When planning to jet off overseas, the most important document we require for ourselves is a passport. When you’re taking your pet with you on a long-haul flight, there are certain documents they also require to allow them to travel overseas, just like you legally.
A pet passport varies depending on the country, but all pets require some official documentation to go overseas. There’s an actual international pet passport in the European Union that you have to apply for to get your pet on the plane with you, but for the US, it simply refers to the documents you need for their travel.
If you’re planning an overseas trip and are taking your dog or cat with you, what’s actually required? We’ll show you the documents included in a pet passport USA, how you can get them, and why they’re so important to have as a responsible pet owner.
What Is A Pet Passport?
Depending on the country you’re from, the definition of a pet passport could differ slightly. An EU pet passport for those in European countries will cover them for life, so you only need to apply for it once. Additional documents you need for travel in Europe and other areas may include:
- Annex IV form: This form will differ for each country and you’ll need one for every location you go to
- Health certificate: A USDA endorsed pet health certificate that comes from your vet and clears the pet for safe travel and other information about their age and breed
- Documentation of ownership: The Declaration of Non-Commercial Transport is a signed declaration that states you are not selling or giving away the pet, and it is yours
- Records: Depending on the country, you may need proof of tapeworm treatment or recent testing, and most countries require a record of your pet’s immunization records
Keeping them all together is what qualifies as having a pet passport, and in the areas where an official passport is required, you’ll need one of them too. For those travelling to more than one country, you’ll have a lot of research to figure out the exact documents required for wherever you’re going.
The rules and regulations regarding pet travel are constantly changing, and because each country has its own, it can get even more complicated. Check what’s required months ahead of your travel date so you can have it compiled correctly and ensure you’re in line with the current regulations regarding pet travel.
The PETS Scheme
If you’ve been researching pet passports, there’s a good chance you came across information about the PETS scheme. The Pet Travel Scheme was first introduced for UK and European Union animals to safeguard against disease and allow pets to travel freely within approved countries without a compulsory quarantine period.
Eventually, the scheme was introduced to other countries that are now part of the group. These include the United States, Canada, and Australia. Without PETS, some animals would face a six-month quarantine after international travel, so it’s been a huge bonus for overseas pet travel.
Why Does My Pet Need One?
It’s quite obvious why we humans need a passport and various other bits of information to travel, but what about our pets? The purpose of a pet passport is also safety, and more specifically, ensuring that the animal you are introducing to another country is free from disease and doesn’t pose any threats to wildlife or society.
A pet passport is a way to verify that your pet is free from disease and up to date with their immunizations. It also helps track the animal and ensure it’s not being sold or given away and will remain a personal pet alongside the owner.
How To Get A Pet Passport
If you’re planning on travelling with your pet, you’ll want to start the process of getting them a passport a few months before you leave. The best way to learn about what’s required is by visiting your veterinarian and seeing what they recommend. They will also give you a pet health certificate that is the most important part of the passport.
Secondly, you’ll want to check the regulatory body of animal travel for the country you’re visiting. They will have their own requirements that you’ll have to adhere to and possibly will need further documentation to add to the pet passport.
Finally, speak with the airline that you’re travelling with. There may be rules in place about what’s required, how to transport your pet and other information about the country you’re travelling to.
The entire process of getting a pet passport and ensuring they’re up to date with immunizations can take months of planning, so it’s not something you should leave until the last minute.
Responsible Travel With Your Pet
When you have the luxury of visiting another country and taking your pet with you, you need to respect the rules and regulations of international travel. This means having all of your pet’s documentation in place to make the journey as smooth as possible.
Pet passports might sound like an absurd thing, but they’re a legal requirement for travel. Each country has its own requirements, and simply not being aware of what they are is no excuse. As responsible pet owners, we need to treat our pets like other humans and have all of the right documents in line.
Pet passports are about keeping your pet safe and also the wildlife and population of the country you’re visiting. Just as we would want people to bring healthy and legal pets into the US, so too do we have to respect this desire of other countries around the world.