Travelling to France with a pet

Travelling to France with a pet

If you arrive in France with your cat or dog (or ferret), from a country within the European Union or outside it, you must follow certain health requirements. You must obtain a European pet passport. Certain dangerous dogs are prohibited in France. Customs controls can be carried out and penalties are provided for violations.

From within the European Union

From 1 to 5 animals

If the number of animals is less than or equal to 5, they are subject to an identity check by the customs of the country of entry

More than 5 animals

If it is greater than 5, a check is carried out by the veterinary services of the border control in an approved facility. Since there are some airports with facilities you may face additional constraints, such as the need to quarantine the animals.

Dangerous dogs

You are not allowed to bring category 1 attack dogs to France.

 The entry of category 2 guard dogs is allowed subject to compliance with specific rules for dogs likely to be dangerous.

Domesticated Birds

Entry conditions for pet birds in the EU have been increased due to cases of avian influenza (highly contagious infectious disease) in several non-European countries. You must present a health certificate attesting either a quarantine, screening or a vaccination against the avian influenza H5.

Mandatory steps

Identification of the animal

Before July 3, 2011

Your pet must be identifiable:

  • either by a micro-chip or an electronic chip (transponder) implanted under his skin, or
  • a readable tattoo.

Identification must always be done before vaccination to be recognized as valid.

Note: It is your responsibility to provide proof that the tattoo was done before July 3, 2011.

After July 3, 2011

  • Your pet must have a microchip or an electronic chip (transponder) implanted under the skin. Tattoo alone is not enough.
  • The alphanumeric identification code must be the same as the one on the passport.

Identification must always be done before vaccination to be recognized as valid.

Note: The microchip or microchip (transponder) must comply with the ISO 11784 standard or ISO 11785 Annex A.  If the chip does not meet one of those standards, you will need to provide a reader that can.

Passport

The animal must have a European pet passport.

This passport is provided and completed by an authorised veterinarian in the country of origin. The European Pet Passport is unique. It makes it possible to ensure identification of the animal and prove that the rabies vaccination is up to date.

Note: The European Pet Passport can also be used for travel from one of the following countries: Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican.

Vaccination

All pets must be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccination (primary vaccination and recalls) must be valid. 

Dogs, cats and ferrets, less than 3 months old and not vaccinated against rabies cannot enter France.

Note: In the case of a first vaccination, it will be valid after 21 days. But this delay may be more in some countries.

Controls and sanctions

The customs services can check that the pet meets the mandatory health conditions at any time while in France, for example during a routine traffic control.

Airlines (and other carriers) may also ask you for proof of the mandatory health conditions.

In case of violation of the regulations, you will be obliged, at your own expense, to either:

  • return of your animal to its country of origin,
  • to quarantine the animal, or
  • put the animal down.

From a country outside the EU

From 1 to 5 animals

If the number of animals is less than or equal to 5, they are subject to an identity check by the customs of the country of entry

More than 5 animals

If it is greater than 5, a check is carried out by the veterinary services of the border control in an approved facility. Since there are some airports with facilities you may face additional constraints, such as the need to quarantine the animals.

Dangerous dogs

You are not allowed to bring category 1 attack dogs to France.

 The entry of category 2 guard dogs is allowed subject to compliance with specific rules for dogs likely to be dangerous.

Domesticated Birds

Entry conditions for pet birds in the EU have been increased due to cases of avian influenza (highly contagious infectious disease) in several non-European countries. You must present a health certificate attesting either a quarantine, screening or a vaccination against the avian influenza H5.

Mandatory steps

Identification of the animal

Before July 3, 2011

Your pet must be identifiable:

  • either by a micro-chip or an electronic chip (transponder) implanted under his skin, or
  • a readable tattoo.

Identification must always be done before vaccination to be recognized as valid.

Note: It is your responsibility to provide proof that the tattoo was done before July 3, 2011.

After July 3, 2011

  • Your pet must have a microchip or an electronic chip (transponder) implanted under the skin. Tattoo alone is not enough.
  • The alphanumeric identification code must be the same as the one on the passport.

Identification must always be done before vaccination to be recognized as valid.

Note: The microchip or microchip (transponder) must comply with the ISO 11784 standard or ISO 11785 Annex A.  If the chip does not meet one of those standards, you will need to provide a reader that can.

Passport

It all depends on the country in which you live.

It is strongly recommended to check with your embassy or consulate.

Note: The European Pet Passport can also be used for travel from one of the following countries: Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican.

First Visit to France

All pets must:

  • be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccination (primary vaccination and recalls) must be valid. 
  • Dogs, cats and ferrets, less than 3 months old and not vaccinated against rabies cannot be introduced in France.

Note: In the case of a first vaccination, it is considered valid after 21 days. But this delay may be more in some countries.

The animal will have to undergo a blood test for anti-rabies antibodies. The results of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful (rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).   It must be carried out in a laboratory approved by the European Union at least 30 days after vaccination of the animal.  You must wait 3 months from the date the blood sample was taken before you travel.

Note: Some countries are exempt from blood test. Enquire before carrying out any administrative procedure.

The animal must be accompanied by the original of the valid health certificate drawn up by the approved veterinarian of the country of origin. It must be attached to the documents relating to the rabies vaccination, the animal identification and the blood test result. This certificate is valid 4 months after the date of its signature.

It is strongly recommended to start the formalities at least 4 months before the date of import of the animal.

Note: In France there are conditions for importing animal blood samples. You should inform your attending veterinarian. Similarly, the country of origin of the animal may set conditions for the export of biological samples. Check with the appropriate authorities in your country of residence.

An Animal returning to France

All pets must:

  • be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccination (primary vaccination and recalls) must be valid. 
  • In the case of a first vaccination it is considered valid after 21 days
  • Dogs, cats and ferrets, less than 3 months old and not vaccinated against rabies cannot be introduced in France
  • and have undergone a blood test for anti-rabies antibodies. This examination makes it possible to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccination of the animal against rabies. It must be carried out in a laboratory approved by the European Union at least 30 days after the vaccination of the animal.

The health certificate (valid) can be replaced by the European passport of the animal. This certificate is valid 4 months after the date of its signature.

Note: In the case of an animal returning to the European Union, it is not necessary that the blood test be carried out at least 3 months before the animal is travels. The result of the blood test must be positive before the animal left the European Union. In this case, the result of blood test will be valid throughout the life of the animal. However, vaccination against rabies must have been kept up to date.

It is strongly recommended to start the formalities at least 4 months before the date of import of the animal.

Warning:

Do not wait until the last moment to vaccinate your pet.

Controls and sanctions

The customs services can check that the pet meets the mandatory health conditions at any time while in France, for example during a routine traffic control.

Airlines (and other carriers) may also ask you for proof of the mandatory health conditions.

In case of violation of the regulations, you will be obliged, at your own expense, to either:

  • return of your animal to its country of origin,
  • to quarantine the animal, or
  • put the animal down.

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