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Guide on taking dogs to France [Pet Passport Requirements 2021]

Taking dogs to France is pretty straightforward. Firstly, you need to ensure you have to correct documentation for a Pet Passport. Dogs, cats and ferrets are eligible for an EU Pet Passport which allows them to travel freely within the EU without enduring a stay in pet quarantine. This involves getting your dog microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, at minimum. Secondly, you will need to organise travel. Traveling in a car on either a ferry or on the Eurotunnel is the easier option, however it is also possible to fly with your pet to France. However, this is often more complicated as airlines have strict rules and requirements for taking pets on their planes. 

In this article, we will discuss in detail the process of taking a dog to France. Additionally, we will walk you through the process of obtaining a France pet passport and all the documents required.

**BREXIT UPDATE** If traveling to France from the UK, you will now require an animal health certificate (AHC). If your dog’s EU pet passport was issued within the EU, it will still be valid as long as your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. However, if your dog’s pet passport was issued in GB, it will no longer be valid.

What is a France Passport?

A France pet passport, or EU Pet Passport is a compilation of documents that your dog will need in order to travel to France, or other EU countries. With an EU Pet Passport, dogs, cats and ferrets are able to travel throughout the EU without enduring a quarantine period. Dogs will require a microchip and rabies vaccination at minimum. You will need proof of both 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, and won’t be a threat to other dogs in France.

The documents required to travel with dogs 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 take dogs to France in detail below.


What does an EU Pet Passport contain?

A France pet passport, or EU Pet Passport contains all the documents required to take dogs to France. It will basically prove that your pet is fit and healthy to travel.

A France pet passport or 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. 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 France pet passport will contain those listed 1-5. These are compulsory in order to take dogs to France, or travel within the EU. Those listed 6-9 are potential requirements that your pet may need if you are traveling outside the EU.

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


What is the process taking dogs to France?

VISIT THE VET

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

Before booking an appointment, it’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure that your chosen vet is authorised to issue EU Pet Passports. Not all of them are.

At your appointment, the accredited vet will administer your dog with a microchip and rabies vaccination, if your pet hasn’t already had them. They will also complete a basic health examination to ensure your dog 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 your dog’s pet passport booklet.

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)
  • Dog photo (optional but recommended) – the size should be 2 x 2 inches (5cm x 5cm). Although it’s not required, 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 dog hasn’t had a microchip fitted or hasn’t had a rabies vaccination before, don’t worry, your vet will complete these at the appointment.

ORGANISE TRAVEL

You will then need to figure out how you will take your dog to France. Depending on where you are traveling from, it may be easier 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. However, depending on where you are traveling from, you may only have the option to take your dog to France via air travel.


Travelling to France in a car

You can drive your dog to France from the UK, either via the Eurotunnel, or by taking a ferry to France.

If you have the option of taking dogs to France in a car, i.e. if you are traveling from another EU country, or the UK, there are two main options:

  1. Board a cross channel ferry; or
  2. Pass through the Eurotunnel.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to let your travel 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.

When traveling across travel, dogs generally must stay in your car or in a pet travel carrier. Therefore, for the comfort of your dog it is best to choose the shorter ferry rides during warmer months.

If taking the Eurotunnel, it costs an extra £19 per pet, with most ferries also charging a similar price.

For more detailed information on how to take pets on the Eurotunnel check my articles for dogs, cats and ferrets.

Travelling from UK to France by air

If you are not traveling from the UK, or you do not have a car, it is usually an easier option to fly. 

Taking dogs to France by air is more complicated than traveling by car. 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. It’s important to check your chosen airline’s pet policies before booking any travel.

Traveling via air is far more expensive too, as you will need to pay extra to ship your pet. The price varies 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. 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.

3. You must enter via a specific entry point.

There are specific entry points in France that allow flying with a dog from outside the EU – Paris, Reunion (French Territories), Marseille, Nice, Lyon and Toulouse.

4. If you are flying into a neighbouring country, and then coming to France by land, check customs procedures for animals for BOTH countries. 

Each country will have different entry requirements for dogs.

5. 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. You can do this by taking your dog on short journeys in it’s travel carrier. Take your dog out to lunch with you in its carrier, or take it to your friends house for a coffee. This way the longer journey will not be so stressful.

6. Clearly label your pet carrier.

Ensure you have all the correct documents ready to show customs officials. It’s also important to label your dog’s pet carrier.


What are the requirements for taking a dog to France?

In order to get a France Pet Passport to take your dog to France, your dog requires the following:

    1. Microchip
    2. Rabies vaccination certificate

REQUIREMENT 1: MICROCHIPPING

To obtain a France pet passport to take dogs to France, they must be microchipped.

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. The microchip is detectable by a scanner, and will show your contact details once scanned. 

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


REQUIREMENT 2: RABIES VACCINATION

In order to get a France pet passport to take dogs to France, they must be up to date on their rabies vaccinations.

In order to take dogs to France, you must be able to prove that your dog has had their rabies vaccination.

The timing of your dog’s rabies vaccination is important, and will depend on where you are traveling from. If you are traveling from a rabies controlled country, your dog must be vaccinated no sooner than 21 days of entering France. However, if you are traveling from a high-risk rabies country, you must wait for a minimum of 30 days after the primary or booster vaccination before receiving a rabies titer test (see next requirement 3).

France accepts the 3 year rabies vaccination for dogs. However, it should only be applied as a booster and not as their initial vaccination. You can speak to your vet about this.

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. Animal health certificate (AHC)
  2. Rabies titer test / rabies blood test

REQUIREMENT 3: ANIMAL HEALTH CERTIFICATE (AHC)

If you are taking a dog to France from outside the EU, you will require an Animal Health Certificate.

You will need a health certificate if:

  1. You are taking dogs to France from outside the EU, for non-commercial reasons; or
  2. You are taking dogs to France for commercial reasons

Commercial reasons include taking dogs to France for resale or adoption, or if you are not traveling with your pet within 5 days.

An official veterinarian must complete an EU Health certificate for France, in English, or translated to English.

Your health certificate must be endorsed by your home country government agency responsible for the import and export of pets. For example, in the US you will need to have your health certificate endorsed by the USDA. In Canada, this will be the CFIA.

The AHC is to cover transport of up to 5 dogs and is valid for 4 months, as long as your dog’s rabies vaccinations are in date.

Please note that due to Brexit, if taking dogs to France from the UK, you will now require a AHC. If your dog’s pet passport was issued in the EU by an EU veterinarian, then your pet passport will still be valid. However, any pet passports issued in Great Britain will no longer be valid.


REQUIREMENT 4: RABIES TITER TEST

To obtain a France pet passport to take dogs to France from a high-risk rabies country, your dog must pass a rabies titer test (rabies blood test).

A rabies titer test is a blood test to see whether your dog’s rabies vaccination was successful.

  1. Your veterinarian will need to take a blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination.
  2. The sample will then be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  3. The blood rest results must show that the vaccination was successful – i.e. your dog’s blood must contain at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody.
  4. You must then wait 3 months before your dog can enter France. If you do not wait 3 months, then your dog will be quarantined in France for the remainder of the time.

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


How much does it cost to take a dog to France?

The cost of a France 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
  • Rabies blood test (only if traveling from high-risk country) – £60-120

Firstly, different countries and veterinary clinics will charge different amounts for a pet passport. If you want to save some money, check the prices of a few different veterinary clinics. Some veterinary clinics will also offer pet passport packages with discounted prices.

If your dog already has a microchip, and a recent rabies vaccination, you will pay less for your EU Pet Passport. This is because you will only be paying for the health check and the document endorsement.

Furthermore, if you are traveling from a high-risk rabies country then you will also need to pay for your dog to have a rabies titer test or rabies blood test. This can cost anywhere between £60 to £120, depending on where you have your dog tested.

For more information on the cost of an EU Pet Passport, check How much does an EU Pet Passport cost in 2021?.

For information on how to get free microchipping in the UK check How to get Dog Microchipping for Free in the UK [2021].


Which dog breeds are banned from entering France?

Mastiff and Boerbull breeds and their crosses are prohibited from being imported to France.

France prohibits the import of the following breeds without pedigree certification:

  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Tosa
  • Rottweilers

These breeds must be a registered pedigree and crossbreeds are not permitted.

Owners of class 2 dogs must conform to import regulations above. Owners must have insurance to protect against liability. Your dog must receive approval from the local town council, have a detention permit, have behavioural evaluations and be leashed and muzzled when in public.


Taking dogs to France for commercial reasons

Any dogs being transported to France 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.

Dogs are only permitted to enter France 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 France within 48 hours of entry. If your dog 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 taking dogs to France from another country, then the forms must be endorsed by the government agency responsible for the import and export of animals.


Additional info for taking dogs to France

  • You can legally take a maximum of 5 dogs with you.
  • Dogs younger than 15 weeks old cannot enter France.
  • When you take your dog for a walk, you should carry bags to collect your dog’s excrement. Otherwise, you could face high fines.
  • In France there is a general obligation to use a dog belt or harness in cars. If you’re driving, find out beforehand how you should take your dog in the car.
  • In France, ticks and lice that can transmit dangerous diseases are widespread in many regions. It is therefore advisable to provide your pet with adequate protection against ticks, and make sure they’re vaccinated against certain Mediterranean diseases such as leishmaniasis.
  • Dogs are banned from many official beaches in France during the high season in summer.
  • Dogs are allowed in some hotels, but not in many. It often depends on the size and number of dogs. In restaurants, dogs are usually not allowed. If it’s a small, quiet dog, some restaurants will let you through with it.
  • Dogs are not allowed on public transport in many cases. On French trains, they are sometimes allowed to travel in a box in the luggage trolley. Dogs are not allowed in public buildings and administrative offices unless they’re guide dogs.

Taking other pet species to France

Dogs cats and ferrets are permitted to get EU Pet passports to allow them to travel to France from EU countries.

France does not have any travel restrictions on invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibia, mammals such as rodents and rabbits. You will simply need a health certificate from your vet in many cases. However, there are some additional rules when it comes to taking birds to France.

You are permitted to bring up to 5 birds as long as you have no intention to sell, rehome or transfer ownership in any way. All birds traveling to France will require the following:

  1. A health certificate;
  2. Stay in a quarantine facility for 30 days prior to transport;
  3. Avian influenza H5 vaccine at least 60 days before transport; and
  4. Tests for H5N1 PCR with negative results.

Guidelines for Dog Carriers

If you are flying to France with a dog, it is important that you use a dog carrier that is approved by your airline. Different airlines have different pet carrier policies, which often vary between aircrafts and routes. Check that your pet carrier is approved for your chosen airline, aircraft and route. 

The rules and regulations have been set out by International Air Transport Association (IATA) ensure that dogs are comfortable when travelling. Thus, inside their travel carriers, dogs must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container).

The rules for pet carriers also vary depending on whether your dog will be flying in the cabin or cargo area of the plane.

If you are travelling in the cabin with your dog, then you will need to ensure that it fits under the seat in front of you. This is why only small dogs weighing under 7-8kg are permitted in the cabin.

Furthermore, airlines often require that your dog must be obedient to your commands and must behave appropriately in public. Thus, he mustn’t bark or growl at other passengers or staff. If your dog does not behave in an appropriate manner, some airlines may transfer him to the cargo hold at an additional cost, or refuse to transport him all together. Some airlines require a consent form to ensure your pet is flight-ready.

For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [2020 Prices & Policies].


Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Can I take my puppy to France?

Yes, as long as your puppy or kitten is at least 4 months old. This is because France requires dogs to be vaccinated against rabies, which can only be administered to dogs over the age of 3 months. You must then wait 21 days after the vaccination, before entering France. Additionally, proof of age should be available. If you are traveling from a high-risk rabies country then you will need to allow an additional 3 months to prepare.

Can I take my dog in the Eurotunnel with me?

Yes, the Eurotunnel allows dogs, cats and ferrets to travel with their owners to France. You will need to organise travel beforehand, and pay a £19 fee.

What if I lose my 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, then you may be able to take them in the cabin with you. However, only some airlines will allow this.

Bottom Line

Obtaining a France pet passport to take dogs to France is pretty straightforward. Firstly, you will need to get them an EU Pet Passport. This involves getting your dog microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at the vet. If you are traveling from a country outside the EU or are taking dogs to France for commercial reasons, your dog will require an animal health certificate (AHC). You will need to obtain this within 10 days of entering France, and the certificate is valid for 4 months. If you are traveling from a high-risk for rabies country, your dog will also require a rabies titer test, or rabies blood test.

Taking dogs to France in a car is simpler than flying. This is because airlines have strict rules and regulations to follow when traveling with dogs. However, if you are planning on flying with pets to France, ensure you select an airline that will permit the transport of your pet, and plan your trip well in advance. You will also need to enter France through specific ports of entry.

Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!

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