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What it looks like: Paperwork for importing your dog into France/E.U. from the U.S.

In a previous post, I’ve talked about how to get hold of the current forms needed to import a pet into France (generally speaking, the same form is used throughout the E.U., but look out for local variations, like the tapeworm treatments required by the U.K., Ireland, Finland, and Malta). That info is still good, but reader Bridget asked to see an example of the actual paperwork, properly filled out and USDA-endorsed — such a good idea, and so timely, since today I have in hand Chloe’s paperwork for our trip this week to Paris. Please note that some personal info has been blurred out. [4/6/15 The form for a health certificate for pets traveling from the U.S. to the E.U. changed a few months ago — be sure to download and fill out the current form.]

First is the five-page bilingual form you’ll find when you follow the links I provide in that earlier post:

Notice my slightly-too-late realization that I was about to write the date the wrong way.

Notice my slightly-too-late realization that I was about to write the date the wrong way.

No such trouble for my vet or the USDA official

No such trouble for my vet or the USDA official

Attached to the end of it, my vet included a copy of Chloe’s current rabies vaccination certificate, and signed it; and she also included a statement that Chloe’s microchip (she included its number) was implanted on X date, and that Chloe’s rabies vaccine (she included its identifying info) was given subsequent to that implantation on Y date. The info on those two supplements is available in the main form, but the practice is, apparently, to repeat it in these separate documents as well — a belt and suspenders approach.


Other important items I should mention: The forms should be filled out and signed in blue ink. All dates should be in the European format (day/month/year) rather than the U.S. format (month/day/year). Double check your vet’s (and your own!) written dates and also the USDA office’s date stamp to make sure they’re all in the right format. All of the pages of the form should be stamped by the USDA (they will decline to stamp the two supplemental attachments).

Make one or two (or more, depending on where you’re going and how likely it is that someone along the way might want a copy of your pup’s paperwork) color copies of the whole packet. Why color copies? So the blue ink used to fill out and sign the forms, and the blue ink of the USDA’s stamp, is visible. The last time I went to France with Chloe, the USDA office kindly made the copies, and stamped them as well, so they looked (and felt) just about exactly like the original — this time they wouldn’t do that, so there’s no reason to ask them to make the copies anymore.


  • roberta solomon

    In all the times that I have taken my 2 dogs to France, not once have I been asked for this paperwork. I still do it because you know the one time that I don’t, they will ask!

  • Stephanie

    This is fantastic! I am so glad you posted your paperwork! I am traveling to the UK via France with my dog at the end of the month and I am happy to see the completed forms, I knew about the blue ink and the dates, but the rabies certificate my vet gave me does not have the microchip info on it. So when we go back I will get an amended certificate. I love your website, I have been poring over it since I discovered you! Thank you for sharing your experiences 🙂

  • Thanks so much, Stephanie! So how did you choose to bring your dog into the UK? We thought about a ferry, but are renting a car and driving instead — would love to hear about your experience, if you find the time to send an e-mail ([email protected]). And safe travels!

  • Lisa

    Thanks so much for this – I am traveling from Seattle to Germany with my Shiba Inu later this month and it will be very helpful.

    One question that I wonder if you’d know the answer – our dog’s most recent rabies vaccination certificate will be from a vet in Vancouver, Canada, because we have been living here the past year. But the vet exam will be done in Seattle and the final approval with the USDA as we are flying out of the US. Do you think it will matter that the rabies vaccination was given in Canada?

  • Hi, Lisa — I hope it won’t. What I would do is get a written, dated, signed statement from your Vancouver vet specifying that your dog’s 16-digit Euro-style chip (details about its make and number) was implanted before (details about date) your pup’s rabies vaccine (details about manufacturer, serial number, date of administration, etc.), so you can give that to your U.S. vet — with fingers crossed that all of that detailed info and signed avowing is enough for THEM to sign off on themselves.

  • Lisa

    Thanks so much Mary-Alice, I’ll give that a try just to err on the side of having as much validation as possible.

  • Patrice Vadurova

    Hello, thank you for all your information. However, I have one more question about the price of health certificate. I will be traveling back to my country Czech Republic (the same conditions as for france – EU / except the langugae), and my questions is how much did you pay for filling out the health certificate. Is it expensive? And also it says something that certificate is available just for ten days? Before I leave back to my country, I will be traveling across US, so I wont be at the destination of my US vet for 17 days? Do you think I can do the health certificate before this traveling? I am pretty scared travel it is so much paper work, but my Bennie is healthy and microchipped with AKC chip.

  • Hello, Patrice! For the paperwork we just got about 3 weeks ago, we paid our vet $25 (for the check-up and for filling out the forms), and we paid the USDA $38 (for the endorsement). The health certificate must be presented to the customs of the country you’re entering (in this case, the Czech Republic) within 10 days of it being signed by your U.S. vet. What you should do is make an appointment with a (USDA-certified) vet at a location you’ll be visiting within 10 days (or, to be safe, say 7 days — that is, in case there’s some kind of travel delay between the U.S. and your arrival in CR) of your departure from the U.S. — and also make your USDA office appointment for right after you get the health certificate. To find a USDA-certified vet, call the local USDA office for the place where you’ll be, and ask for a reference: I know you’ll be dismayed that you’ll have to do all this while you’re on the road, but I really think it’ll be pretty straightforward. Good luck, and safe travels!

  • Diego's Person

    MaryAlice, (long time reader, first time commenter!) LOVE your website. I am preparing my dog Diego for a move to central Africa, via France. Couple of questions – on your French/English Health Certificate…
    -Did the USDA add their own name to the bottom section of the health certificate? It looks like a typewriter, then they stamped over it?
    -Do you know the number of days France accepts the USDA endorsed form as valid? Via the French Consulate, I see they want this form endorsed within 10 days of travel to EU. Is that correct?
    -Did you also have to fill out the USDA APHIS Form 7001?

  • Well, now, THAT’s adventurous!! I want to hear about your travels as they happen, for sure! Thank you for reading, and for the praise — here’s what I’ve got. Yes, the USDA office added everything that looks typewritten on the last page, and then stamped over it. As soon as your vet (the vet, not the USDA person) signs the form, the clock starts ticking. You must arrive in France before ten days have elapsed. (Now, mind you, no one was there to look at the forms when we arrived, but still, always best to do things by the book.) This time, we did not have to have a form like USDA APHIS Form 7001 — last time we did, and I think the difference is that U.S. airlines have realized that they need not be in the business of demanding health certificates (and the essential info is in the certificate the EU requires, so the international aspect is already covered). Please do let me/us know how your prep work goes, and how you and Diego adjust to life in central Africa!

  • Cricket

    If you plan frequent trips to the EU, my advice is to find yourself a European Vet when you arrive. Bring all of your pet’s US paperwork (rabies titre, innoculations, microchip, health record and certificate) and get an EU passport from him/her. Your life will be simplified.

  • Andrea San Martín

    This is exactly what I was looking for! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
    I´m from Chile and I´m traveling to Germany with my Yorkshire Terrier, Phoebe. The requirements of both countries are the same, and I had a hard time trying to understand how to fill out the health certificate that the EU requires. Also, for both Chile and the USA, only the rabies shot is required (not the blood test).
    Thank you so much for providing this info 🙂

  • Hi, Terry — The dog “passport,” specifically, is a European Union document, and while some US travelers have one, it’s not the typical documentation we assemble. Instead, you’ll want to gather together the documents listed by the USDA (and of course make sure they’re current). This blog post should get you started: You’ll want to work closely with your vet, and plan ahead, since it takes some legwork and time to get all your ducks in a row.

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