Traveling With Pets Overseas: A Guide to Some Quirky Rules

Want to bring Fido to Europe? You can, but know the rules first.
Here are some good tips compliments of Jennifer S. Holland for National Geographic
Published June 13, 2013

Many countries have specific requirements for pet owners to follow. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PET OWNER TO FIND OUT WHAT CERTIFICATES AND TESTS ARE REQUIRED BEFORE MAKING AN APPOINTMENT AT BAH. I am a USDA accredited vet and can perform the required exam and sign the appropriate papers but my office does not have a listing for each countries requirements. They change all the time. The USDA website below is the source for all the info you need to know before you travel. Please go to this site and then if you have any questions call me or my staff and we will be glad to help More
USDA – APHIS – Animal Welfare – Animal Care
The United States has minimal requirements for animals to be exported to other countries.

Give yourself time as it may require days to weeks to complete the process. Another thing to consider is advance notification. Some countries require advance notification that an animal will be arriving.
The following info is just a sampling of the restrictions placed on animals entering foreign countries from the US. Many other countries have their own restrictions. I can’t emphasize enough that it is YOUR responsibility to contact the foreign consulates and ask what their specific requirements are. It is impossible to keep up with each country’s rules. Regulations change all the time and what may have been OK last year may have changed this year. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out. It can ruin you plans and countries DO NOT make exceptions. Dr.L

Previously, according to EU regulations, no one could take more than five animals across the borders of EU member countries. Now, if you can prove you are headed to a competition, exhibition, or recreational/sporting event, you can be exempt from the five-max law.
But sometimes they have to go with you. And even trips with sweet Peaches sitting in an onboard carrier can go sour on arrival if you don’t know the rules, which can vary widely. Each country has its own regulations regarding live imports, aimed at keeping out diseases and invasive species, and officials are not above “destroying” an animal whose owner didn’t follow protocol.

Unless you are attempting to import exotic animals (like primates , big cats, or certain reptiles), which not surprisingly means more regulatory obstacles, you may not need a special permit. But all countries require basic vaccinations and official proof of your animal’s good health before letting it in. And more and more often, you’ll need to microchip your pet, too, to ensure its identity. Some countries even ask that “pet passports” be used to organize key documents (the EU requires these). But here and there are some quirky or strict rules that you might not expect. We’ve picked a random handful to highlight. Unless specified, the rules apply to your basic pets—dogs and cats

European Union Member Countries: We just mentioned the new way to get more than five animals across European borders. But what I like best about the EU regulations is that they specify that pet dogs, cats, and ferrets must be in compliance.

Apparently ferrets are quite popular across the Pond: Your vet must give your pet its rabies vaccination after a microchip is placed, not before. If your pet is vaccinated beforehand, it doesn’t count and must be redone. This has to do with the need to confirm the animal’s identity when it is vaccinated.

United Kingdom: Since 1897, dogs entering the UK have been subject to a six-month quarantine—at the owner’s expense, of course—to reduce the risk of rabies coming in. (Cats and ferrets were added to the law later.) But recently, because of much-improved testing, that rule was relaxed to match those in the rest of the EU. Now your pet just needs the rabies vaccination and, three months before traveling, a blood test proving no sign of the disease, which is much better than six months of lockup.

Costa Rica: When you enter Costa Rica, you’ll need to carry (in addition to health and rabies certificates) a personal letter stating your pet’s market value or an invoice showing its purchase price. Finally, when it comes to pet birds, what enters Costa Rica stays in Costa Rica. As in, once you’ve crossed into CR with your parakeets, they can never leave even if you do.

American Samoa: if you go to this U.S. island territory in the South Pacific,—only domestic dogs and cats are allowed, and they’ll have to have at least two rabies vaccinations before travel. (The territory is rabies-free and proud of it.)

Egypt: Even though you’ll have already proved that your pet is in good health on arrival, you’ll need to keep Fido “in your custody” for the first three months in country.

Korea: The rules mirror those of many other countries, but one little detail is good to know. The official health certificate, to be issued by the official country veterinarian before you depart, must be written in Korean or English. No other languages are acceptable.

New Zealand: New Zealand likes permits, even just for dogs and cats. Unless you are coming in from Australia, you’ll need an import permit and your animal will be quarantined for a minimum of ten days. Importantly, certain dog breeds are not allowed entry: the American pit bull terrier, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, and Brazilian Fila will be refused entry.

Vanuatu: In what may be the most restrictive of all the restrictions, pets can enter this archipelago country only from Australia, New Zealand, or the UK.