QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS CONCERNING PET PASSPORTS
1. I am living in the EU. Where can I get the pet passport?
You must contact a veterinarian in your home country. The national authorities in every EU country are responsible for issuing the passport to the vets. Please note that the European Commission does not issue the pet passport.
2. Which animals are covered?
The new EU-system is for cats, dogs and ferrets. For other pets, there is not yet harmonised legislation at the EU level, so national legislation applies.
3. How does the pet passport work?
For movements of pets between EU Member States other than Ireland, Sweden, Malta and the United Kingdom, valid rabies vaccination is the only requirement for travel across borders. You should simply go to your vet, who will vaccinate your pet and enter the appropriate information in the pet passport.
An electronic microchip (transponder) will allow for easy identification of the animals, to connect the pet to the passport.
Until 3 July 2011, a tattoo will be allowed as a way to identify the animal, except for the UK, Ireland and Malta which already now require the transponder. Young pets which cannot be vaccinated yet may be allowed to travel without vaccination on the conditions defined by each Member State. For the entry of animals into Ireland, Sweden, Malta or the United Kingdom, antibody titration (a test to see if the vaccine has been effective) needs to be carried out after the vaccination.
The EU pet passport has been designed to last for the lifetime of the animal bearing it. When travelling, the pet owner must ensure that the rabies vaccination in the passport is valid or renew the pet's vaccination. Some Member States might also choose to include additional information in the passport about other vaccinations and the animal's medical history to make veterinary checks easier, but this additional information is not required by EU law.
The EU pet passport makes veterinary checks easier and make life easier for travelling pet owners, since there is one single system that applies for all EU countries (with some temporary exceptions for the UK, Ireland, Malta and Sweden).
4. I am travelling to an EU Member State from a non-EU country. Can I use the pet passport?
No, in principle the pet passport is only used for pets travelling between Member States of the European Union. However, you can also use the pet passport if you are travelling to or from one of the neighbouring countries where the rabies status matches that of the EU. This includes: Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City State.
For pets entering the EU from another country, there are two different possibilities :
either you come from a country with a favourable situation regarding rabies and animal health * (for more information on this list of countries, see here); or you come from a country that does not appear on the footnote list above, which means that rabies may be endemic among domestic pets in your country. In this case, your pet must be vaccinated and tested three months before entering all EU countries except for Ireland, Sweden, Malta and the UK, where quarantine will be required.
In both cases, you can use the health certificate found under "Document" on the following webpage. Your veterinarian must complete the health certificate either in English or in the language of the country you are travelling to. If your veterinarian does not have the health certificate, you can download it from the above website as a Word document in the language of the EU country that you are travelling to.
Finally, an animal from a Member State that temporarily stayed in a third country will of course be able to come back on the territory of the European Union if it is accompanied by its passport, notwithstanding the fact that the animal must be in conformity with the rules that apply to entries from the country where it stayed.
5. I live in one of the non-continental EU territories, for example Martinique or the Canary Islands. Can I use the pet passport?
Yes, you can use the pet passport if you are travelling to or from the following territories:
Greenland and the Faroe Islands (Danish pet passport);
French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion (French pet passport);
Canary Islands (Spanish pet passport);
Azores and Madeira (Portuguese pet passport);
Gibraltar (specific Gibraltar pet passport, not UK pet passport).
6. I am a non-EU citizen but I will live in the EU with my pet for several years. Can I get a pet passport to use within the EU during this time?
Yes. You should contact a veterinarian in any of the EU Member States to get the necessary vaccination and obtain a passport for your pet.
7. What rules apply to pets travelling alone, without their owner, to participate in a fair or exhibition? Do the same rules apply as for regular non-commercial movements of animals?
Yes. The new system considers "commercial movements" to be for animals moving to another country to be sold while all other types of movement are "non-commercial". Therefore animals travelling to exhibitions etc would be considered a "non-commercial movement" and covered by the rules outlined in this Q&A. For travel within the EU, the animal must be accompanied by the pet passport. Pets coming from outside the EU must be accompanied by the relevant health certificate or other documents as outlined in Question 4.