It isn’t impossible that someone someday will ask me about moving to Europe, although probably they’ll be using me as an example of how not to do things. Since these days I am hard put to remember my name (be fair – I have about 5, I use 3 different ones just for my books) I shall track my findings on the blog, under the category TRAVELS, tagged ‘travel advice’.
UPDATED COMMENT – no-one cared at the border whether the animals had passports or not. The ONLY time you need them is if returning to UK. If your move is long-term, especially if your pets are elderly, you probably don’t need them.
NB – always worth checking the regulations as they have changed from what they were and Brexit means they will likely change again. As at July 2017, here we go
- The pet must be in good health, because a healthy immune system is essential. Age of a full-grown adult pet doesn’t matter, state of health does.
- All those expensive boosters you’ve scrupulously kept up to date all these years? Forget them. No-one cares. The only record that matters on the passport is the rabies shot.
- The rabies vaccine needs 28 days. Despite this, passports can be issued, and the pet can travel, 21 days after the vaccination, without a further blood test. That’s one of the big changes and many vets don’t approve; it could well change again. For your own peace of mind, allow 28 days, especially if your pet is tetchy and argumentative with strange animals.
- If your pet isn’t looking well, even just has the sniffles, it will not be given the shot. You’ll be sent away, to try again in a week. A strong immune system is essential for activating the vaccine.
- The passports will be issued during the waiting period. Photographic likeness is not required. Instead, the pet’s chip will be read and put on the passport, so you can’t get a passport for an un-chipped pet. The cost for the microchip is around £15.
- Once issued, the passport is valid for a year. If you get the rabies booster done before the year is up, the passport is valid for a further 3 years (another change from before, when it was 2 and 2).
- The price hurts a bit – £175 per pet. They’re worth it, but I will not be impressed if either cocks their toes up just afterwards. (Update – As nobody at any point asked to see them, and I wasn’t planning to return, 350 quid down the drain.)
Pity the Customs officer trying to scan my xenophobic paranoid dog’s ear when she’s at best a testy traveller, but we’ll manage somehow. I just hope that she passes the physical, rising 12 is geriatric for an English bulldog but her Frenchie half does keep her bouncy.
Ever researching on your behalf
Final updated comment: and as I said above, do check as regulations could change: if you do want to return to the UK, there is currently a further inoculation which has to be done 48 hours or more before your return. Since I was told I couldn’t leave the country without passports, and that was totally wrong, I have no idea how strictly they monitor the returning pet. However, British bureaucracy being what it is, assume the worst and check for the latest regulations. If you get a pet in Europe and want to take it to the UK, you will have to do the rabies vaccine thing and I would suggest 28 days in advance, to be on the safe side.