The European Pet Passport allows for qualifying domestic animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) to freely cross borders in Europe.
The Pet Travel Scheme provides for qualifying domestic pets to travel to and from the UK without undergoing quarantine.
Pet travel laws can be affected by exceptional outbreaks of diseases. Recent examples are Avian Influenza (the H5N1 strain of bird flu) and Foot and Mouth disease.
The French Customs Authority provides clear information on the regulations for traveling with domestic mammals, fish, amphibians, birds, rodents and reptiles.
- For further information: Click here
Moving Pets within the European Union
European Pet Passport
The EU Pet Passport is a booklet, identical for all European countries, which contains obligatory information concerning an individual animal: identification number, proof of valid vaccine against the rabies virus. It may contain other non-obligatory information. It is valid for the lifetime of the pet. Each passport is numbered for identification purposes.
Animals travelling within any European Union country need to be accompanied by a Pet Passport. For Ireland, Sweden, Malta and United Kingdom, further rules apply. When crossing the Finnish border animals must, in addition to the passport, also have proof of tapeworm (echinococcosis) treatment. All vets should have the relevant information and be able to prepare a pet for travel.
The EU Pet Passport can also be used when travelling between Europe and the following non-mainland European areas: Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics.
It may also be used when travelling between EU and other countries with the same rabies status. Included are: Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City State.
- For information on these places see the EUROPA website
Getting an EU Pet Passport
The passport may only be issued by a licenced vet and it, and vaccinations, should be kept current by the vet.
Before issuing it, the vet will confirm that the animal:
- is identified by a micro chip in the neck or tattoo in the ear
- has valid vaccines against rabies
- has had a blood test to confirm the vaccine is in the system
Following these steps the vet can issue a certificate of health – the Pet Passport.
Arriving in France
A non-commercial importer may bring up to five pets into France.
Pet owners must carry a valid EU Pet Passport for each pet when travelling with their animals to France.
If the rabies vaccination was the animal’s first vaccine then it must wait for 21 days before entering the country. There is no time delay with booster injections, providing there is proof that the booster was administered before the last vaccine had expired.
A dog, cat or ferret must be over three months old to enter French territory. However an animal under three months of age may enter if it has had the complete rabies innoculation.
Rabbits and rodents may travel without a passport but should be declared at the border.
The French Ministry of Agriculture has more information (in French).
The EC regulations regarding the movements of pet birds have been modified in response to the avian influenza alert (bird flu), and these rules apply at least until the end of 2010. Each family is allowed to bring maximum five birds into France. One of the following conditions must apply:
- 30 day pre-export quarantine
- 30 day quarantine after import
- The bird has been vaccinated and re-vaccinated at least once against avian influenza, with the H5 vaccine. The bird must have been vaccinated within the last six months and not later than 60 days prior to dispatch from the third country
- Isolation of the bird for at least 10 days before departure and, after at least three days of isolation, a test to detect the H5N1 antigen or genome
Compliance with the above conditions must be verified in a certificate by an official veterinarian.
- For an approved model certificate: Click here
Bringing other pet animals to France
Small pet animals such as rabbits and reptiles need a veterinary certificate to state that the animal is in good health, not showing any signs of illness. At the most five animals may be brought in.
Moving Pets between France and the UK and Ireland
Dogs, cats and ferrets may travel between UK and Ireland, and Europe without quarantine, provided some (stringent) requirements are met. The system allowing travel is called the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).
DEFRA, the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural affairs, has comprehensive and up-to-date information on the website. It can also can provide an information pack on request.
- DEFRA website: Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
- Pet Travel Scheme
Tel: +44 845 933 5577
Open: Mondays to Fridays 08:00-18:00 UK time
Entering the UK or Ireland
Before entering Britain or Ireland (or Sweden or Malta) from France or elsewhere in the EU, an animal must:
- have a anti-rabies booster vaccination (the pet must be vaccinated by a vet)
- have a blood test. A blood sample will be taken 30 days after the vaccination and will be sent to an approved laboratory to confirm it has been effective
- If the sample test is correct, the vet will sign the certificate
- If the sample test is negative, the vaccination and sampling process will be repeated until successful and there will be a six-month delay (see note below)
- between 24 and 48 hours before departure from France the animal must be treated for ticks, and tapeworm (echinococcosis). This treatment must be carried out by an authorised vet
- have microchip identification, a tattoo is not acceptable
- have a valid EU Pet Passport completed with certificates and documentation of treatments
Note: A passport cannot be issued until six months after a satisfactory blood test. Once the vet has issued the pet’s documentation and that six-month period has passed, the pet may enter the UK. The travel process is then much the same as above. The passport must be up to date and the rabies booster must be valid.
If the authorities are unsatisfied with the animal on entry to the UK it can be held in quarantine until the relevant tests are passed.
Further information from:
- Irish Department of Agriculture website
- British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA website
Bringing horses to France
Horses may move across EU borders providing they have a valid Horse Passport.
This is fairly straightforward for ponies and horses moving to France if the animal has a passport issued by an organisation approved under the EU legislation (in the UK or elsewhere in the EU).
- For more information on how to get a horse passport when in UK: Click here
- Information on when a passport is needed: Click here
Before departure, certain documents must be in order: a valid passport and an export licence. The ferry company will need to see these documents at embarkation. In the case of smaller ponies, an owner may be required to prove that they are worth more than a certain value, due to the ban on live exports for meat.
According to EU legislation, all foals born after 1 July 2008 must be microchipped for identification purposes before they are six months old. This requirement is not retroactive and therefore does not apply to horses born before this date.
Moving Pets to France from Outside the European Union
If taking the pet to a country outside the EU consult the Embassy or consulate to check the local regulations.
An animal entering France or an EU Country from a non-EU country that has the same rabies controls need merely prove that the anti-rabies booster vaccinations are valid and up-to-date.
- For a list of complying countries see EUROPA website
Animals from countries not included on the list need to have complete anti-rabies treatment. The French Embassy in the home country should be consulted.
Moving Pets to France from the United States or Canada
Animals from the USA and Canada may enter France if they have:
- a valid Veterinary Certificate (stating owners details, a description of the animal, details of identification and vaccinations)
- valid rabies vaccines
- a tattoo or a microchip (compatible with standards ISO-11784)
The cage or carrier must be labelled with the owners name, and their (or a nominated person’s) address and contact numbers in France.
Once in France, a French vet can issue an EU Pet Passport allowing travel within Europe.
- The website of the French embassy in the United States provides information: Click here
- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency website has further information: Click here
Pet Carriers To and From France
It is essential to ensure that the pet is eligible to travel not only to or from France but also any other countries it may pass through.
The animal will have to travel in an approved container. It must be big enough for the animal to stand sit and turn during the journey. The container must allow adequate ventilation.
If the journey is longer than a few hours, food and drink may need to be supplied.
Several train companies, sea ferries and airlines carry caged animals across borders (normally a pet travelling by air will be in the hold). Consult the carrier for details.
- Website Dogsaway (UK) has up-to-date lists of routes and carriers: Click here
Carriers France and the UK
Animals must be transported via approved routes.
- DEFRA approved carriers and routes: Click here
Euro Tunnel is pet friendly allowing pets to travel in the car.
Dogs Banned in France
Pitbulls, Boerbulls and unregistered Tosas
- Dogs that must be muzzled and on a lead in public places: American Staffordshire terriers, Tosa and Rottweilers.
Tags: animal identification, balearics, bird flu, customs authority, dogs cats, domestic animals, domestic mammals, domestic pets, eu countries, european areas, ferrets, finnish border, foot and mouth, foot and mouth disease, france information, french customs, gibraltar, pet passport, pet travel scheme, rabies virus
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