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Traveling to France with your pet

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If you are planning to travel to France, you will probably want to take your pet with you. Find out all that you need to know on relating procedures in this article.

Moving to France requires advance planning, and if you intend to travel there with your pet, you should inquire on relating formalities well in advance. In general, the country is rather welcoming towards pets provided these comply with existing rules and conditions. Some species are prohibited from entering the country while others are subject to strict regulations. In all cases, we are providing you with current information.

Pets coming from non-European countries

Pets, that is cats, dogs and ferrets, coming from non-European countries must:

  • be more than three months old
  • wear an electronic identification microchip or clearly visible tattoo (applied before the 3rd of July 2011)
  • be in possession of a European pet passport. This passport will be provided by an officially accredited veterinary and must include all information relating to the animal's vaccines.
  • have been vaccinated against rabies four months before its arrival date into France
  • undergo a blood test to as to verify the effectiveness of the rabies vaccine at least three months before the scheduled departure date in a European Union accredited laboratory. However, this test is not required if the animal is coming from a rabies-free country. Find a list of rabies free countries in the useful links provided below.
  • be in possession of a health certificate as per the European model and established by a licensed veterinarian in your home country along with a vaccination certificate
  • in the case of a bird – be in possession of a health certificate specifying a quarantine, screening or vaccination against the H5 virus.
  • be in possession of its health certificate and other required documents on its arrival at the Customs department.

Moving back to your home country

If you are moving back to your home country with your pet following your stay in France, specific conditions apply. In fact, your pet must undergo a rabies screening test and be free from rabies before leaving the European Union. In case the rabies vaccine is still valid, there is no need to undergo another blood test. The pet passport can then serve as a health certificate.

Prohibited breeds

The following dog breeds, classifieds as Category 1, are not allowed into France, even if these belong to expatriates who intend to stay in the country:

  • Staffordshire terrier or American Staffordshire terrier (called pitbull)
  • Mastiff (called dogs boerbulls)
  • Tosa

The following category 2 dogs, known as dog or defense dogs, are subject to strict import regulations:

  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Tosa
  • dogs that are assimilable to the Rottweiler by their morphological characteristics

Expats who wish to import these category 2 dogs must:

  • be more than 18 years old
  • not be under guardianship
  • not to be convicted for a criminal offense listed in Notice No. 2 of the criminal record (or equivalent for foreigners), or a decision withdrawing the right of ownership or custody of a dog.

 Important:

In the case of attack dogs, the owner must also make sure to sterilize the animal which must then in possession of a pet health certificate.

In all cases, make sure to comply with all the above mentioned conditions so as to avoid any hassles when importing your dog, cat or ferret to France. Otherwise, your pet risks the following:

  • repatriation to its country of origin
  • quarantine
  • euthanasia.

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Pets in France Forum 
Ministry of Agriculture – Conditions for pets coming from non European countries mesdemarches.agriculture.gouv.fr
Ministry of Agriculture – health certificate sample mesdemarches.agriculture.gouv.fr
Categorized dogs table agriculture.gouv.fr
Service Public – Pets www.service-public.fr

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