Pet Passports & Registering Pets In France
Welcome to September!! Can’t quite believe that summer is almost over. Where did the time go?? We’ll start this month with one of my practical posts. Enjoy…
So you traveled to Europe with your pet! Now what?
If you came from outside the EU and made it into the country that means you did all the right things before you moved over. From USA you would have gotten your pet ISO microchipped & vaxed (>21 days beforehand), gotten the formal Health Certificate (within 10 days of travel) & had it endorsed by the USDA (right before leaving). If you did all this you’ll have breezed through customs and will now be legally in Europe. Does that mean your furry family can now travel the continent like a local?
Well…not quite yet…..
It turns your pet can’t just roam around here on your International Health Certificate indefinitely. You only have 4 months to travel within Europe on that certificate after your entry date. In addition, if you’re settling in France you’ll also need to get your fur babies registered, and that actually has to happen within 3 months of arrival. So there’s a little extra work involved before your pets become paw-loose and fancy free Europeans.
Thankfully we’ve been through the whole process for you, so we have all the juicy little details to share. Here you go…
Getting A European Pet Passport
If you’re planning to do any kind of longer-term travel around Europe, you’re definitely going to want to get your pets a European Pet Passport.
As I mentioned above, if you arrived here from a non-EU country, the Health Certificate (= specifically the form for Annex IV, Part 1 of Regulation no. 577/2013) that you got before you left your home country will allow your pet to travel around Europe with you for up to 4 months, as long as you are legal to do so yourself (don’t forget those human European visa restrictions too!).
However if you plan to come to Europe regularly, or travel here for longer than 4 months, you’ll need to exchange that Health Certificate for a proper European Pet Passport. It’s a snazzy document that’s inexpensive to get and makes European travel SUPER easy!!
What Is A Pet Passport? It’s a little human-passport-sized booklet that identifies your pet and records all their important medical details. It is separated into 11 separate sections, the first 7 of which are the most critical:
- Sections I & II list owner and pet details including your name & address, plus pet name, breed, birth date, sex and coloring. In French pet passports there is only space for 2 owners, but in other countries there may be space for more. A picture of your pet is optional and something you can paste in yourself after-the-fact.
- Section III lists identifying ISO microchip information (incl. number & implantation date), or identifying tattoos (only valid if given prior to July 3, 2011). This section is sealed under a permanent plastic film after it’s been filled out, so it cannot be altered or tampered with.
- Section IV lists the name and details of the EU vet who delivered the passport.
- Section V lists rabies vaccination history, a requirement for all pets no matter where you go in Europe.
- Section VI is for rabies titres (only required to/from certain countries)
- Section VII is for echinococcus treatment (= canine tapeworm, only required in dogs for entry into certain countries such as UK, Finland, Ireland, Wales and Norway)
What Does It Do? Once you get your furry family a pet passport, they can travel freely between member countries under the Pet Travel Scheme (“PETS”) without having to undergo quarantine. And they can do it for as long as their rabies vaccinations (always required) and any additional entry treatments (e.g. canine tapeworm or rabies titres, required for certain countries) are kept up-to-date. So basically it’s a life-long, unlimited European-wide travel pass for your pet!
Which Countries Are Part Of The PETS Scheme? In Europe, all countries accept Pet Passports including Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the Vatican. In addition there are more than 15 countries outside of Europe (including USA, Australia and Japan!) that participate in the scheme.
Which Types Of Pets Can Get One? They’re currently only delivered for dogs, cats and ferrets. So, if you’re traveling with your pet salamander you’ll have to research the appropriate documentation route for each country.
Where Do You Get One? Any authorized veterinarian in Europe can deliver one for you. Just call up and ask them if they do it.
What Does It Cost? It depends where you get it done! You’ll likely need to pay the vet a consultation fee and then the cost of the passport itself which can vary anywhere from EUR 20-60 depending on the country and vet. In addition, if any supplemental vaccinations or treatments are needed, that cost will be added on-top.
Our Experience Getting French Pet Passports:
We took our pets in to see a local vet within the first few months of our arrival into France. We brought along our official US-issued Health Certificates, as well as our US rabies vaccination documents (which we had the foresight to get signed and stamped by the vet in Florida -> this came in handy).
Snag #1: Our local vet is a small practice in a rural area of France, so they’d never actually seen an international Health Certificate like the one we had from USA, and were initially quite skeptical of it. It was only after I showed them the official instruction form (PDF) from the Ministere De L’Agriculture for the importation of domestic animals to France from non-EU countries (which shows a copy of the Health Certificate, annexe IV du règlement 577/2013 on page 5) that they agreed to accept it. So if you’re going to a rural vet like us, print that document out and bring it with you!
Snag #2: Once #1 was overturned they were happy to give us a French Pet Passport, but were then reluctant to fill out the required rabies vaccination (section V of the passport) because the vax had been done by a vet in the USA and not by them. It was only thanks to the very formal looking rabies receipt from my US vet (yes, that stamp & signature really helped), topped with some hearty persuasion on my part that they eventually agreed to include the information (without re-vaxing our pets), just without any stamp or signature from their side. This means we will have to travel with the passport AND the rabies cert from our US vet (as back-up), at least until the next rabies vax is due, but IMO that’s not a big deal.
When I got home I printed out pictures to paste into the passport, and it was done!
Total cost? EUR 20 for the visit + EUR 20 for the passport.
Getting Pets Registered In France
If you’re settling with your pets in France over the longer-term, an additional and very important step that you need to complete is to get your pets officially registered with I-CAD (Identification Des Carnivores Domestiques). This is part of is the Ministere De L’Agriculture and is the official, centralized database for all domestic pets in France.
It’s Actually a Legal Requirement. If you’re importing an animal into France from another country, and plan to stay here longer than 3 months, you are supposed to complete this registration within 3 months (and 7 days, if you want to be exact) of arrival. Not everyone is aware of this requirement, and if you ask around on forums you might get conflicting views about it, but if you dig deep enough into the various official French documents (like THIS one) you’ll find it.
It’s Also WELL Worth It! I-CAD not only identifies you as the owner of your pet, but also registers their microchip information online, so that if your pet is ever lost & scanned (which is required by law any time an unidentified animal is brought into a vet here in France), you can be located immediately.
Which Types of Pets Can Be Registered? Only cats, dogs and ferrets can be registered with I-CAD. Sorry, pet salamanders, you’re out of luck yet again…
What Information Is Recorded? All pertinent details such as owner info & address/phone, pet breed, coloring, age, sex etc. are included in the registration as well as the pet 15-digit ISO microchip number, or identifying tattoo (only valid if given prior to July 3, 2011).
How Do You Register Your Pet? You’ll need to go to your local French vet to get the necessary paperwork. They will fill out, sign & stamp the registration form for you. You’ll then have 1 month to get it mailed to I-CAD together with a copy of your pets Health Certificate, proof of rabies vax, and a small, but precise payment (EUR 9.23 at current print). Around 3 weeks or so later you should get a formal letter back from I-CAD which will confirm that your pet has been registered. The letter will list their ID details, give you an online password (for access to your pets’ ID account on i-cad.fr), and will also include a detachable identification card (at the bottom) that you can carry around with you.
Our Experience Getting French Pet Registration:
This was super easy. We got the I-CAD documents started during the same visit that we got our pet passports, so we were only charged one consultation fee. The vet took a day to fill them out, I picked them up the following morning and then I simply mailed them togther with the required support docs & payment to I-CAD. Exactly 3 weeks later we got our three ID cards in the post. Easy peasy!
Total Cost? EUR 20 for I-CAD docs from vet + EUR 9.23 I-CAD registration fee + EUR 6.35 to send the docs via registered post