Moving with your pet to Spain

Moving with your pet to Spain
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Updated 2021-06-11 14:59

A pet is a family member, and naturally, you'll want to bring it with you when moving to Spain. Moving abroad with an animal requires adequate planning and adherence to a variety of rules and regulations. Before leaving your home country, check the latest rules about bringing pets into Spain, which vary depending on where you are coming from and the animal species. There is one set of rules for domestic dogs, cats and ferrets and a different set for other animals such as birds and rabbits. In addition to the information in this article, you can ask your transport carrier, visit the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food website and ask questions on the Spain forum.

Conditions for bringing your pet to Spain

To be allowed into Spain, your pet (dogs, cats, ferrets) should meet several requirements. For example, they must be older than 15 weeks. This is because the minimum age for a rabies vaccine is 12 weeks, and for it to be valid, at least 21 days must have elapsed since the day of vaccination. Pets without a valid vaccine at the time of travel will not be authorised to enter the country.

The minimum age for a pet coming from a country with a rabies risk is seven months. At least 30 days after the first vaccination against rabies, a blood test must be taken by an approved laboratory to check the level of post-vaccination antibodies is sufficient. The animal is only authorised for entry after three months from the date of the blood collection.

Important:

You are not permitted to bring more than five animals; otherwise, your pets must comply with animal health rules that apply to the commercial import of animals into the EU. There are exceptions to these rules, such as when the animals are participating in shows and exhibitions.

Travelling with a pet from within the European Union

To travel to Spain with your pet, the following requirements must be adhered to:

  • ISO pet microchip inserted or tattoo (if done before 03/07/2011 and provided it is still clearly readable).
  • Have a European pet passport for the movement of pets. This should include such information as the microchip or tattoo number for identification, date of rabies vaccination and other clinical data, the owner's name and address, and the address and signature of the vet. 
  • Be vaccinated against rabies with a vaccine valid at the time of travel. Note, your pet is not authorised to travel within 21 days following the rabies vaccination. Since the minimum age for vaccinating animals is 12 weeks, dogs, cats and ferrets can only travel to Spain at 15 weeks at the earliest.

Important:

Following Brexit, a UK-issued EU pet passport is not valid for travel to Spain. The rules for non-EU members apply. However, if you have a pet passport issued by Spain or another EU member state, you can use it to bring your pet into Spain.

Travelling with a pet from outside the EU

If you are coming from a non-EU country, you have to enter your pet through one of the designated Travellers' Points of Entry (May - 2021) and declare to the Guardia Civil's Tax Office that you are traveling with a pet. You will be required to provide: 

  • A valid health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. It should mention basic information about your pet, such as its name, breed and age, and your name, address, and telephone number. Note that a Spanish translation must accompany this document.

Additionally, your pet will have to:

  • Be identified with an ISO pet microchip. If the microchip is not ISO 11784/11785 compliant, you can bring your own microchip scanner. Note that identification tattoos made before 3 July 2011 are also acceptable, provided they are readable. 
  • Be vaccinated against rabies with a valid vaccine at the time of travel. If your pet comes from a country not listed in Annex II to Regulation 577/2013, it must have undergone a serological test for rabies in an approved laboratory.

Warning:

Regulations regarding the movement of your pet may vary from one country to another. You are advised to check the latest information with the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country or the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Transporting other animals to Spain

Other animals such as rodents, rabbits and reptiles are not subject to the same anti-rabies rules; they're subject to different regulations. For example, rodents, rabbits and reptiles must be examined by a licensed vet within five days of transport and show no signs of disease or external parasites. 

If you're bringing a bird or birds to Spain, the following requirements must be met:

  • A health certificate for each bird and an owner's declaration.
  • You must enter the country at an improved border inspection point.
  • The birds must have been isolated for 30 days before transport or vaccinated against avian influenza or kept in quarantine in registered premises for 30 days.

Warning:

Rare or endangered species are prohibited from being brought into the country as pets.

Top tips for travelling to Spain with your pet

  • Your pet must be transported in an appropriate cage both aboard your carrier and once you have reached Spain.
  • Acclimatise your pet to travelling long distances. For example, before you move to Spain, go on long drives with your animals. This can help reduce their stress levels during the relocation.
  • If you're driving long distances in Spain, make frequent stops at pet-friendly areas.
  • In case of emergency, make a note of the phone number of your nearest licensed veterinarian.
  • Once you are living in the country, consider taking out pet insurance to cover unexpected vet bills.

Useful links:

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - Animal health standards

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - Specific conditions for different species

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.