Getting a pet passport


NEW SIGHTS AND SMELLS Pets are members of the family, and bringing them on a trip can be really rewarding.

Going on holiday? Want to bring Felix or Fido? What’s involved?

The vet's view
Conal Finnerty

Continuing EU integration has led to legislation governing the movement of animals within and without of EU borders, and part of this legislation brings in the idea of pet passports for dogs, cats and ferrets. These rules have made it easy for you to travel with your pet throughout the EU and Norway and Northern Ireland and also cover travel into the EU from outside the EU.
With few exceptions you can travel from one EU country to another or from a non-EU country if you fulfil certain requirements. These include having your pet microchipped (or has a clearly readable ear tattoo, if applied before July 2011), has been vaccinated for rabies (and that the rabies vaccination is within certain time guidelines), has been treated for tapeworm (where your destination area is tapeworm free – Finland, Ireland, Malta, Norway and NI) and holds a pet passport containing all the relevant information pertaining to you the owner and your pet(s). One important exception is if you are travelling with an animal for commercial purposes, such as, for example, a greyhound meeting.
An EU passport is a legal document, issued by authorised veterinarians, containing the owner’s details as well as proof of the pet’s identity, species, sex and details of their rabies vaccination record and any other relevant treatments such as the tapeworm treatment mentioned earlier. A pet passport is valid for life, so long as these vaccines and treatments are in date.
An EU animal health certificate is another document that is also needed if you are travelling from a non-EU country or state into the EU. Again this certificate will be issued by an authorised veterinarian, not more than ten days before travel.
This next piece of information is very important for people travelling with their pet from Great Britain into any EU country. From Jan 1, 2021, passports issued to owners resident in Great Britain are not valid for travel from Great Britain into an EU country or Northern Ireland. These owners must advise themselves of the entry requirements into whichever country they wish to travel in the EU. This can be done by contacting the Deptartment of Agriculture in the relevant country or state. Furthermore, it is important to remember that the countries of North America, including Canada, have their own unique set of guidelines on the criteria for admitting dogs, cats and ferrets to their jurisdiction, and again the Department of Agriculture in the relevant country should be contacted well in advance of travel to ensure that all the necessary requirements are in place. In fact, different states within the US have their own set of requirements, and so the state Department of Agriculture should be contacted in this case.
The general advice I would give to any pet owner planning to travel with their pet to another EU country or non-EU country with plans to reside there or return is to contact your vet well in advance of travel (at least three months) to get up to speed with the requirements in the relevant country or countries.
Remember, planning well in advance, whatever those plans may be – both for yourself and your pet – should increase the chances of a happy and stress-free trip.

Veterinarian Conal Finnerty MRCVS practises at the Skeldale Vet Clinic in Ballinrobe and Belmullet. Follow the clinic on Facebook, or call 094 9541980 or 087 9185350 to make an appointment.