Importing animals into France
European law being in constant evolution, it is recommended to look up the latest updates on the websites of the french Ministry of Agriculture and of the british Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
European regulation No. 998/2003 on the non-commercial movements of pet animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) was implemented in 2004 and harmonizes health requirements for these movements.
These are, in order:
1. Identification: clearly readable tattoo or microchip under the skin (this is an electronic identification system).
2. Valid vaccination against rabies (first vaccination and boosters).
(1. and 2. are specified in the passport.)
3. An EU pet Passport attesting valid rabies vaccination delivered by a Government-approved vet (in the UK, a local veterinary inspector). The passport also provides for a record of other past vaccinations, but a valid rabies vaccination will be the sole requirement for pets from EU Member States to enter into France.
The European Pet Passport is the only document accepted by the French authorities. A Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) certificate is not valid for entry into France.
Please note: Since 20 May 2005, pets under three months old and not vaccinated against rabies are not allowed to enter into France.
The animal is allowed to enter into France 21 days after its first full anti-rabies vaccination.
Please see the French Ministry for Agriculture PDF document for further information.
You can find a registered veterinary surgeon in the UK by visiting _ http://www.yell.com.
More generally, treatments for tapeworms and ticks are not compulsory but they are advisable.
When taking your pet overseas, we would recommend that you bring an updated vaccination record of the pet and that your animal is treated against diseases that are widespread in Europe such as:
Please talk to your veterinary surgeon on this matter.
If you are returning to the UK with your pet after travelling to France, you must comply with additional health requirements to conform with British regulations. Please note that the microchipping, vaccination and blood test must be carried out in this order.
1/ Identification of your animal: microchip under the skin only, as British authorities do not accept identification by tattoo.
2/ A valid vaccination against rabies (first vaccination and boosters). Animals must be at least 3 months old before being vaccinated.
3/ For dogs and cats, a successful blood test (verifying that the vaccine has given sufficient protection against rabies) carried out by an EU-approved laboratory. A minimum period of 6 months must elapse between the date of the blood test giving a satisfactory result and the arrival of the pet in the United Kingdom. The blood test and 6 month wait do not apply to ferrets.
4/ An EU pet passport issued by a Government-approved vet (in France, a vet who has the “mandat sanitaire).
5/ Treatment against parasites (ticks and tapeworms) between 24 and 48 hours before your pet is checked-in to travel to the UK. The details of the treatment must be recorded on an official certificate of treatment or in the pet passport.
All these requirements are also compulsory for guide and hearing dogs.
Pet bird, reptile, amphibian, insect, invertebrate, fish, rodents and lagomorphs (rabbit, guinea-pig, hamster, mouse, rat, etc.)
If you are going to stay permanently in France with your pet bird, reptile, amphibian, insect, invertebrate, fish, rodents and lagomorphs (rabbit, guinea-pig, hamster, mouse, rat, etc.) or if you are going to transport your animal through France without returning to the UK, you will need to obtain certificates issued by a local veterinary inspector (a private veterinary surgeon who is allowed to issue certificates for the import/export of pets) to travel with your animal:
I. A certificate of good health (in both languages) to testify that your pet carries no signs of disease, in particular of any contagious disease specific to its species (for example, myxomatosis for rabbits, etc.). This certificate should be issued between 1 and 5 days before entry of the animal into France.
You can find a registered veterinary surgeon in the UK by visiting http://www.yell.com
II. The owner of the animal must declare that: "He/she is the owner of the animal that he/she is accompanying and he/she will not sell it on."
Regarding the journey, please contact the appropriate transport companies to check if you are allowed to travel with your pet.
Before travelling and if in doubt, you are advised to check whether your animal belongs to an endangered species as listed by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). See specific requirements.
For further information on CITES, please visit http://cites.org.
If you intend to return to the UK with your pet after your stay in France, you must contact the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs or the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Northern Ireland for an import licence. You can obtain more information on quarantine procedures from:
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
1A Page Street
Tel: +44 (0) 207 904 6222
Fax: +44 (0) 207 904 6834
For further information, you can also contact the British Embassy in France:
Ambassade de Grande-Bretagne
35 boulevard du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75383 Paris cedex 08
Tel: +00 33 1 44 51 32 81
or the French Ministry of Agriculture
Ministère de l’alimentation, de l’agriculture et de la pêche
Bureau de l’identification et du contrôle des mouvements des animaux
251 rue de Vaugirard
Telephone : +00 33 1 49 55 84 72
Fax : +00 33 1 49 55 81 97
Website : http://www.agriculture.gouv.fr
As far as the French authorities are concerned, there are no restrictions on routes for the transport of pets between the UK and France. The use of private means of transport (boat or others) is allowed.
Routes approved for transport from France to the UK are listed on the Defra website:
Please be also aware that special regulations also apply to the importation of dangerous dogs, endangered species and veterinary medecines. Please see the articles in the how to import section for more informations.