Rules on entering the European Union (EU) with dogs, cats and ferrets
The rules of Regulation (EU) no. 576/2013 have applied to the entry with dogs, cats and ferrets from non-EU countries (so-called third countries) since 29 December 2014. These regulations aim to provide protection against the introduction and spread of rabies.
The requirements regarding the animal health status are, in principle, based on the rabies situation both in the third country of origin and in the Member State of destination within the EU. A maximum of 5 of these pets may be carried per person. The animals must not be intended to be given to a new owner.
By way of derogation, the maximum number of 5 pets may be exceeded if the animals are being moved for the purpose of participating in competitions, shows and sporting events or of training for such events (not for trading purposes). These animals must be at least 6 months old and evidence in writing must be provided that they have been registered for one of the above-mentioned events.
In all other cases the rules for trade in animals apply. For more detailed information, please refer to theOrdinance on Intra-Community Movement, Import and Transit of Live Animals and Products (Ordinance on Disease Control).
In Germany, the federal states (supreme veterinary authorities of the Länder) are in charge of implementing and monitoring this EU Regulation.
Preconditions for entry to the EU
Dogs, cats and ferrets from Andorra, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City must be accompanied by a pet passport that meets the requirements of Annex III, Parts 3 and 4 of the implementing Regulation (EU) no. 577/2013.
It must be possible to clearly assign this pet passport to the respective animal, i.e. it must be possible to identify the animal by tattoo or microchip and the identification number must be entered in the passport. Since 3 July 2011, micro-chipping has been mandatory for newly identified animals. The pet passport also needs to certify valid anti-rabies protection.
If the animals come from third countries listed in Annex II Part 2 of the implementing Regulation (EC) no. 577/2013, the following conditions apply:
- Every animal needs to be identified by a clearly readable tattoo or by a microchip (this has been mandatory for newly identified animals since 3 July 2011, Technical requirements for transponders
(PDF, 31KB, File does not meet accessibility standards) ) and
- proof of valid immunisation against rabies must be furnished in the animal health certificate. At all events, care must be taken that the vaccination must not be performed before attaching the microchip in order to guarantee that the rabies vaccination can be clearly and unmistakably attributed to the animal. The period of validity of vaccine protection is based on the information provided by the manufacturer. If in doubt, please ask your veterinarian. A primary vaccination must be administered at least 21 days before the border is crossed.
- Entry is conditional on the animals being accompanied by a person responsible for the animals. The accompanying person must provide a declaration in writing stating that the animal's movement is not intended for sale or a change of hands.
- Entry may only be made in a direct manner. If the animals pass through non-listed countries during transportation, the keeper or his agent must certify in a self-declaration that the animal did not have any contact with animals susceptible to rabies in transit and that it did not leave the means of transport or the airport.
If the country of origin is not listed and the rabies situation there and its monitoring is thus unclear or alarming, the following conditions also apply:
- Prior to entry, the animals must be subjected to a blood test for antibodies against rabies. The blood sampling must have been performed at least 30 days after vaccination and at least three months before entry.
The blood sample must be taken by a veterinarian who is authorised for this purpose in the respective third country. The blood test itself must be performed in a laboratory approved by the European Commission (Annex I of Commission Decision 2004/233/EC).
List of laboratories authorised to perform rabies tests in the Member States and in the third countrie
It is recommended to get in touch with the laboratory concerned beforehand in order to agree on the conditions for the dispatch of the blood sample. If the vaccination intervals as set down by the vaccine manufacturers have been observed after the blood test, it is not necessary to repeat the blood test.
- The three-month period prior to entry does not apply to the re-entry of pets from a non-listed third country into the EU if the accompanying EU pet passport shows that the blood sample was taken before this animal left the Community territory and that sufficient antibodies to rabies were detected in the blood analysis.
The above-mentioned conditions governing entry must be documented in an animal health certificate that is issued by an officially authorised veterinarian (the Chinese veterinary authorities require that the animal health certificate is in the Chinese language). In addition, the traveller must carry supporting documents such as a vaccination certificate or a document furnishing proof of the results of the blood test.
Entry is conditional on the animals being accompanied by a person responsible for the animals. The accompanying person must provide a declaration in writing stating that the movement of the animal is not intended for sale or a change of ownership.
Please note that all pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) always have their documents and identity checked when entering/re-entering the EU from a non-EU country. The accompanying person must register the animal with the customs authority for this purpose. Pets from third countries must enter the country via an airport or port that appears in the "List of points of entry to the Federal Republic of Germany". Exempted from this provision are pets from Andorra, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and the Vatican City State.
Ban on entry and transit with puppies/kitten under 15 weeks of age
Puppies may only be imported into Germany or pass through Germany in transit with adequate vaccine protection against rabies. In this context, a distinction is made between animals coming from a listed third country and from a non-listed third country.
If the puppies come from a listed third country, they may be imported into Germany at the age of 15 weeks at the earliest (rabies vaccination after 12 weeks + 21 days to develop immunity).
Young animals from non-listed third countries are eligible for import at the age of 7 months at the earliest (rabies vaccination after 12 weeks + blood sample 30 days after vaccination + a waiting period of 3 months).
The following table shows the list of points of entry to the Federal Republic of Germany according to Article 34(3) of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council of 12 June 2013 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals and repealing Regulation (EC) No 998/2003.
|Federal states||Airports||Ports||Address of the supreme Land authority competent for veterinary matters|
|Baden-Wuerttemberg||Stuttgart||no port||Ministerium für Ernährung und Ländlichen Raum|
(Ministry of Food and Rural Areas)
|no port||Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Gesundheit (StMUG)|
(Bavarian State Ministry for Environment and Health)
|Berlin||Berlin-Tegel||no port||Senatsverwaltung für Justiz und|
(Senate Department for Justice and Consumer Protection)
Salzburger Strasse 21-25
|Brandenburg||Berlin-Schönefeld||no port||Ministerium der Justiz und für Europa und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Brandenburg|
(Ministry for Justice, Europe and Consumer Protection of the Land of Brandenburg)
|Freie Hansestadt Bremen|
(Free Hanseatic City of Bremen)
Die Senatorin für Wissenschaft, Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz
(Senator for Science, Health and Consumer Protection)
|Hamburg||Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel||Hamburg||Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg|
(Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg)
Behörde für Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz
(Authority for Health and Consumer Protection)
|Hesse||Frankfurt am Main||no port||Hessisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Klimaschutz, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz|
(Hessian Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection)
Mainzer Straße 80
|Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania||Rostock-Laage||Ministerium für Landwirtschaft, Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz Mecklenburg-Vorpommern|
(Ministry for Agriculture, Environment and Consumer Protection of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania)
Paulshöher Weg 1
|Lower Saxony||Hannover-Langenhagen||no port||Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz|
(Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of Lower Saxony)
Calenberger Straße 2
|no port||Ministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz|
(Ministry of Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature and Consumer Protection)
of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia
|no port||Ministerium für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Ernährung, Weinbau und Forsten des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz|
(Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture, Food, Viticulture and Forestry of the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate)
Postfach 31 60
|Saarland||Saarbrücken||no port||Ministerium für Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz|
(Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection)
|no port||Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Soziales und Verbraucherschutz|
(State Ministry for Social Affairs and Consumer Protection of Saxony)
|Schleswig-Holstein||Kiel-Holtenau||no port||Ministerium für Energiewende, Landwirtschaft, Umwelt und ländliche Räume des Landes Schleswig-Holstein|
(Ministry of the Energy Turnaround, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas of the Land of Schleswig-Holstein)
|Thuringia||Erfurt-Weimar||no port||Thüringer Ministerium für Arbeit, Soziales, Gesundheit, Frauen und Familie|
(Thuringian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health, Women and Family)