One of the souvenirs we returned with from our recent vacation was an official E.U. pet passport for Chloe. I call it a “souvenir” because it doesn’t really count, in our case — we are not European Union residents, nor are we residents of “one of the neighbouring countries where the rabies status matches that of the EU. This includes: Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City State.” I look forward to the day when we fit into the other category of folks who have a real reason to own a pet passport (“I am a non-EU citizen but I will live in the EU with my pet for several years”), but that day has not yet arrived. [1/31/14 That said, our vet tech — who handles a lot of international paperwork for traveling dogs — told me recently that one of her clients, a U.S. citizen and resident, goes to France constantly with just an E.U. pet passport. Next time, I think I’ll fill out both options, and see how it goes with the pet passport — holding my usual American-style paperwork in reserve.]
No, I got a pet passport for Chloe partly because I wanted to see what the process was like, for the sake of telling you about it, and partly because we planned to visit the U.K., and I thought the U.K. customs officials might be more comfortable with a pet passport than with Chloe’s international paperwork. Officially, that wasn’t at all necessary: As it says in Note E (on p. 4) of the health certificate we got for Chloe, “The certificate is valid for 10 days from the date of issue by the official veterinarian until the date of the checks at the EU travellers’ point of entry and for the purpose of further movements within the Union, for a total of 4 months from the date of issue of this certificate or until the date of expiry of the anti-rabies vaccination, whichever date is earlier.”
In an earlier post, I shared with you scans of the paperwork Chloe needed to enter France with us (which included the health certificate mentioned above; a copy of Chloe’s current rabies vaccination certificate; and a statement that Chloe’s microchip was implanted on X date, and that Chloe’s rabies vaccine was given subsequent to that implantation, on Y date). We ensured that we had the current versions of the forms by getting them from the USDA/APHIS site, we worked with our vet to get them filled out correctly, and I drove them to our local USDA office to be endorsed. I guarded the resulting packet as carefully as I did my own passport, and made a couple of color copies in case some official wanted to keep a set. As on our last trip, no one showed the slightest interest in inspecting Chloe’s papers at CDG, but I was grateful to have them because (1) you know that if I hadn’t, we would have been met by fleets of officials, uniformed and armed to the teeth, demanding her forms in triplicate; and (2) we planned to spend the last week of our vacation in England, and the Chunnel authorities would certainly expect to see paperwork for her, in one form or another.
We made two appointments with a veterinarian in Paris (I’ll give you more info about him and another English-speaking Parisian vet in a separate post), one to get Chloe’s pet passport, and the other to get the tapeworm treatment the U.K. requires. On both visits, the vet gave Chloe a general exam — the first one was thorough, like her usual annual exam, and the second (only a couple of weeks later) was more brief. During our first visit, the information in Chloe’s paperwork was transferred to her new pet passport, and the vet made a note that Chloe was in good health. At the end of our second trip, he added notes that Chloe had received her tapeworm treatment, and was still in good health. Information about filling out an E.U. pet passport is provided in this helpful U.K. document.
Here’s what we walked away with, at the end of that process:
We were very nearly late for our train to England, so I was glad to arrive at the Pet Control Point with a document that didn’t require any explanation. I also enjoyed feeling like a local for a week or two, carrying Chloe’s little blue pet passport in my purse. As I mentioned above, however, it’s not officially the right document for someone in my shoes. For future trips to Europe, the correct thing to do is gather together the same documents (health certificate and supporting statements from our veterinarian) that we assembled this time. That said, if we plan to visit another E.U. country besides the one we enter initially, I’ll bring the pet passport too (and get it corrected).