Tips on bringing your pet abroad!
In 2017, I moved from Los Angeles to France with my dog Bentley.
Here’s how I did it!
My BIGGEST advice is to start early and plan ahead way ahead. You always want to make sure you give yourself room and time for error and/or time to meet specific timing requirements on when vaccinations need to be done. I started this process about 6 months before departure, I recommend giving yourself at least 3 months.
The following instructions apply to dogs, cats, and ferrets traveling from the United States to the EU.
Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old in order to travel into the EU.
What does my pet need from the vet before departure?
You will need to set up an appointment with your vet to get all of the necessary vaccinations for your pet. I called my vet and let them know I was intending on bringing Bentley to France and they were helpful with letting me know what he would need in order to enter the country.
- Your pet must have a microchip with an ISO compliant 15 digit pet microchip, or have a tattoo. If your pet does have a tattoo it must be clearly readable and applied before July 2011.
- Rabies Vaccination: Every pet must have this vaccination, this must be done 10-30 days before your departure date (the number of days will be dependent on your own personal situation). Any rabies vaccination done before the microchip was inserted is not valid. The rabies vaccination must be completed AFTER the microchip.
- Blood test? Nope! A blood test is not required for pets coming from the United States into France. (Be sure to check regulations for the country you are moving to, it might be different).
Once your pet has all the necessary vaccinations, I recommend giving a call to the department of agriculture. This is a great resource for up to date information. (This is the site I used: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/take-pet-to-foreign-country)
Once you have your health certificate (this should come with your vet visit), it needs to be endorsed by the USDA.
To get the health certificate endorsed, I mailed it along with a money order of $38 to the USDA offices in Gainesville Florida (here is a list of the other USDA offices throughout the US).
Within two days I received the health certificate back at my home address, endorsed, and ready to go!
The endorsed certificate is only valid for 10 days so make sure you get this done by the appropriate time before departure.
Does my pet need a pet passport?
No, an EU passport cannot be obtained in the US. A pet passport is used to travel within the EU.
Every airline is different when it comes to traveling with animals. Do your research before booking your ticket to make this process is as easy as can be for you and your pet.
The first thing I recommend for traveling is to book a direct flight if you can. Doing this will prevent you from having to comply with the laws in the country you are passing through.
If you do have a layover, you will need to consider the cost for your pet on each leg and the amount of time that you have during your layover.
Some airlines require a minimum amount of time between flights when traveling with a pet.
How much will it cost to add my pet to my flight?
This will depend on your airline. I flew United and the cost was $125 for one way.
What do I do when I get to the airport?
Arrive to the airport at least 3 hours before your departure.
When you arrive at the airport, the airline should be expecting that you are traveling with a pet due to your reservation.
Make sure that you have at least two copies of all your paperwork and bring EVERYTHING (Pet identification and proof of vaccination/microchip). When traveling to another country you always want to make sure you have all your necessary paperwork with you at all times especially concerning a pet.
Where will my pet be during travel?
I traveled on a direct flight to Paris with United airlines. Bentley was able to travel in his carrier (he is about 13lbs) underneath the seat and I even brought him up onto my lap a few times. He was calm and slept most of the time!
Depending on which airline you are flying with rules will be different. Some airlines do not allow pets in the cabin at all.
Whether your dog is traveling with you and will be in a carrier or in a crate down in the hold make sure you get them comfortable with what they will be traveling in way ahead of time so it won’t be such a big shock for them, you want to make sure they have a good experience and feel safe.
I hope that this was helpful for anyone hoping to bring their little one abroad and I would be happy to answer any questions, you can do that by leaving me a comment below!
The website below could also be helpful for additional info!
I joined this facebook group for expats with animals in Paris and it has been super helpful: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1496336767293108
It might be worth looking for a similar group wherever you are traveling to!
Good luck for all of you traveling with your animals!