There are lots of reasons you might be bringing a pet into a new country. Perhaps you’re planning a holiday or a long trip, and your pet is coming with you? Or maybe you’re moving or relocating for work. Whatever the case may be, getting your pet across the border requires a lot of careful forethought and planning, so you can make the journey as smooth as possible for you and your pet.
To make this happen, you need to do your research and make sure you’re completely clued up on all local rules and regulations before you even consider travelling with your pet.
And to help you do this, we’ve created this guide on the different laws for bringing pets into some of the most popular countries around the world. This will allow you to prepare properly and ensure you have all the legal documents you need to get your pet to your chosen destination safe and sound.
Travelling to the EU from a non-EU country
If you’re planning a trip or a move from a non-EU nation like the UK to an EU country, there are certain criteria your pet has to meet. With a few exceptions, your pet can travel with you to an EU country as long as they:
- Have been microchipped
- Have a valid rabies vaccination
- Have an animal health certificate or a valid pet passport (one that’s accepted in the country you’re going to)
- Have been treated for tapeworm if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
Because each EU nation has the right to impose slightly different rules, it’s vital that you check the laws of the country you’re travelling to. This will ensure you’re aware of any additional restrictions or requirements you need to meet before travelling.
We’ve mentioned pet passports above, but it’s important to know that most valid pet passports cannot be issued in the non-EU country you’re leaving from. Typically, they must be issued within an EU country or one of the other accepted nations, including (but not limited to) Andorra, Gibraltar, Iceland, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland.
You must check if the pet passport is accepted before you travel and find out if you need any other supporting documents as well. In some cases, these pet passports aren’t accepted, and you’ll need an animal health certificate instead.
In these cases, the EU animal health certificate must be issued by an official state vet in the country of departure no more than ten days before your pet arrives in your chosen EU country.
Travelling with pets within the EU
Travelling across borders within the EU is much easier, and in most cases, a European pet passport is enough to get you over the border. These passports contain lots of important details about your pet, including its microchip code, rabies vaccination record and your contact details. They should also contain the information of the vet that checked over your pet and authorised their passport.
There is also an alternative to the European pet passport if this is not accepted. This is the EU animal health certificate. This document contains very similar and specific information about your pet and is based on an EU standard model. In some countries, you may be required to have this certificate instead.
Travelling to the United States
If you’re moving to the US or just going over for a holiday and you want to take your pet with you, there are also certain requirements you need to meet. Essentially, the rules for taking pets into the United States will depend on where your pet has come from and where it has been in the past six months. It will also depend on what pet you have.
The CDC does not regulate animals like snakes or lizards, so getting these animals into the country can be much easier. Plus, a health certificate is generally not required for cats entering the US, although some airlines or states may require them, so you always need to check on this.
For dogs, the nation is very strict about entering the country because of the risk of rabies. This means all dogs must:
- Appear healthy upon arrival
- Be at least six months old
- Have a valid rabies vaccination certificate
- Not have been in a high-risk country for rabies in the last six months
- Have an ISO-compatible microchip for identification
Any written statements and documents you have for your pet when entering the US must be in English or have a certified English translation to accompany them.
Some countries may quarantine your pet
So far, most of the countries we’ve discussed do not require any sort of pet quarantine, providing you have all the right documentation. And the great news is, lots of the most popular countries for travel have gotten rid of this need to quarantine, including the UK, Europe, the US (except for Hawaii and the territory of Guam), Canada and Mexico.
However, there are still plenty of nations that do require you to quarantine your pet upon arrival. So, if you’re planning on travelling internationally, you need to consider the possibility of quarantine for your pet. This can be stressful on both you and your furry friend and, in some cases, can mean being separated from each either other for weeks.
There are some popular Western countries that famously require quarantine, particularly if you’re travelling to Australia or New Zealand. Some of the other countries include Fiji, Hong Kong, Iceland, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are some additional countries that aren’t on the list, including some other small Pacific island nations and territories.
That said, it’s worth noting that dogs entering any country might be forced to quarantine upon arrival if they appear to be unwell. Not only this, but these rules are always changing, so it’s important to always stay up to date with the rules and regulations in your chosen destination.