What is a Pet Passport? Why do I need one?

Photo by acadmeic

Official passports, tourist passports, visas, movers, car shipping…all big headaches. Just when you think you have it all done, you find one more detail you can’t ignore. You can’t ignore it if you have a pet, that is. You need to apply for a pet passport if you have a fur baby that is part of your family.

So, what is a pet passport?

A pet passport is simply an official record of your pet’s health and immunization records.  It puts all required information in one simple document. After the veterinarian completes the forms, they go to the state agency, which verifies and authenticates the information. Your vet will get the paperwork back an pass it back to you. This paperwork is what you will carry with you when travel.

Why does my cat/dog need a pet passport?

The European Union is in the process of instituting the “Pet Travel Scheme” which is a system which will allow animals to move from country to country will less hassle and red tape. In order to make it easier for country officials to determine that your pet meets the requirements to enter a country, countries began to utilize the pet passport.

In order to enter the EU, your pet will need to meet requirements. The basic requirements include a rabies vaccination less than ten days before entering the country and a microchip which is the European standard rather than the American standard.

Where do I get a pet passport?

Go to your veterinarian to get a pet passport. Vets on military bases may be more familiar with the different country requirements and how to complete the paperwork than local veterinarians who have little experience with importing or exporting animals.

How much does it cost to get a pet passport?

A pet passport will cost you what your vet charges you for the services and the state will charge you for completing the paperwork. (Some vets may charge to fill out the paperwork and notarization.)  If you go online and do a search for “pet passport” you will find companies who would like you to buy their version of a pet passport and add-on the cost of a leather carrying case or some other accessory. These are not necessary. Your vet will still have to fill  out the forms and make sure your pet’s health information is correct on the forms. Save your money and let your veterinarian download the forms from the USDA website!

One more thing to remember…

Make sure your veterinarian is using the most up-to-date regulations when filling out paperwork. Currently, Italy requires people to use a pet-shipping company to bring animals into the country. I know they seem to allow military families to bring their pets into the country if they come on the same flight, but if you wait and have your pet join you later, you will have to pay one of these pet-shipping companies.