How to Travel with Your Dog from the US to Europe

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Bringing a dog along on an international cycle touring adventure certainly poses its challenges, however it was never an option for us not to bring Sora along on our journey. She’s part of our life at home, and we were determined to make her part of our life on the road.

Knowing that we would need to get started on veterinary requirements for bringing Sora into the European Union, I reached out to our local vet and asked about requirements for her entry. My preliminary research left me overwhelmed and confused by all of the information. Fortunately, our vet happened to have a travel specialist on staff who could outline all of the details, examinations, and vaccinations that would be required of Sora before departing on our trip.

We broke these requirements out into bullet points and divided them into sections of what we did before departing the United States and after arriving into the European Union,.

Note, this was specific to Norway, other countries may have different requirements. Also, it’s worth noting that the EU policy changed on December 29th, 2015 to reflect more specific rules with pet passports, minimum ages, border inspections, etc. For more information, you can read more here.

Before departing for Oslo, Norway, Sora required the following:

  • Implantation and certification of an ISO Microchip, which is readable in the EU and on a different frequency from those given in the United States. Only the veterinarian who implants the microchip can sign the required microchip implementation form .
  • 3-Year Rabies Vaccination, which must be done AFTER the ISO Microchip. Both can be done in the same day, but the vaccination must come second, and both must be administered at least 21 days prior to departure.
  • At least ten days before departing for the EU, Sora had to visit our local veterinarian to receive an international health certificate and an EU veterinary certificate. We then had 10 days from the date of the exam to arrive in Oslo. If we had failed to arrive within this timeline, she could have been denied entry into the EU.
  • The international health certificate, the EU veterinary certificate, and the microchip implementation form then had to be endorsed by a USDA veterinarian. We had the option of scheduling an appointment with the nearest location in Tumwater, WA (two hours from Portland) or overnighting the paperwork. Since we flew out of Seattle, we chose to visit the USDA vet in person, on our way to my parents’ house two days before departing, only this happened. Further, the USDA vet requires a $37 fee for endorsement, which must be paid by check or money order .
  • In addition, Norway required an echinococcosis (tapeworm) treatment given a minimum of 24 and maximum of 120 hours before arrival. This was performed by our local veterinarian and, along with the other paperwork, required approval from the USDA veterinarian. Be sure to ask your local vet write the date and time in both your current timezone, and the one to which you’re traveling. This was confusing in our case as neither Pacific Standard Time, nor Central European Time was listed on our forms. With a 9 hour time zone difference, this can affect meeting the requirements for inoculation.  
  • Twenty-four hours before arriving in Oslo, we had to call customs at the airport and indicate that we were arriving with a dog from the United States. There, we would meet the country veterinarian at customs once we arrived in Oslo.

Upon arrival in the EU:

  • When we went through customs, we had to enter the “goods to declare” red section. There, we were met by the customs veterinarian who overlooked Sora’s paperwork, scanned her for her microchip, stamped a few items, and sent us on our way.
  • During our stay in Oslo, we took the time to visit a local veterinarian there and obtain a pet passport. This contains the information for all of Sora’s paperwork and vaccinations and speeds up the process of crossing borders throughout the EU. Once you enter Europe, you have four months to obtain a pet passport.

List of helpful websites:

Visit Norway


EU Pet Passports

Exporting an animal from the US – UDSA

Pet Travel Rule Changes – 2015

Hopefully this helps outline some of the confusing regulations around bringing a pet from the United States into Europe. Our most helpful resource was our veterinarian, who understood and was familiar with the required documents and vaccinations. Also be aware that rules change constantly, so be sure to check back with individual country regulations regularly.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November, 2014 by Dave Hoch. We updated the content to reflect our full experience with bringing a pet overseas to better assist our readers. 

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