A pet passport is a document, like a normal passport, which has all the details of your pet and is linked to the 'microchip' inserted in your pet. It has details of all the vaccinations that have been given to your pet. In addition, it is a written proof that your pet has received the rabies vaccination. Your dog, cat or ferret can get the pet passport to travel across the European Union. It makes traveling with your pet hassle free as this single document has all the information about your pet and is accepted across all the *member states of the European Union.
Below are some steps that will guide you, as to how you need to go about getting a passport for your pet:
Step 1: Microchip
A microchip is a small rice grain sized chip, which has a unique identification number; it can be easily fitted by a veterinarian after which it is included in the national database. Make sure that the microchip meets ISO standards or else you will have to buy a separate reader and carry it along with you each time. The passport is valid only as long as it can be double checked by the microchip, the passport is useless if the microchip cannot be read.
Step 2: Vaccination
After your pet has been microchipped, you need to get the vaccination against rabies; in general, it must be done at least 30 days and not more than 12 months before departure. Any vaccination that was given before the microchip was inserted, will not be counted and you will have to vaccinate your pet again.
Step 3: Blood Test
After the vaccination, your pet will have to undergo a test, to check whether the vaccination has worked. It checks if the antibodies produced by the pet's immune system offer it enough protection against rabies. Make sure you collect a copy of the result. After the vaccination is complete and successful and you have the results of the test, you can apply for the passport.
Step 4: Passport
Get an authorized veterinarian to complete the EU Form 998 for the country you are going to. This form must be then certified by a State USDA veterinarian, you can either take it to them or mail it. If you wish to make any inquiries regarding the procedure, you can contact the APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) or the VS (Veterinary Services) area office in your state. They can also be contacted regarding getting your pets to U.S. There is a fee that you will have to pay for the certification. A pet passport will have the following information:
- Pet's date of birth
- Date of Rabies vaccination and the date till which it is valid
- Microchip number, date of injection and location where it was inserted
You may be required to attach the rabies certificate to the form. Since, rules vary in each country, it is advisable to get a general health certificate from your veterinarian. The health certificate must give details of vaccination and state that your pet is overall healthy and fit to travel and must be in English or in the language of the country that you are visiting. In some countries, it is mandatory to get your pet treated for fleas, ticks and tapeworm about 24-48 hours before departure.
The passport is valid for the pet's lifetime. However, ensure you get your pet vaccinated from time to time. You can save a lot of time during immigration if the pet passport is complete and meets all the requirements of the country you are visiting. The requirement of each country differs, hence it is important you get information from a travel agency or the country's embassy to ensure a trouble free travel with your pet.
*Member States of the European Union - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.