This is a guest post from Cathi Bert-Roussel.
Traveling through Europe with your pet is one of the most rewarding experiences a globe-trotter can have. While most European countries are incredibly pet-friendly, getting into Europe with a pet is not always so easy. Travelling around Europe and subsequent visits become a lot easier once you get an EU Pet Passport for your pet.
Travelling to Europe Without an EU Pet Passport
First-time pets traveling to the Continent must carry a seven-page EU pet import license (also known as EU Annex IV). This complex and confusing document must be filled out by your vet and endorsed by your country’s animal regulatory agency no more than 10 days prior to departure. Following all of the steps toward completion takes about seven to nine days. Timing is critical to having the document in hand prior to departure. The form can be found on most EU embassy websites or via www.pettravel.com with instructions, for a small fee.
Benefits of Getting an European Pet Passport
Once you arrive in Europe, an EU Pet Passport is relatively easy to acquire and can be used on return trips to the continent, eliminating the need for the horrible EU Annex IV. The European Union Pet Passport scheme allows holders to travel with their pets to and from the EU and between European Union countries. The program was created to establish a standardized protocol for EU residents to transport their companion animals in and out of the region. The little blue passports are issued only by official EU veterinarians for dogs, cats and ferrets when transported for non-commercial purposes.
There are several benefits to having an EU Pet Passport including hassle-free border crossing with your pet, eliminating the need to fill out confusing paperwork and a convenient place to store your pet’s inoculation record. Traveling through Europe with a Pet Passport in hand means no additional required travel documents are needed for your pet.
What’s Inside an EU Pet Passport?
The actual passport contains your pet’s health status, your name and address, pet identifying information such as breed, physical traits and microchip number and an optional pet photograph. As long as your pet’s rabies vaccination is kept current and recorded in the passport by a licensed veterinarian, this document never expires.
How to Get a Pet Passport
I obtained an EU Pet Passport for my dog during a six-month stay in Paris. At first, I was worried that not having EU citizenship or permanent resident status would disqualify me from applying. I found out this was not true. It was an easy exercise and completed in a 30-minute visit to a veterinarian clinic. The cost was 70 Euros, and when compared to what I spent for Danny’s Annex IV ($150 USD all in), very reasonable.
The steps to obtaining a pet passport are simple. The first is to make an appointment with an official EU veterinarian (nearly all practicing vets in Europe are “official”). A quick Google search for English-speaking vets led me to Dr. Pierre Metivet in Paris. When making the appointment, tell the office staff the purpose is to obtain an EU Pet Passport.
You will need to bring the following items when meeting with the veterinarian:
- Annex IV form completed by your home vet and endorsed by your country’s official veterinary regulatory body (USDA in the United States),
- Your pet’s current rabies certificate or titer test results no less than 21 days old
- Microchip information, date of implantation, chip number and issuing company information (this info is also on the Annex IV)
At the Vet Appointment
At the appointment, the attending veterinarian or staff will take your pet’s vital signs, scan for a microchip and address any health concerns or questions you have. The veterinarian will perform a basic health exam on your pet, review your paperwork and fill out the passport book. If you plan to travel to the UK, Ireland, Malta, Finland or Norway during your Europe stay, be sure to ask the veterinarian about additional entry requirements for these countries. Each requires a tapeworm treatment to be given within 1 to 5 days before arrival. Your EU vet can advise you on the appropriate timing of the medication dose.
And a Pet Passport Photograph!
The second step is to purchase one passport style photograph of your pet and affix it to the space provided in the book. The size should be 2 x 2 inches (50mm x 50mm). Including your pet’s photo is optional but I was told by Dr. Metivet 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.
You may find you never need to show your pet’s EU passport except upon entry to Europe. But having one means your pet has met all requirements for legal presence and is free to travel throughout Europe (with limited exceptions). An EU Pet Passport means the only thing you and your furry travel companion have to worry about is having a good time.
Cathi Bert-Roussel is a North Carolina based writer and editor of Triangle Paws Magazine. She is an avid world traveler with her dog, Danny, who has more stamps in his passport than she has. When not traveling, she and Danny sniff out dog-friendly establishments in her home-town of Raleigh.