Bringing pets to Spain from other EU countries is a relatively straightforward procedure under the European Pet Passport scheme.
What is the EU Pet Passport Scheme?
The EU Pet Passport is similar in appearance to a normal passport and contains specific obligatory information relating to an individual animal, including the animal's identification number and proof of current vaccination against rabies. It may also contain other information relating to vaccinations although this is not a necessary requirement. The passports, valid for the lifetime of the animal, are identical for all European countries, with each having an individual identification number.
The passport is issued by a licensed veterinary surgeon, who will check that the animal's vaccinations are up to date, that they are microchipped or tattooed, and that a blood test has been performed to confirm that the rabies vaccine is active within the animal's system. The earliest the blood sample may be taken is 1 month after the initial vaccination. Subsequent annual rabies booster vaccinations, providing they are administered within the same calendar year, do not need to have their active state confirmed in this way. If the vaccination is done outside of its due date, a further blood test must be undertaken not sonner than one month after the vaccination date. It should be noted that a minimum of 6 months has to have passed from the date the blood sample was taken confirming the live status of the rabies vaccine before the pet is allowed to travel.
Excluding the UK, Ireland, Sweden, and Malta, animals traveling within any European Union countries must, by law, either be microchipped or have an identification tattoo. After 3rd July 2011 those animals that currently only have a tattoo will need to be microchipped.
What does it do?
The European Pet Passport scheme allows qualifying domestic animals, namely dogs, cats and ferrets to freely cross European borders providing they meet certain conditions. Rabbits and small rodents, such as chinchillas, mice, rats etc may be transported without a passport but must be declared at the border. Under the EU Pet Passport scheme qualifying pets are also entitled to travel between European countries and the non-mainland European areas of the Canary Islands, Azores and Madeira as well as to and from other countries that observe the same rabies regulations, i.e. Gibraltar, Switzerland, Norway, Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Monaco.
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) was introduced on 28th February 2000 allowing qualifying animals to travel between European countries providing they met the stringent requirements of the scheme.
Bringing pets to Spain
The maximum amount of pets allowed into Spain by private pet owners, i.e. non-commercial importers, is 5. There exist separate regulations referring to the commercial import of animals to Spain. Animals traveling to Spain must be accompanied by either the owner or a representative, and must have written certification that it has been under the owners' supervision for at least 3 months before entering Spain. Your local vet will be able to guide you through the necessary procedures and paperwork required to ensure the smooth transition of your pet from your country of origin into Spain.
What are the basic requirements for bringing your pet to Spain?
The animal must be eligible to travel to Spain as well as any other country it may have to pass through.
The animal must be over 3 months old.
The animal must be in possession of a valid EU Pet Passport or an International Vaccination Health Certificate.
The animal must be microchipped or have an identifying tattoo (tattoos are only acceptable until 3rd July 2011)
The animal must be vaccinated against the rabies virus.
How do I transport my animal to Spain?
There are several options; however, animals can only travel via approved routes.
Certain airlines will carry animals in designated areas within the hold. The animals must travel in an approved, fully ventilated container that allows the animal adequate space to stand and sit during the journey. Water must be provided and, depending on the journey length, food aswell. When travelling from the UK, more information on transporting pets by air can be found on:
Several train companies do allow animals to travel on their trains, and they may also travel on the EuroTunnel (although not on the passenger-only EuroStar). Click on the EuroTunnel link below for more information regarding travelling with pets.
It is possible to drive your pet into Spain; however, it is imperative that your pet meets the requirements of entry into any country, European or otherwise, through which it passes. When driving from the UK there are designated ports from which you can board a ferry with an animal. Most ferry operators allow the carriage of pets, but since each company's rules vary, it is advisable to contact your chosen ferry operator direct for more information.
Registered guide dogs traveling to Spain must adhere to exactly the same requirements as other domestic pets. However, once they are in Spain and registered with the Organización Nacional de Ciegos de España (ONCE), the Spanish National Blind Organisation, special dispensation is given: a registered guide dog enjoys free access to all public buildings and may travel without restriction on all public transport.
Bringing pets into the UK.
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows pet owners to bring their pets into the UK without the requirement for quarantine providing that the animal has met the conditions required for entry. In the case of failure to meet the the requirements, the animal must be quarantined for a period of 6 months, the cost of which is borne by the owner. The strict rules have been designed to ensure that the UK remains free from rabies and certain other diseases.
What are the requirements for bringing your pet into the UK from Spain?
The animal must be in possession of a valid EU Pet Passport.
The animal must be microchipped.
The animal must have a valid vaccination against the rabies virus.
Six calendar months must have passed between the date that your vet took the blood sample confirming the satisfactory test result for the rabies vaccination and the date of travel.
Before the animal enters the UK, it must be treated against ticks and a tapeworm not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before it is accepted for transportation.
The animal must not have been to any unlisted countries in the 6 calendar months before entering or re-entering the UK.
More detailed information on bringing your pet from Spain to the UK can be found on the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website.
There are many companies that will assist in the transportation of your pet from Spain to the UK; some will arrange to have your pet flown, others will drive. Depending on where you are in Spain, and indeed your final destination in the UK, you will have to weigh up the pros and cons of each method to find the one most suitable for you and your pet.