how to get a pet passport

How to Get a Pet Passport – International Travel with Pets

From seasoned travelers to occasional vacationers, sometimes our best travel companions are our pets. Whether you’re headed off to an extended warm winter vacation spot to get out of the cold, or you’d just rather take in the sights around the globe with your four-legged friend in tow, travel documents for your pets are just as important as your own. Traveling with pets can be hard – taking into consideration their comfort as well as international travel requirements and regulations for pets, you’ll want to make sure your pets are healthy and up to date on their vaccinations. Don’t know if you have to have a pet passport? We’ll help guide you through the steps to obtain a pet passport and give you some tips on regulations for pet travel based on your travel destinations.

does my pet need a passport

While the PETS program is not standardized worldwide, obtaining the health certificates and vaccine records is important for international travel with your pets.

Does my pet need a passport?

The easy answer to whether or not your pet needs a passport is “no”. You don’t need to have a pet passport to travel internationally with your pet, but it can definitely make traveling with your four-legged family members a lot easier. In the U.S., a pet passport generally refers to the set of certificates and records you’ll need to have with you when you hit the airport. Different countries have different requirements for animals traveling to and from them. Be sure to check with your destination country to determine what vaccinations or health papers are needed to gain entry. The Pet Travel Scheme or PETS, which was introduced in the UK almost two decades ago was originally designed to better regulate vaccination and health standards for pets entering the UK from other European countries. In October 2001, other European nations adopted the program and over the last 15 years even more countries around the world have joined up to help travelers and their pets. Currently, any country that is a member of the Pet Travel Scheme can issue pet passports which allow pets to travel easily between member countries.

How to get a pet passport

In order to obtain a pet passport, you’ll need to have your pet examined by an accredited veterinarian that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Oftentimes, requirements include a microchip or tattoo to help identify your pet in the event they are lost at any point during your travel. Your pet passport may come in a small booklet or merely a handful of forms you’ll carry with you, so don’t be alarmed if your pet’s travel documents don’t look like your own passport. It is important to look into the pet travel requirements for the country you are traveling to; PETS is not yet standardized, so while the basic health forms are necessary, some countries require things like flea and tick treatments within a certain number of days before travel, titers tests, tapeworm, blood tests, or heartworm treatments, more inclusive health certificates and even breed bans or requirements. There are also things to take into consideration like the age of your pet, travel crate requirements and even airline policies.


traveling with pets

Ensuring your pets are up to date on vaccines and other treatments based on your destination country’s requirements is important before travel.

There will be a small fee to obtain a passport for your pet – depending on what your veterinarian charges for vaccines, health certificates and other blood tests, you’re looking at anywhere from $30 to upwards of a few hundred dollars. Because the PETS passport is not standardized in the U.S., your cost will vary based on what your vet and your destination country requires. Be sure to have your Annex IV and APHIS 7001 forms for the country you will be visiting.


While you certainly don’t need to rush out and get something labeled “Pet Passport”, you absolutely need to look into the documentation and time requirements needed for certain vaccines and treatments. Since every country has different expectations and required travel paperwork for your pets, it’s best to get started on obtaining the correct paperwork well in advance of your trip. While you’re busy getting your pet’s paperwork in order, be sure you’ve got your own passport handled. If you don’t already have your own travel documents in order, a great place to start is by obtaining a copy of your certified birth certificate. You’ll need it for your passport application and you’ll want a copy scanned digitally for your travels.

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