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Does my pet need a Pet Passport to travel?

By: Bridget Monrad, R.N. | Jan 20, 2015

When starting the pet relocation process for your pet family member, the term Pet Passport is often heard, especially with international pet moves. This term is most often used in the EU (European Union) as this is their method of having one place to have recorded all the required about your pet, mostly for frequent travel abroad, especially throughout Europe.

What is a Pet Passport?

If you live in Europe you will get a Pet Passport (blue booklet) that will contain your pet's health records and even their photo. However, the Pet Passport can only be issued by veterinarians inside the EU. Pets can travel freely in the EU with their pet passport without having to complete the Annex IV or Annex I form for each country in the EU that they visit. Pets can also travel to and from other neighboring countries with their passports such as:

  • Andorra
  • Croatia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • the Vatican City State

Additionally, pet passports issued in certain EU countries are honored in other autonomous countries that are associated with an EU country. Danish passports are honored in Greenland and the Faroe Islands. French passports are honored in French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion. Spanish passports are honored in the Canary Islands, and Portuguese passports are honored in the Azores and Madeira.

A pet passport is important because it allows you to group all required and vital information about your pet in one place and make it convenient for officials at the border to verify your pet's health and inoculation records.

Technically there is no such thing in the United States or outside of the EU. However if your pet comes from the EU, with a Pet Passport, then the vet in the US can work with this document.

Countries outside of the European Union

Any country in the world will require proof of good health and a rabies certificate, although the rules for additional testing vary widely from country to country. The mandatory requirement is for your live animal to have a Health Certificate completed by your veterinarian. This certificate is also referred to as a Veterinary or Sanitary Certificate.

Some countries require more kinds of vaccinations and some require an import permit. A pet travel company such as Happy Tails Travel can help you understand all of the important regulations for each country as the all vary.

Avoiding Quarantine

The key to avoiding delays at the border and/or quarantine when traveling with your pet is to have your pet passport complete and accurate for the countries you are visiting. Click here to see a list of the EU countries. However, there are countries that will require quarantine regardless of adherence to their rules.

Pet Travel Document

Not all countries require quarantine. Click Here

In summary, all pets traveling domestic or international require a Health Certificate. There are other names for this mandatory document, Pet Passport, Veterinary Certificate or Sanitary Certificate. In general it is required within 10 days of a flight departure. If your household pet is traveling by plane, all you need to do is call your vet for an appointment. Let the staff know your cat or dog is going to travel by airplane & they will know about this requirement. It is good to have all of the pet records when doing the exam so that the rabies information can be recorded onto the Health Certificate.

This is an important document. It must be accurate, up to date, and be an original copy! Having your vet sign in blue ink helps to show it is original. Make copies for you, your family & any person on each end of the airport drop off or pickup. Copies also need to go with the Pet Travel Company you may have hired. This is important so they can review the information to be sure all is accurate before the pet travels.

For more information, please visit our website at www.happytailstravel.com or give us a call at 1-800-323-1718 or 520-299-3315.  We are always ready and happy to discuss how we can help you to provide a smooth move for any member of your pet family.