Pets: Cats, Dogs and Ferrets
Do you plan to travel with your pet(s) from the United States to Germany (up to five per person) and need specific information about regulations and procedures? Below you will find basic information about various possible scenarios:
Please note our disclaimer.
1. Accompanied Noncommercial Movement of Pets (Cats, Dogs, and Ferrets)
The provisions of Regulation (EU) No. 576/2013 apply to entering the country with dogs, cats, and ferrets. The aim of this provision is to guard against the introduction or spread of rabies.
a) Number of Pets
The animals must be accompanied by a responsible person in order to be able to enter the country. Each person may travel with no more than five pets (dogs, cats, ferrets). The animals may not change ownership in the country.
If this is not the case, the provisions for trade in animals under Directive 92/65/EC apply.
The maximum number of five pets may be exceeded if the animals are being brought into the country for the purpose of participating in competitions, exhibitions, or sporting events or to train for such events (no change in ownership). The animals must be at least six months old and the traveler must have written proof that the animals are registered for the cited events.
b) Microchip Identification
As of July 3, 2011, a microchip is mandatory for animals being identified for the first time. If the animal was tattooed prior to this date, a microchip is not required so long as the tattoo is still legible. The animal must be distinctly identifiable and assignable to the owner. The number of the microchip or the tattoo must be noted in the pet ID or in the veterinary certificate.
c) Valid Rabies Vaccination
For every animal, proof of a valid rabies vaccination must be entered in the animal ID or in the veterinary certificate. The vaccination’s period of validity will be based on the manufacturer’s information (Consult with your veterinarian for further information). If the animal is being vaccinated for the first time, this initial vaccination must occur at least 21 days before the border crossing. If the animal is being vaccinated again after expiration of the period of validity of the last vaccination, this is treated as a first-time vaccination.
The animal must be identified prior to receiving the rabies vaccination.
d) Entry or Transit through Germany from the U.S.
or a Third Country Listed in Annex II, Part 2 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 577/2013
The traveler must carry a health certificate for the animal in accordance with Annex IV of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 577/2013
In addition to information about the animal and its owner, the pet ID or the veterinary certificate must contain veterinary proof that that animal has a valid vaccination against rabies. The accompanying person must submit a written declaration stating that the animal is not being brought into the country to be sold or change owners. The animal may be imported through direct channels only. If non-listed third countries are being transited during the transport, the handler or authorized person must confirm in a personal declaration that the animal was not exposed to any rabies-susceptible animals and did not leave the mode of transport or the airport.
e) Helpful Tips and Links
After you have completed the form, please forward it together with the required documents (e.g. vaccination certificate) to the USDA/APHIS Veterinary Services Area Office for final endorsement.
Further information about live animal export requirements including a list of Veterinary Services centers in your area can be found on the USDA website.
Please also contact your airline for information about their specific regulations. Generally, the airlines will require an international health certificate, which must be issued no more than 10 days prior to travel and endorsed by your regional veterinary services area office.
If you enter Europe through a country other than Germany, please contact that country’s embassy in the United States.
Further information can be found on the website of the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
2. Unaccompanied/Commercial Movement of Pets (Cats, Dogs, and Ferrets)
The provisions of Directive 92/65/EC, Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003 and Regulation (EC) No.1/2005 apply to the import of dogs, cats and ferrets for commercial purposes.
The following sample applies to the health certificate for animals entering the country unaccompanied or for more than five animals entering the country:
Since a clinical examination of the pet that has to be performed within 24 hours of movement of the pet, the following procedure is suggested to ensure complete paperwork:
1. Present the pet, along with the form, proof of the last rabies vaccination and proof of the microchip, to a federally accredited veterinarian.
2. Find your regional veterinary services area office here to make an appointment within 24 hours prior to travel:
3. Present the pet and the proper form, along with the required documents (e.g. vaccination certificate), to a federally accredited veterinarian to perform the required clinical examination within 24 hours prior to travel. The veterinarian must sign the form.
The rabies vaccination must occur after identity of the pet has been established.
Please also contact your airline about specific airline regulations.
You will also need to provide:
- a transport documentation, (origin and ownership of the animals, place of departure, date and time of departure, expected duration of the journey)
- a feeding regime
There is no special form for the feeding regime and the transport documentation. All you need to do is to prepare
- a document labeled “VERSORGUNGSPLAN” (German for ‘feeding regime’) at the top of the page and then list the animal’s food and environmental needs, e.g. temperature and
- a document labeled “TRANSPORTPAPIERE” (German for “transport documentation”) with the necessary information
You may enter the European Community with your pet only after you have submitted the aforementioned health certificate to an approved veterinary border inspection post.
Please note: If you enter Europe through a country other than Germany and your pet has no valid rabies protection, please contact that country’s embassy in the United States. The U.S. State Department list of foreign embassies appears below.
3. Kitten/Puppy (0-3 months)
Puppies may only be brought into or transit Germany with an adequate vaccination against rabies. If the puppies are coming from the U.S., they may be imported into Germany no younger than 15 weeks (rabies vaccination after 12 weeks + 21 days to develop immunity).
4. Dangerous Dogs
The Law on Restrictions for the Introduction and Importation of Dogs came into force April 21, 2001. Among other provisions, it prohibits the introduction or import of dogs regarded as dangerous. These regulations serve to protect the public. The customs authorities participate in controlling the import of such dogs. Under this law, certain breeds as well as crossbreeds of those dogs may not be introduced or imported into Germany.
5. Pet Birds
The importation of pet birds from countries outside the EU (third countries) is permitted under controlled conditions to prevent the introduction and spread of avian influenza (AI). Details are contained in Commission Decision 2007/25/EC .
1. Limit of no more than five animals. The provision applies only to pet birds accompanying their owners from third countries. Otherwise conditions for commercial importation will apply, as laid down in the Commission Implementing Regulation 139/2013
2. Origin of the birds from a country belonging to one of the OIE regional commissions listed in the Annex of the aforementioned decision.
3. Birds that have not been vaccinated against AI must remain quarantined in the country of origin for at least 10 days. A blood sample must be taken no sooner than on the third day and test negative for the H5N1 antigen or genome. In the case of certain countries of origin, it is permitted, instead of the 10-day quarantine, to keep the birds in isolation at the place of origin for at least 30 days. These countries of origin are listed in Annex I Part 1 and in Annex II Part 1 of Regulation (EC) No.206/2010. Alternatively, birds from these countries of origin may be placed under quarantine in a licensed facility in an EU destination country for 30 days.
4. Birds that have been vaccinated against H5 do not have to be quarantined if they have been inoculated at least twice with an H5 vaccine and the last vaccine was administered at least 60 days but no more than six months prior to importation.
5. Documentation Required for Import and on Import Routes
Travelers bringing birds into Germany must carry an animal health certificate. The certificate must be signed by an official veterinarian of the third country of dispatch and be valid for 10 days after issuance.
If the birds are being transported by ship, the certificate must be valid for the entire duration of the sea voyage. The birds must additionally be accompanied by an owner declaration.
Please note: the owner declaration is absolutely mandatory; both Nos. 4 and 5 can be deleted. Importation is possible only via one of the veterinary border inspection posts authorized for these animal species. These are indicated as “others” in the list of veterinary border inspection posts appearing in Annex I of Decision 2009/821/EC .
6. Special Provisions
Exempted from the aforementioned provisions are birds being imported from Andorra, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and Vatican City. For these birds, the provisions valid for the movement of birds between member states apply. Accordingly, up to three birds may brought into Germany without being subject to approval. If more than three birds are being imported, an animal health certificate according to the sample contained in Annex E Part I of Directive 92/65/EEC is needed.
7. Traveling with Pet Birds within the EU
Under Section 38 of the Ordinance on Disease Control in the Internal Market, travelers may carry with them no more than three birds intended to remain in their possession when traveling as a tourist or when relocating their place of residence. An animal health certificate from an official veterinarian is required only in case of parrots and parakeets.
6. Other Animals
Prior to the import or transit of animals other than dogs, cats, and ferrets or birds, the traveler must first check whether animal disease control requirements must be met. In addition, requirements relating to protection of endangered species must also be observed.
1. Animal Disease Control Requirements
In contrast to the legal situation relating to dogs, cats, and ferrets or birds, travel with other pets has not yet been harmonized within the EU. German law therefore applies. For further information, please refer to the website of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture
If an animal disease control permit is required, travelers must file an application with the supreme veterinary service of the German state through which they are entering the Federal Republic of Germany.
2. Protection of Endangered Species Requirements
The responsible German authority is the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), which can be reached at:
Bundesamt für Naturschutz / Abt. I 1
(Federal Agency for Nature Conservation/ Directorate-General I 1
Tel. (0228) 84 91-1311
Fax. (0228) 84 91-1319
The website of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, contains extensive information, under the keyword CITES, regarding requirements for the protection of endangered species, in particular regarding the import of animals from countries that are not members of the European Union.
The Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), also known as the Washington Convention, was signed in 1973 to be able to effectively counter the risk of over-exploitation. The Washington Convention requires the presentation of official documents when endangered species are being brought across borders (CITES Documents). The provisions apply to both living animals and plants and any part or derivative of such animals and plants.
For all EU member states, the Washington Convention is definitively and directly implemented through European protection of endangered species regulations (Council Regulation (EC) No.338/97 and European Commission Regulation (EC) No. 865/2006).
The protected status of individual species can be found at the link below. There you can check whether a particular animal is subject to endangered species provisions. Generally speaking, both an import permit and export documents from the exporting country are necessary for import to the EU. The addresses of the authorities responsible for issuing CITES permits in the countries of origin (i.e. management authorities) can be found on the website under "National Contacts and Information."
Beyond the Washington Convention, protection of endangered species provisions exist for all European bird species, meaning that birds may be imported from a third country only with express written approval of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.
Washington Convention regulations are often violated when travelers import souvenirs. Please refer to the factsheet "Vorsicht bei exotischen Souvenirs" under the “Reisewarniungen / Reise & Sicherheit" section of the German Foreign Office website (in German only)
Tourists are advised to familarize themselves with the regulations prior to departure. The Agency for Nature Conservation and German Customs have created a database with country-specific advisories.
Travelers are advised that importing an animal that does not meet the veterinary and/or endangered species requirements can result in the confiscation of the animal and administrative fines.
7. Further Information/ Contacts:
April 25, 2016