Pets travelling from one country to another must meet the destination country’s entry (or import) requirements. In some cases, they must also meet the departure country’s export requirements. Some pets will additionally be subject to other international standards or conventions.
Europe — pet passports
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets to travel between EU member states and some other countries without going into quarantine, as long as they meet the scheme rules.
Broadly, pets must have a microchip, a valid rabies vaccination and a pet passport to travel. Dogs also need an internal parasite treatment a certain number of hours before entering the UK.
Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated against rabies.
The UK government department Defra publishes useful pet travel information on its website. Other European countries publish similar information.
You can download a guide to the pet passport procedure by Dr Diana James, a British vet living in France.
Europe — TRACES
TRACES (the Trade Control and Expert System) is used to notify EU member states of the movement of live animals through their territories. You’ll need to use TRACES if:
- you’re adopting a pet from a shelter in another EU country
- you’re acquiring a pet from a breeder in another EU country
- you have more than five pets travelling
In these cases your pet or pets must be recorded on TRACES a few days before they leave t by a government vet in the departure country. The departure address or organisation must be recognised as suitable and be approved by the government vet.
The TRACES entry will generate an Intra-Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) which must be included with the pet’s passport.
You must inform your nearest Animal Health Office at least 24 hours before the pet or pets are due to arrive in the destination country. In the UK, this will be an AHVLA office (part of Defra). The Animal Health Office has the right to visit the pet within 48 hours of its arrival.
You can consult TRACES information published by Defra. Each EU country interprets the TRACES rules slightly differently, so you should check the TRACES information published by the government in both the departure and arrival countries.
Some departure countries impose additional local requirements, for example:
- neutering of the pet before departure
- an official adoption certificate from the local municipality or breeder showing the new owner’s details
rest of the world
Country-specific paperwork, procedures and quarantine requirements apply to pets travelling to countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Animalcouriers can advise and support you as part of our pet shipping service.
If your pet needs to go into quarantine on entering the UK, or when transiting via the UK, Animalcouriers can help. We’re a Defra-authorised quarantine carrying agent.
We can also advise you on legal alternatives to UK-based quarantine for pets travelling from continental Europe whose passports aren’t yet valid.
updating your pet’s microchip details
When you move to a new address, don’t forget to update your pet’s microchip registration details. In many cases you can do this using the UK PETtrac website.
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