The Adventures of Django and Arya

EU Pet Travel Scheme

The EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) enables travel without quarantine for dogs, cats and ferrets to EU member states. On 1 October 2001, the European Union introduced the PETS scheme, under which animals from any member country may freely travel to any other member country. With the EU Pet Passport, the PETS Scheme was originally established to control the transmission of rabies between European countries, but over time other locations such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were included. There’s four categories of countries within the EU Pet Travel Scheme for cats, dogs and ferrets. Both the requirements of your countries of origin and destination determine the preparations you need to make for your pet to travel.  Details for each EU Pet Travel Scheme category are set out below. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the Pet Travel Scheme in continental Europe for cats, dogs and ferrets travelling internationally.

eu pet travel scheme international import cat dog ferret pet passport

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Which Countries are Covered by the EU Pet Travel Scheme?

The Pet Travel Scheme in Europe applies to the 27 EU member states, plus Norway and Northern Ireland. The current EU member states are:

Austria

Croatia

Denmark

France

Hungary

Latvia

Malta

Portugal

Slovenia

Belgium

Cyprus

Estonia

Germany

Ireland

Lithuania

The Netherlands (Holland)

Romania

Spain

Bulgaria

Czechia

Finland

Greece

Italy

Luxemburg

Poland

Slovakia

Sweden

Changes to the EU Pet Travel Scheme

Following Brexit, the rules for travelling from Great Britain (Scotland, England & Wales) to EU member states changed. However, although part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland (NI) is currently subject to the same pet travel rules as EU Member States. Current NI pet passports can be endorsed for EU travel. Pet Passports issued in GB are no longer accepted to enter mainland Europe, but you can use a GB issued Pet Passport to enter the UK.

Originally, after Brexit pet travel rules were agreed to come into effect from 1 January 2021, an Animal Health Certificate was required to enter the EU and Northern Ireland (NI). But, on 15 September 2021 the NI Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) announced that checks on all pet dogs, cats and ferrets travelling from GB to NI would be suspended indefinitely while negotiations between the UK government and EU continue.

Subsequently, you now don’t need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to travel to NI, but you still need to obtain one from a vet to travel to the EU from GB. Remember though, that if you have an EU issued Pet Passport for your cat, dog or ferret, you can use this to enter the EU from GB.

Changes were also introduced to PETS to reduce the number of animals being unethically bred and sold in the EU. To combat this issue, rules on pet transport within the EU changed as of 29 December 2014. The key amendments were:

  • Dogs, cats and ferrets can’t receive a rabies vaccine before the age of 12 weeks. However, some countries make provisions for transporting younger pets.
  • A new style of pet passport with laminated pages detailing micro-chipping, vaccination information and other details about the pet. Laminate is used to avoid this information being fraudulently changed later. 
  • Owners must travel with their pets or within five days of their pets being transported. A pet that travels more than five days before or after the owner must fulfil the requirements that apply to animals transported for trade.

EU Pet Travel Scheme Categories of Countries

There are four categories of countries under the EU PETS scheme, with different pet travel rules for each. However, a microchip and rabies vaccination are always required. The four categories are:

  1. Countries in the European Union
  2. EU Territories & countries authorised to issue Pet Passports (Part 1 Listed Countries)
  3. Listed Third Countries (Part 2 Listed Countries)
  4. Unlisted Third Countries

Pet Travel within EU Member States (Including NI)

For the Pet Travel Scheme in Europe, you can travel between EU member states, as well as Northern Ireland, if your pet has the following:

  • Working Microchip or clearly readable tattoo applied before 3 July 2011.
  • Rabies Vaccination administered by an authorised vet and in date at the time of travel.
    Your cat, dog or ferret must be microchipped the Rabies Vaccination, and they have to be at least 12 weeks old at the date the vaccine is administered. At least 21 days must pass from the date of the pet’s first Rabies Vaccination before travel.
  • Valid EU Pet Passport or an EU Animal Health Certificate
  • Tapeworm Treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to the UK, Finland, Ireland, Norway or Malta

Also, check with your airline as they may need a Fit to Fly Certificate from a vet confirming your pet is fit to travel.

Travelling from a Part 1 Listed Country to EU (incl. NI)

If you’re travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Andorra, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State, your pet can also enter the EU with a Pet Passport issued in one of these countries or territories. These are known as Part 1 Listed Countries, so your pet needs a:

  • Working Microchip or tattoo applied before 3 July 2011.
  • Rabies Vaccination administered by an authorised vet, which must be in date at the time of travel. Your cat, dog or ferret must be microchipped beforehand and be at least 12 weeks old at the date the vaccine is administered. You have to wait 21 days after the primary Rabies Vaccination before travel.
  • Pet Passport issued by a Part 1 Listed country, or an EU Animal Health Certificate. This is valid for 10 days from issue to entry of an EU Member State, and for 4 months onward travel within the EU.
  • Tapeworm Treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, the UK, Norway or Malta.

Travelling from a Part 2 Listed Country to an EU Member State

Under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, when travelling from a Part 2 Listed Country, including Great Britain, to continental Europe, cats, dogs and ferrets need a:

  • Working Microchip or readable tattoo applied before 3 July 2011.
  • Rabies Vaccination administered by an authorised vet, which must be in date at the time of travel. Your cat, dog or ferret must be microchipped beforehand and be at least 12 weeks old at the date the vaccine is administered. You have to wait at least 21 days from the date of your pet’s primary Rabies Vaccination before travel.
  • Tapeworm Treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
  • Animal Health Certificate confirming microchip and vaccinations, which is valid for 10 days from issue to enter an EU Member State and for four months onward travel within the EU
  • to enter EU through a Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE)

Read more about taking a cat, dog or ferret to Great Britain from the EU, and to the EU from Great Britain.

Initially, when taking a pet from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI) after Brexit, the same rules applied as for entering the EU with a cat, dog or ferret. But, to simplify pet travel between GB and NI, on 15 September 2021 the NI Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) announced that checks on all pet dogs, cats and ferrets travelling from GB to NI would be suspended indefinitely while negotiations between the UK government and EU continue. You can read more about this announcement on the DAERA website.

Unlisted Third Countries to EU

If you are travelling from a country that is not listed, in addition to the requirements for Part 2 Listed Countries:

  1. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination.
  2. Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory from either inside the EU or outside the EU.
  3. The results of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful (rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).
  4. You must wait 3 months from the date the blood sample was taken before you travel – you do not need to wait if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to a country that is not listed.
  5. The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in the Animal Health Certificate.

The blood test will continue to be valid as long as your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date

Pet Travel Scheme Restrictions on Number of Pets

The Pet Travel Scheme in continental Europe covers the movement of up to five pets with their owners. In addition to the above requirements, when more than five pets are travelling in a consignment or in the case of commercial movement of pets, the requirements for commercial trade laid down by the Balai Directive must also be met. Commercial trade includes any transfer of ownership and also relates to dogs travelling for the purpose of re-homing.

Before travelling it is always recommended that you contact the competent authority of the country of destination as there may be additional requirements that have to be met.

Pets Travelling without Owner

Under EU law, an accompanied pet can travel independently of their owner as long as the owner is joining the cat, dog or ferret within 5 days.

Check out other aspects of global pet travel scheme rules for travelling with your furry friend.

Remember to always keep your cat or dog safe from vector borne diseases when you travel internationally, due to the threat from fleas, mosquitoes, sandflies and ticks. And leave a review to tell everyone about your latest adventure with your pet!

Flying with Pets

Comprehensive guides to flying with cats and dogs in the cabin, and in the hold as checked baggage or cargo.

Pet Friendly Ferries

Prefer sailing the seas to soaring the skies? Then check out our selection of global pet friendly ferries.

Pet Friendly Trains

Read about rail routes and pet policies for worldwide train networks.

Pet Travel Schemes

Do you need a Pet Passport, Animal Health Certificate or Import Permit for your next trip? Discover the documentations and preparations required under each country’s pet travel scheme.

Protecting Cats & Dogs

Remember to keep your pet safe from vector-borne diseases when you travel to a foreign destination.

Pet Cargo & Couriers

Discover airline cargo companies, and pet couriers to transport your cat, dog, ferret, rabbit or bird by road.

Pet Friendly Destinations

Check out our directory of worldwide pet friendly destinations

Pet Friendly Hotels

Once you decide where you're heading for your next trip, find the paw-fect pet friendly accommodation, reviewed by other cat and dog owners..

Dog Friendly Beaches & Parks

Locate the best dog friendly beaches and parks to visit with your four-legged friend.

Add a Pet Friendly Place to our Global Directory

Add your favourite pet friendly destination, hotel, transport, beach or park to let other cat & dog owners hear all about it!

Recent Posts

Quarantine for Cats & Dogs

Pet quarantine used to be commonplace when travelling with cats and dogs. But, following the introduction of the European Union (EU) Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)

Read More »