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Relocating with Pets


Virginie Le Baler


January 03, 2023


08:27 AM

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Congrats, you’ve obtained the job of your dreams abroad! Whether it is your first mobility or you are a regular, an expatriation is always a moment of great solicitation since many aspects must be anticipated and managed: immigration, taxation, social security, moving, finding housing and / or school for children, not to mention the professional and personal questions that it implies.

And with all that, what about Oscar the cat, Pitbull the chihuaha or Peanut the ferret? In this article, Oui Immigration gives you some important tips to deal with global mobility for pets!

1. Plan Ahead if you are relocating with pets.

As usual with any topic related to global mobility, anticipation is key, even for your pets!

Some formal documents will have to be obtained in advance via your vet, others will have to be translated/legalized and some vaccines or treatments, including rabies or deworming, must be carried out within a specific time before the departure date.

Anticipate these steps at least 2 months before your arrival in the country!

2. Check the legislation of the host country for updated information on moving with pets.

Domestic animals are generally considered dogs, cats, ferrets, domestic rodents and rabbits, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Specific rules for certain birds and category 1 or 2 dogs apply.

Each country has a specific jurisdiction regarding the transport of pets depending on the species, breed and age of your companion.

Generally, the minimum requirements are as follows:

  • Identification by electronic chip (the tattoo remains allowed if it was made before 03/07/2021 and is legible)
  • Possession of the identification passport issued by a veterinarian
  • Vaccination against rabies (this is possible when the animal is more than 3 months old, and only takes effect 3 weeks later) & up-to-date reminders from an EU-validated laboratory
  • An international health/health certificate issued by a veterinarian
  • You can obtain country-specific information from the Consulate of the country concerned, or from the customs website of that country.

If you are moving to France with your pet, here are a few useful sites:

Voyager avec un animal de l’étranger (non UE) vers la France – Mes Démarches

Animaux de compagnie | Portail de la Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects

Coming to France with your pet | Portail de la Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects

Relocate to Europe, Switzerland, UK or Norway with your Pet!

For EU countries’ specific information and regulations you can visit the following website:

3. Private & Public Transport Restrictions and Regulations for Traveling and Moving with Pets

It is also important that you check the airline’s or railway’s specific conditions. Not all airlines accept pets on board or as cargo, and conditions vary from one company to another: documents, travel conditions, transport box, etc. Companies manage the transport of pets according to specific IATA standards that must be respected, at the risk of not being able to board your pet.

It is recommended to validate 72 hours before your trip that the transport of your companion has been taken into account by the airline.

4. Quarantine regulations for pets.

Quarantine is the act of placing the animal in isolation to verify that it does not have a contagious disease. The majority of countries no longer impose quarantines on animals. Nevertheless, this varies greatly depending on the destination and the country of departure. Some stricter countries when it comes to quarantine are Australia, New Zealand, Singapore or New Caledonia.

The quarantine is usually about ten days, and requires providing specific documents that need to be translated/legalized – this can take some time.

5. Notify your immigration/relocation expert.

Customs procedures must be carried out so that your pet follows you on your journey. If you use a relocation agency, they must be notified that an animal is accompanying you – the same goes for your immigration specialist, since it is likely that your work/residence permit is required to clear your pet through customs in certain countries.

Note that there are companies specializing in the international mobility of your animals: they will be of great help to you.

For everything related to the translation/legalization of documents for the trip of your furry, feathery or tortoiseshell friend, get in touch 👉 Contact Virginia Le Baler, a global mobility expert based in France offering U.S. immigration services.

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