Moving to a foreign country with your pet requires proper planning. If you wish to travel to Spain, regardless of the length of your trip, it is best to enquire about pet importation conditions beforehand. Legally, only dogs, cats and ferrets are considered to be pets in Spain. Other specific regulations apply to the import of birds and other animals. You might have more information on it with your carrier and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. You may also ask your questions on the Spain forum.
Like in most European countries, your pet should meet the local authorities’ requirements to be allowed on the Spanish territory. First of all, your pet, whether a dog, cat or ferret, must be at least 15 weeks old. It must also be vaccinated against rabies and undergo a blood test in order to verify the vaccine's effectiveness.
Maximum 5 pets per person (dogs, cats, ferrets) can travel to Spain, otherwise the rules for animal trade apply. This also applies when the purpose of travel is to change their owner. Exceptions are participating in competitions, exhibitions, training or sporting events without change of ownership.
Travelling from within the EU with a pet
To travel to Spain your pet must also be in possession of
- a European passport for the movement of pets, clearly identifying the animal, stating its owner, description and marking of the animal, issue date and last rabies vaccination.
- be identified with a microchip, or tattoo (if this was done before 03/07/2011) and provided it remains clearly readable.
- be vaccinated against rabies with a vaccine valid at the time of travel and included in the passport. Note, your pet is not authorized to travel within 21 days following the rabies vaccination. Since the minimum age for vaccinating animals will be 12 weeks – dogs, cats and ferrets can only travel to Spain at 15 weeks earliest.
Travelling from outside the EU with a pet
You must return with your pet through a designated Entry Point of travellers with pets and declare to the Resguardo Fiscal de la Guardia Civil that you travel with a pet, presenting the documentation of the same. Furthermore, health requirements depend on the rabies situation of your country of origin (listed or non-listed) will have to comply with the following.
- a valid health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. The health certificate must not only mention your pet's basic information such as its name, race, age, colour, etc., but also your name, address and telephone number. Note that documents to be produced on your arrival in Spain must be accompanied by a Spanish translation.
- your pet must also be fitted with an electronic microchip that is compliant with ISO 11784/11785 norms. In case the microchip is not compliant with these norms, you pet must be accompanied by its own microchip reader. Note that identification tattoos made prior to July 3rd, 2011, are also acceptable provided these are clearly visible. In this case, your pet must be vaccinated against rabies after being tattooed.
- rabies antibody test: Your pet will have to undergo a blood test in order to determine the rabies vaccine's effectiveness at least 30 days after the vaccination date and no less than three months before the date of travel. The test must be undertaken by an authorized vet and approved laboratory. It is recommended to check with the laboratory regarding the conditions for sending the blood sample. Therefore, the minimum age of an animal coming from a country with risk of rabies will be 7 months.
- if the animal moves from an EU country to a third country and then returns, this three-month period shall not apply if the assessment is carried out with favorable results before the animal leaves the EU terrirory. This information will be collected in the animal's passport. If the vaccination protocol is maintained, the serological test will be valid throughout the life of the animal.
Import regulations may vary from one country to another. You are advised to enquire with the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country or the Spanish ministry of Agriculture before proceeding. An Annex IV may also be requested, which can be issued by your pet's vet.
Transporting other animals to Spain
If you are planning to import other animals (such as pet birds from non-European countries), you will have to comply with specific regulations which have been established by Spanish authorities. Your bird should have a veterinary health certificate and an official owner statement, translated into Spanish. Depending on its country of origin, it may have to through bird flu vaccination to avoid being quarentined.
Those coming from European Union countries must be accompanied by a veterinary certificate in Spanish that has been issued within 10 days before the scheduled arrival date in Spain. This also applies to other animal species. However, it is important to note that backyard birds are not allowed to enter Spain as pets. You will also have to obtain a health document for them from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Furthermore, the number of pets which can accompany you varies depending on the species and country of origin.
Rare or endangered species are prohibited from being brought into the country as pets.
Tips for travelling with your pet
Your pet must be transported in an appropriate cage both aboard your carrier and once you have reached Spain. If your pet is less than three months old, some restrictions may apply. It can also be quarantined if its shows signs of illness or poor health. It is recommended that you have the nearest licensed veterinarian's phone number in case of emergency.
Dogs are compelled to wear the muzzle in some parts of the country. In general, pets are prohibited in public buildings and restaurants.