pets. If you are planning on flying with pets to Ireland, ensure you select an airline that will permit the transport of your pet, and plan your trip well in advance.

Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!

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