Guide to pet passports and import/export of pets

Please note that these guides do not constitute legal advice and any information provided in the guides should not be construed as legal advice or legal interpretation. We do not accept any liability for any loss caused by your reliance on this guide.

Transport of pets within EU for private owners

Does my new pet need a Pet Passport?

Did you know that you need an EU Pet Passport if you’re planning on bringing pets such as dogs, cats and ferrets across EU borders - even between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK?

The pet travel scheme was introduced to protect people from the threat of diseases such as rabies. It also means that animals with pet passports don’t have to be quarantined.

So what does a EU Pet Passport contain?

While a photograph of your pet is optional (honestly), a EU Pet Passport, which you get from your vet includes:

  • Microchip identification
  • Valid rabies vaccination
    • administered according to the manufacturer’s protocol
    • the first rabies vaccination must be administered at least 21 days before travel

How soon can I bring a pet abroad?

Although the minimum age for sale of a puppy or kitten is 8 weeks the animal must be a minimum of 15 weeks old prior to being moved. This is because:

  • the earliest it can be vaccinated for rabies is at 12 weeks
  • the animal is able to travel 21 days (3 weeks) after that vaccination

Is there anything else I need to know?

  • Dogs must also be treated for the tapeworm echinococcus unless travelling into Ireland directly from another Echinococcus free country i.e. the UK, Malta, Finland and Norway.
  • Pets must be identified by either microchip or a clearly readable tattoo - however the tattoo must have been applied before 3 July 2011.
  • For older animals that have already been vaccinated the 21 day period does not apply to revaccinations/booster vaccinations, provided there has been no break in vaccination history.

What happens if I bring an animal abroad or into Ireland without a Pet Passport?

Your pet may be:

  • put down
  • put in quarantine, at your expense
  • returned to the country of origin

What about a Veterinary Certificate?

If you’re a private owner and you’d don’t have a Pet Passport you can use this form which must be signed by your vet. If you’re intending to sell the animal or transfer it to another owner you need the Commercial Moves form.

Where can I find out more?

Commercial transport of pets

Additional requirements for commercial exports (i.e. sale or change of ownership):

  • Transport has to have Type 2 Transporter Authorisation from the relevant Department of Agriculture. Transporters must comply with the Guidelines on Animal Welfare during Transport.
  • A vet must complete and certify (in passport) clinical examination of animals within 24 hours of travel to ensure they are healthy and fit for journey.
  • A health (‘Balai’) certificate must be issued by the relevant Department of Agriculture within 24 hours of scheduled departure time.