Why Does Your Pet Need A Pet Passport

Pet Travel Center

No one wants to leave their pet behind when they travel. Especially if the trip is going to be a lengthy one, but if you are traveling abroad, you can’t do it on a whim; it takes advanced preparations. If you are taking your furry friend with you, you will need a passport for your pet as well.

Pet passports are not issued by the government; it is a collection of paperwork you will need to travel with your pet overseas. Having your pet passport will allow you to seamlessly cross international borders without having your pet detained in quarantine. Let’s get into what is required for a pet passport.

What Is A Pet Passport?

For US residents, a pet passport is a collection of documents you will need to get your pet across international borders. Your pet passport contains information about your pet’s health along with copies of their medical and vaccination records. This way, you can quickly cross the border from country to country without being detained or having your animal kept in quarantine. 

For residents of the UK, a pet passport is an actual passport. It even has a picture of the animal on the document. It functions a bit differently than a human passport, but the design and layout are similar. This passport functions as a central location for proving that your pet is properly immunized and healthy enough to cross an international border. These passports are recognized throughout the European Union. This passport is valid for the duration of your pet’s life. 

What Happens If You Don’t Have A Pet Passport When Traveling Internationally?

The biggest risk to your pet is that your animal can be held for quarantine or refused entry into the country. This is especially true in rabies-free countries. If you can’t prove your pet’s health, including rabies blood titers, your pet can be held or denied entry. In some countries, that quarantine is as long as six months! No one wants their animal locked away from them for that long. Do your work ahead of time to prevent this from happening. 

US residents can not get an EU pet passport in the US. If you travel across EU territory for an extended time, you can visit an EU vet to begin the process once you arrive.

Pet Travel Center (pettravelcenter.com)

Required Steps To Take Your Pet On International Trips

First things first: figure out the requirements for the country you will be visiting. Each country has slight variations, and all will have country-specific health certificates. The place to find the info you need is the USDA website

The next thing you need to do is get your pet their EU Health Certificate. Follow these steps to obtain one:

  1. Make sure your pet is microchipped with a 15 digit ISO-compliant microchip. If your pet is already chipped but isn’t compliant, they will have to be chipped a second time.
  2. Make sure your pet has an up-to-date rabies vaccination that will not expire during your trip to the EU.
  3. If your pet has just been administered a rabies vaccine, you must wait 21 days to enter the EU.
  4. After those steps are complete, your vet can fill out your EU pet certificate. Remember, these are country-specific. The vet you use must also be certified by the USDA for the certificate to be valid.
  5. Once the certificate is completed, it must then be endorsed by your local APHIS Veterinary Service office. To find one in your area, please visit their list of endorsed offices.  

Once you have those items, you are ready to take your pet around the European Union. FYI: these steps are only for EU travel. If that isn’t where you are visiting, please check with your destination country to learn their requirements.

When traveling abroad with your pet, make sure to prepare all the necessary paperwork needed in a pet passport. - PetTravelCenter
When traveling abroad with your pet, make sure to prepare all the necessary paperwork needed in a pet passport.


Not everyone can or wants to leave their animal at home when they are on an overseas trip, therefore the right preparation is key! Pet owners taking their animals on an international trip will want to prepare a pet passport for their animals. Countries in the European Union have passports issued to pets with their medical information. US residents can create their own version or something comparable. Check the requirements of the country you are visiting to ensure your pet complies with their regulations, so your pet is not quarantined or denied entry to the country. 

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