How and Why to Get Your Dog a European Union Pet Passport

August 10, 2017

EU Pet Passports are available to all pet owners and allow easy pet travel into and between EU member states

Updated October 2019

If you plan to take your dog to the European Union with you more than once, YES. Getting your pet a European Union Pet Passport will easily save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars down the road. It will also make future travel planning significantly easier.

What is a European Union Pet Passport?

A European Union (EU) Pet Passport is a travel document detailing the health and vaccination history of a specific pet. EU Pet Passports allow pet owners - both EU citizens and non EU citizens - to easily travel with their pet between EU member states and return to the EU from a non-EU country. Anyone can get an EU Pet Passport, but the document can only be obtained from an EU veterinarian. An EU Pet Passport cannot be obtained in the United States.

The original purpose of the EU Pet Passport was to simplify the process of traveling between EU member states with a pet. For us non-EU citizens, the EU Pet Passport has made it incredibly simple and cost-effective to bring a dog or cat to the EU for non-commercial purposes (i.e. the pet is not changing ownership and/or for re-sale upon arrival).

Where is the EU Pet Passport Accepted?

All member states of the European Union accept EU Pet Passports. Switzerland and Norway also accept EU Pet Passports.

How Do I Get My Dog an EU Pet Passport?

EU Citizens

Meet with an EU veterinarian who can issue an EU Pet Passport. The veterinarian will do a health examination of your dog and fill out all required information in your pup's new passport (owner details, description of dog, rabies vaccination history, other vaccination history).

The cost for an EU Pet Passport is minimal (EUR 20 on average) but expect the vet to charge an additional amount for the pet's health exam. This could add another EUR 30+ to your bill. 

Non-EU Citizens

  • Step 1: Go to Europe with your dog. You and your dog need to be in an EU member state/country to get a passport. EU Pet Passports cannot be obtained outside of the EU nor in the US. The process of getting to the EU for the first time with your dog will be annoying - getting an International Health Certificate is time-consuming and expensive - but do not let that deter you. We took a trip with our sausage dog Django to the EU recently and detailed every step you need to take to get to the EU with your dog including how to obtain an international health certificate.
  • Step 2: Meet with an EU vet who can issue an EU Pet Passport. Once you know where you are staying, find a local vet and arrange an appointment to get an EU Pet Passport. Your pet needs to be at the vet appointment so the vet can do a proper health exam and fill out the pet passport. The cost for an EU Pet Passport is minimal ($25 on average) but expect the vet to charge an additional amount for the pet's health exam. This could add another $40+ to your bill.

Below: We got Django his EU Pet Passport while honeymooning in Paris, France. The vet performed a full health examination before issuing Django's pet passport. Email us at hello@djangobrand.com if you are planning to visit Paris and need a vet recommendation! We were incredibly happy with our experience.

A veterinarian in Paris, France inspects Django before issuing him an EU Pet PassportReturning to the European Union with Pet Passport

International travel to/from the European Union and between EU member states is relatively simple once your dog has an EU Pet Passport.

  • Scenario 1 - Rabies vaccination has not yet expired, and you are NOT traveling to the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), Ireland, Malta, Finland, or Norway. If the rabies vaccination listed in the EU Pet Passport was documented by an EU vet and is still valid (i.e. you are not past the rabies vaccination expiration), you and your pet can return to the EU with only the EU Pet passport. Your pet does not need a health exam or treatment prior to travel.
  • Scenario 2 - Rabies vaccination has not yet expired, and you ARE traveling to the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), Ireland, Malta, Finland, or Norway. Dogs with a valid EU Pet Passport must also receive tapeworm treatment (Echinococcus multilocularis) 1 – 5 days prior to entry into the above listed Member States/countries. Tapeworm treatment can be recorded in your dog’s EU Pet Passport by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian. Cats and ferrets are not required to receive this tapeworm treatment. 
  • Scenario 3 - Rabies Vaccination Expired or Pet Was Re-Vaccinated in U.S. If your pet was re-vaccinated for rabies in the U.S., unfortunately you need to obtain another International Health Certificate for travel (see how to do so here). Don't want to go through this hassle? Ideally you visit the EU prior to your pet's rabies vaccination and have an EU vet administer the rabies booster and document it in your pet's passport.

As always, follow international airlines' pet travel protocols to ensure a seamless trip overseas. Information varies by airline, so read the policies carefully and call your airline's customer support number if you have unanswered questions. Here is a great DJANGO Dog Blog resource detailing the in-cabin pet policies for every major international airline.

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