Beginner’s Guide to Pet Passports

(CNN)- Not only human beings need a passport to travel.

Fashion designer Valentino had a group of six adorable pugs traveling with him on his private jet. Not only did they all have passports, but they probably had more stamps than any other human traveler.

However, most of the time, “pet passport” is more of a metaphorical term. More than just blue or red booklets with names and photos, pet passports are more of a pile of papers.

And while a passport can allow a human to enter several countries, the requirements for animals to travel vary considerably from continent to continent and from country to country. The process can be expensive and overwhelming, but it’s affordable.

How to start

Beth Schutte is President and CEO of ARK Import Export Center, which operates ARK at JFK, a full-service animal reception and quarantine center located directly on the runway at JFK Airport in New York City. .

Additionally, he is a board member of the International Pet and Animal Transport Association (IPATA).

“The European Union pioneered the practice of pet passports, which allow animals to move more freely with their owners across the European Union and the UK,” says Schutte.

“In countries like Russia or China, you see pet passports, but it’s not really an official document, like a human passport. It’s more of a consolidation of all the information about the animal. The United States does not require a pet passport at all.” “.

Regardless of where you’re from and where you’re traveling or moving, there’s one piece of advice that all pet travel experts agree on: start as early as possible.

Dog trainer and author Bash Dibra, who has worked with famous furry friends like Mariah Carey and Sarah Jessica Parker, thinks it’s never too early to make your pet more comfortable with travel, even over short distances.

“Basically, the first time you get your dog, you have to prepare him for the imaginary trips you’re going to take,” he says. “Cage training leads to proper training for everything else.”

He adds, “Once a dog or cat is crated, it enjoys its environment. You can do this by planning special trips, going in the car, going home on the weekends or visiting friends, or even if you want to take your dog along. at a hotel.

Schutte recommends working with a reputable travel agency that specializes in transporting animals; some of them can be found by consulting the list of IPATA approved companies.

In the meantime, Dibra advises an overwhelmed owner to turn to the local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for a veterinary referral if he doesn’t know where to start.

You should also check to see if your current vet knows the travel rules and consider a visit or two to another vet if not.

Schutte and his colleagues have seen pets being denied boarding for all sorts of minor reasons, like transposing two numbers into a date. In the United States, dates are written the month first, whereas in many other countries they are written the day first and the month second, so “May 10” in the United States becomes the “October 5” in France.

To reduce panic in humans and animals, working with someone who knows the latest documents and restrictions will help reduce stress and ensure everything is in order on D-Day.

In the USA

Transporting animals to the United States is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, better known by its acronym APHIS.

The Department defines “companion animals” as dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, hedgehogs and most classes of reptiles, amphibians and rodents. These animals must belong to an individual and not be intended for scientific experiments or for resale.

There is an important exception to the pet guidelines. If you have a pet bird, you will need to provide additional information to a veterinarian located in an authorized port. The Ministry of Fisheries and Wildlife may also be required to intervene. More details here.

The APHIS website has helpful information about transporting animals in and out of the country, as well as between states and territories, as places like Hawaii and Puerto Rico have regulations. more stringent.

There are occasional exceptions to the rules in an emergency; for example, currently animals brought from Ukraine can have their documentation in order more quickly due to the situation there.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific guidelines for pets traveling by plane.

If you are in the continental United States, it is quite easy to travel with your pet by car.
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in the European Union

One of the advantages of the European Union is that travel is quite easy for humans and their pets within these countries.

The best thing to do is make sure your pet – defined in the EU as a dog, cat or ferret – is up to date on their rabies vaccinations and have these documents with you just in case. you would cross a border.

European Union pet passports can only be issued by licensed veterinarians in EU member countries. Those from the UK, USA or other countries are not accepted.

Any pet entering the EU from a foreign country must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and over 12 weeks old.

If you are from the United States, you will need to complete the Appendix II form issued by APHIS.

Airlines have different policies on whether or not pets can travel in the cabin with their owners – size and breed play a part. Be sure to do your research before booking tickets.


Due to Brexit, which means the UK is no longer part of the European Union, there are now different requirements for bringing a pet into the country. These rules apply to England, Scotland and Wales and not Northern Ireland, which has its own policies described here.

Cats, dogs and ferrets traveling as pets in the UK must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and have a valid passport or health certificate. Dogs should also be dewormed before travelling.

Also, some breeds of dogs – like pit bulls and Japanese tosas – are totally off limits.

Being an island, the UK strictly enforces its animal transport regulations. If you do not complete the paperwork correctly or do not bring the correct documents, your pet may be denied boarding, confiscated upon arrival and forced to spend up to four months in quarantine.

Please follow UK government guidelines carefully – you can find them here.

The UK is also streamlining the process of transporting pets from Ukraine.

In Australia

In Australia, the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) manages animal movement criteria and classifies countries into three different groups.

The first two groups are mainly made up of neighboring countries and Pacific islands, while the third group includes most EU member countries, many Caribbean islands, Canada and the United States.

Cats and dogs – no other animals – from authorized countries are allowed to enter as pets, but will be subject to a 10-day quarantine at the Mickleham Post-Entry Quarantine Center in Melbourne.

It is not enough to arrive in the country. You will need to obtain a reservation for your pet at Mickleham and pay the necessary fees for their care. It starts with an import fee of AUS$1,200 (US$894).

Quarantine protocols are very strict. As tempting as it may be to send your dog or cat to Mickleham with their favorite toy, it will be destroyed on arrival due to contamination. The food is also selected by the establishment, so if your pet has specific needs, be sure to let Mickleham know in advance.

If your country is not on the list of approved countries, you will need to arrange transport via a third country.

Beyond the Paperwork

Even if your pet doesn’t need a “passport” right now, you can start thinking about the future by buying or organizing things that he will need later.

The Dibra dog trainer prefers crates for most dogs, although smaller ones that can fly in the cabin (or the back of the car) with their owners can fit in smaller carriers. As for cats, he recommends plastic cages, which he says are “stronger and safer”, especially in an emergency.

Our colleagues at CNN Underscored have compiled a list of the best carrier brands for traveling with pets.

In addition to buying new things, you also have to keep the old ones. the toys and snacks Favorites are essential for travel, and many pets find comfort with a familiar-smelling item, like a stuffed animal or their owner’s t-shirt, in their travel crate.

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