Travelling from third countries to the Netherlands with your cat or dog
Are you travelling with your cat or dog to the Netherlands from a third country? Then first of all it's important to check whether you are coming from a low risk or a high risk country regarding rabies. That is because the import requirements are different.
What are third countries?
Third countries are countries outside the European Union (EU). Some countries that are not EU member states are also considered as EU member states for travelling with your dog or cat. These countries are Iceland, Norway, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
How can I check if I come from a country with a low or a high risk regarding rabies?
Third countries listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) nr. 577/2013 are low risk rabies countries. Third countries NOT listed in this regulation are high risk rabies countries.
See for more information: EU rules on travelling with pets and other animals in the EU - Your Europe (europa.eu). Here you can find a tool, where the country can be entered.
If it says that a rabies antibody test is required, it concerns a country with a high risk regarding rabies.
What do I need if I come from a country with a low risk regarding rabies?
Are you travelling from a low-risk country regarding rabies? Check if your pet complies with the following and if you have all the necessary documents.
What do I need additionally if I travel from a high-risk country regarding rabies?
Are you traveling from a country with a high risk regarding rabies? Then you need to comply with all of the above for low-risk countries, but there are additional requirements.
- Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination, to establish the amount of rabies antibodies. If your dog or cat already has been vaccinated several times against rabies and the last vaccination is still valid, a blood sample can be drawn immediately.
- Your vet must send the sample to an EU approved laboratory.
- The result of the rabies antibody level test must be at least 0,5 IU/ml. Take ( a copy of) the report with your during the journey.
- You must wait at least three calendar months from the date the sample was taken before you travel. This period is to exclude an rabies infection before the rabies vaccination, as rabies has an incubation period of several months.
- You do not need to wait if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to a country that is not listed. In this case, the rabies vaccination must still be valid.
- The antibody test does not need to be renewed for a pet animal which has been revaccinated against rabies before the expiry date of the previous vaccination.
- The above implies that young cats and dogs are at least 7 months of age before they may travel to the Netherlands: vaccination 12 weeks after birth + 30 days later blood test + 3 calendar months excluding possible presence of rabies.
Arrival in the Netherlands
If you are travelling with your own pet for non-commercial movement, you don’t have to notify the NVWA before arriving in the Netherlands. Upon arrival at the airport or ferry terminal in the Netherlands, you must report your pet to Customs (goods declaration - goods to declare). Customs will verify the chip of your pet, the accompanying health certificate and other documents. If you would like to receive further information about where you can pick up your pet at the airport, we recommend that you to contact your airline, the airport or your pet shipper.
Should the animal be quarantined?
If your pet meets the EU-import requirements, it does not need to be quarantined. If not, Customs will hand over the pet to an official veterinarian of the NVWA. On site the vet will check your pet and the available documentation and make a decision about what to do with your pet. The vet could decide to quarantine the animal or to send it back to its country of origin. Please note that, if your pet needs to be placed in quarantine, as the owner you will be charged with all the costs (like housing, transportation costs, vet costs). Avoid quarantaine at all times. Make sure you start the necessary preparations months before your trip.
What are the conditions for non-commercial movement?
- The animals must travel because the owner is traveling and not the other way around.
- The owner must make the same travel movement as the animal 5 days prior to or after the animal’s journey.
- The movement of the animal is not intended to sell it or to transfer ownership to another owner.
- The owner may not travel with more than 5 animals.
Pets for non-commercial movement must enter the EU via these entry points.
In this case, the animal must be inspected at an inspection centre of a border control post when you enter the EU. In the Netherlands, Schiphol Airport is the only border control post where these dogs or cats can arrive, with two inspection centres: KLM Animal Hotel and Schiphol Animal Centre. For this purpose, it is necessary to arrange a pet shipper, which can be found on the website of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. The pet shipper will take care of the pre-notification and will make an appointment at one of the inspection centres. You will need the certificate for commercial transport.
Obligation to register dogs
Are you staying in the Netherlands for more than 3 months? Then after arriving in the Netherlands you, as the owner, have the obligation to have your dog registered in a designated database within 2 weeks of arrival by a veterinarian.
If you travel through or to Ireland, Finland, Malta, Norway or the UK the animal must be dewormed against Echinococcus multilocularis.
Assistance and service dogs
Assistance and service dogs such as guide dogs, rescue dogs, medical response dogs and autism assistance dogs, are not exempted from veterinary import requirements. They need to fulfil all import conditions for the non-commercial movement to the EU of pet dogs from non-EU countries.