Dog-Friendly Europe

How to Get an EU Pet Passport for Your Dog

European pet passport

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.

European Pet Passport

The ID page in an EU Pet passport © Cathi Bert-Roussel

Pet passport Europe

Pages for your pet’s rabies vaccination records © Cathi Bert-Roussel

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.

Dog Passport

Good times exploring Paris © Cathi Bert-Roussel

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.

Bone Voyage!

Author Bio

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.

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Tina
    December 5, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    This was incredibly helpful! I went through all of this the hard way and you basically detailed everything I learned in such a clear and concise way. I’m sure many have found this helpful (even me reviewing the points and especially the pet passport part!) Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      December 6, 2017 at 3:05 am

      That’s great to hear! Hope you’ve had a great time travelling with your dog in Europe!

    • Reply
      Cathi
      December 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      You are very welcome. I must admit that I was very intimidated by the prospect of getting the pet passport. But once I started the process, I was amazed at how easy it was. The hardest part was calling a veterinarian to make an appointment with my terrible French.

      • Reply
        Chris
        March 22, 2018 at 3:25 pm

        What about the return to the US? What documents are required? Or is the passport valid for re-entry in the US? Thx

        • Reply
          Shandos
          March 22, 2018 at 7:03 pm

          I haven’t yet travelled to the US myself, but I’ve confirmed the requirements with someone that has travelled multiple times from Europe to the US. They’ve stated that in addition to taking their EU Pet Passport with the rabies certificate, they go to the vet a day or two before their flight and get a certificate of good health. In this the vet states the dog is up-to-date on all its vaccines and is generally in good health to be traveling.

          Note that if it’s the first rabies vaccine, your dog needs to wait at least 30 days to fly. Check out these links for more information:
          Full list of rules for travel to the US: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedStates.cfm
          Specific details on rabies vaccination: https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/dogs.html

          (I’ll be writing a more in-depth post about this later in the coming months.)

  • Reply
    Vince
    February 16, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Very useful, thank you!

    How does your dog do on long flights? Mine has been in his pet carrier up until 8 hours and he did great. But I’ll be flying for about 10,5 hours AND there will be a 7 hours time difference. I’m wondering how this will go.. Care to share your experience?

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      February 19, 2018 at 3:37 am

      The only long flight we’ve done with our dog was from Australia to Europe, where due to regulations he had to go in the hold. The flights we’ve done in Europe have only been short (up to 2 hours), although we’ve done an overnight ferry crossing to the Netherlands where he was on the ship for at least 10 hours. And while we could take him out to a deck area, he wouldn’t consider it for doing his business as there was no grass or similar!

      10.5 hours isn’t much longer than 8 hours, so hopefully your dog will cope as well as on previous flights. I wouldn’t worry much about the time difference. He won’t notice it as first, while in artificial environments, and dogs tend to sleep a lot more in the day compared to us humans so probably adjust easier. Our dog was fine with the 10 hour time difference between Australia and Spain. He probably had less jet lag than we did!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    March 26, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Cathi,
    I will be travelling back to Europe with my pup in June. We have lived in France before and I got her an EU Passport while there. However, her rabies vaccine will need to be given again in the USA before we go, so do you know if I will still need all the extra paperwork? (As if she didn’t have an EU Passport) And if I don’t dpes the vaccine still need to be administered by a USDA accredited veterinarian? Thanks in advance! Always nice to hear of other well travelled pups!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      March 27, 2018 at 12:44 am

      Hi Lauren,

      This is Shandos. Unfortunately, you’ll have to have the booster recorded on an third-country official veterinary certificate, so the same paperwork as when you originally travelled with your pup from the USA to Europe, plus administered by a USDA accredited veterinarian (if that’s a requirement for getting the paperwork). Don’t get your vet to record the booster in the EU Pet Passport – I’ve heard of someone who did this and invalidated the passport.

      The UK government website (which has the same rules as for pet travelling to France), is unfortunately quite clear about this. See: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/rabies-vaccination-boosters-and-blood-tests and https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/pet-passport.

      Enjoy your time in France! I’m just about to head there tomorrow and can’t wait to explore more with my dog.
      Shandos

    • Reply
      Shandos
      March 28, 2018 at 1:18 am

      Also, if you’ve got my questions, I’ve just started a new FB community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dogfriendlytravelrtw/. Open to all questions about traveling with a dog!

  • Reply
    DijanaJ
    April 11, 2018 at 5:41 am

    This is crazy! How would I get EU passport for my dog here in Canada if there is no EU approved veterinarian in whole country?

    • Reply
      Shandos
      April 12, 2018 at 1:43 am

      You can only get the EU passports when you are in Europe. Instead, in Canada get an authorised veterinarian to complete an “EU Annex IV”, or “animal health certificate”. This may need to be also endorsed by the relevant government authority. For more details, see https://travelnuity.com/travelling-to-europe-with-a-dog/ and speak to a vet in Canada familiar with preparing dogs for travel.

      The EU Passport is designed for dogs living in Europe, or at least spending an extended period in Europe. It’s not required for a dog to enter Europe.

  • Reply
    DijanaJ
    April 14, 2018 at 2:49 am

    Thank you very much for your answer. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jene
    April 25, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Hi~ Thanks so much for the information! I brought my dog from the U.S. last year to Finland and am living here permanently now. My dog doesn’t have an EU passport but we want to take a 4 day vacation to Barcelona on June 1st 2018. Do you know if I can just use paperwork that I have from the U.S. or if I need to acquire an EU passport?? Also, Finland required tapeworm treatment when I was coming from the U.S. but if I just take this short trip to Barcelona, do I still need to get a tapeworm treatment there during my 4-day stay before flying back into Finland??

    Thank you in advance 🙂 !!!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      April 26, 2018 at 4:54 am

      Jene – Hope you got the detailed reply that I sent you via Facebook! For any other readers, the short answers are yes, you’ll need an EU passport, as the papers are only valid for 4 months, plus you’ll need to get the tapeworm treatment again, and that will need to be recorded in your new passport.

  • Reply
    Chris
    May 6, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks for your answer ! It give detailed information for me to get a EU pet passport for my cat. We plan to travel to Ireland after France. Have you travel to Ireland ? Do you know whether there is an airline from France to Ireland that allow pet to travel with people rather than traveling alone as a cargo? I did try to find some information but failed. But as you suggested, I will contact with Dr. Pierre Metivet for extra requirements for Ireland. Anyway, thank you so much!!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      May 7, 2018 at 3:14 am

      That’s great to hear about the pet passport! Unfortunately, both Ireland and the UK only allow pets entering the countries to travel as cargo, except for service dogs – this is a government regulation. (This doesn’t apply travelling the opposite direction, to there are a few airlines that allow pets to travel in the cabin or as checked-baggage when leaving.) If you don’t want to have your cat travel as cargo, there’s two alternatives. If you have a car you can take the Eurotunnel or a ferry across the channel, then drive across England, then take another ferry to Ireland. If you don’t have a car, from Paris the best option is to take the train to Dieppe, the DFDS ferry to Newhaven, trains across England, then one of the ferries across to Ireland. I discuss the options for transporting a pet to the UK in this post: https://travelnuity.com/dog-travel-between-uk-europe/. All the best!

      • Reply
        CHRIS
        May 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm

        Hi,thanks for your useful information. But I am wondering whether there is a possibility for me to take a ferry from France to Ireland directly rather than going to England firstly then transiting to Ireland. Do you have any experience for this?

        • Reply
          Shandos
          May 16, 2018 at 4:58 am

          Chris – I’m annoyed I didn’t think of this earlier! I don’t have experience with taking ferries on this route, but looking on line, there are 3 ferry companies that cross between France and Ireland:
          1. Irish Ferries – Pets are allowed for foot passengers, you’ll need to carry your cat onboard in a cage/box. Kennels are available, although I couldn’t see the details for the French crossings. See: https://www.irishferries.com/ie-en/frequently-asked-questions/
          2. Stenaline – Pets are allowed for foot passengers, but you must pre-book a kennel, which operates on a first-come, first-served basis. I’ve travelled before with my dog on Stenaline between Scotland & Ireland and England & Netherlands, and found them to be really pet-friendly. See: https://www.stenaline.ie/ferries-to-france/pet-travel
          3. Brittany Ferries – Unfortunately, foot passengers aren’t allowed pets.
          Have a great time! – Shandos

          • CHRIS
            May 16, 2018 at 1:02 pm

            Really Grateful! Thank you Shandos. If I succeed, I will let you know. Maybe you can help others in my case

          • Shandos
            May 18, 2018 at 12:07 am

            Thanks Chris!

  • Reply
    Diana
    May 14, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I will be flying to Paris from Toronto the beginning of January and staying 3 months.
    I have a vet who is familiar with the process and also know to get the gov’t agency paperwork, BUT when I arrive in Paris, I will get on a TGV train to Nice. I can get a Pet Passport in Nice, but will the paerwork I have be enough for travel on the train? I have tried to look at the various sites, but cannot figure it out.

    • Reply
      Shandos
      May 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Diana – That will be fine. I’ve sometimes seen in the train rules that a pet passport is required, but I have never had this checked. I’ve travelled by train in many European countries (France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands…) Just keep the paperwork from Canada with you in case – their main concern will be that the dogs has been immunised against rabies.

  • Reply
    Kyuhwa Kim
    May 29, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Shandos, thanks to your post, I’ve got EU pet passports for my two dogs in Spain.
    It was amazing and unforgettable experience!! And I think I’m really lucky to find your post by googling.
    Thank you again.

    • Reply
      Shandos
      May 30, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      That’s great to hear! Have a fabulous time travelling with your dogs!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    June 6, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Shandos, I’m getting an EU passport in Switzerland this week (I come here every year (the month of June) then back to the US and I return to Switzerland in August. I don’t need anything to travel back home to the USA (she’s going home correct?).
    Also she’s one year old so she only has a one year rabies shot (not 3 years..that’s the next one). When I return next June she will have had her 3 year rabies shot in the USA with her vet in April. Can I just bring her papers from US vet showing her Rabies booster along with the EU passport or do I have to go through the old process of health certificate from vet then USDA approval? Thank you so much…hope this wasn’t too confusing

    • Reply
      Shandos
      June 8, 2018 at 3:43 am

      Andrea – For returning to the US, you’ll need the proof of rabies vaccination plus a health certificate. I’m not 100% sure if the health check entry in the EU Pet Passport is accepted (I’m not flying to the US myself until October), so I would request a typed letter from your vet in Switzerland. (From http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedStates.cfm: “A licensed veterinarian must complete and sign a veterinary certificate. This certificate should be in English or be accompanied by a version translated in English. It should identify the animal, the dates of vaccination, the manufacturer and the expiration date of the rabies vaccine.”) Some airlines also require a health certificate.

      That’s a tricky case about the rabies booster. It’s not clear on the EU website, but the relevant UK website states: “Get a third-country official veterinary certificate if your pet needs a booster vaccination while you’re outside the EU.” I would follow this guideline – which unfortunately means a health certificate from a US vet then USDA approval.

      However, one way to get around this would be to have the rabies booster while you are in Switzerland, and have the vet record it on your new pet passport. I know the vaccine isn’t due yet, so I would check with the vet about this. I did something similar – my dog had a 3 year rabies vaccine before arriving in Europe, but then I had a booster after 1 year in Europe. Partially as some countries don’t recognise the 3 year vaccine, but also so I had the entry in the EU Pet Passport and it makes paperwork a lot simpler.

      Enjoy your summer in Switzerland – I’m very jealous, we loved our time there!

  • Reply
    Nina Fussing
    June 14, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    This is such a great post! Quick question. Where did you purchase a pet photo? I’ve got the passport for my cat and am traveling with her this week-end from France to Spain, but have no idea where to get a photo. Did you just take your dog into a photo booth?

    Nina

    • Reply
      Shandos
      June 16, 2018 at 3:38 am

      I recommend using a photo booth, unless you want to print out one of your own photos in a photo printing shop. If you can’t get it done in time, don’t worry, it shouldn’t cause any problems, it’s just good to have it too.

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