Mov­ing with pets


Living France - - Contents -

Your guide to the rules and reg­u­la­tions when tak­ing an­i­mals to France


Mi­crochip iden­ti­fi­ca­tion – the French au­thor­i­ties re­quire a Euro­pean stan­dard mi­crochip that con­forms to ISO 11784/5 norms. If your pet has a dif­fer­ent type of mi­crochip, it will be al­lowed as long as you bring the equip­ment that en­ables the au­thor­i­ties to read it. The old-style iden­tity tat­too is also ac­cepted as long as it’s still leg­i­ble and re­lates to a reg­is­tra­tion be­fore 3 July 2011 – the date the le­gal re­quire­ment changed.

Ra­bies vac­ci­na­tion – the an­i­mal must have an up-to-date ra­bies vac­ci­na­tion. In the case of the first vac­ci­na­tion, it must have been ad­min­is­tered at least 21 days prior to en­try into France. A po­ten­tial prob­lem could oc­cur if bring­ing very young pets to France be­cause in general they can­not be vac­ci­nated against ra­bies be­fore 12 weeks, so fac­tor this into your travel tim­ing if ap­pli­ca­ble.

EU pet passport – you need a pet passport, pro­vided by a li­censed vet, which in­cludes the an­i­mal’s date of birth, the mi­crochip

15-digit iden­tity num­ber and details of ra­bies vac­ci­na­tions (date of vac­ci­na­tion, date the booster vac­ci­na­tion is due and the batch num­ber).

Dan­ger­ous dogs – fight­ing dogs (cat­e­gory 1), such as pit bull ter­ri­ers and mas­tiffs, are for­bid­den in France. Guard dogs (cat­e­gory 2), such as some pit bull ter­ri­ers and Rot­tweil­ers, are al­lowed as long as you have a per­mit from the lo­cal mairie. Cer­tain reg­u­la­tions must be met to ob­tain the per­mit, in­clud­ing proof of civil li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance and proof that own­ers have been trained in how to han­dle these dogs and avoid ac­ci­dents. Ca­nine dis­ease – cer­tain ca­nine dis­eases are more preva­lent in France, such as leish­ma­ni­a­sis passed on by mos­qui­toes, so it is strongly ad­vised to check with a vet and pro­tect your pet dog as nec­es­sary be­fore en­ter­ing the coun­try.


You can only take up to five pet birds into France and each bird must have an own­er­ship cer­tifi­cate that tes­ti­fies to its good health. Check with UK au­thor­i­ties if a bird flu vac­ci­na­tion is nec­es­sary (60 days be­fore ar­rival) and whether the bird will need to be in iso­la­tion for 30 days prior to and af­ter ar­rival in France – this will de­pend on whether the UK is con­sid­ered a risk coun­try for avian flu at the time.


Your pet horse will need to be mi­crochipped and re­quires a horse passport. You don’t need a health cer­tifi­cate in ad­di­tion to the horse passport, but the an­i­mal should be in good health – EU vet ex­perts may be present to carry out on- the-spot in­spec­tions.

Bear in mind that you can­not trans­port horses through the Chan­nel Tun­nel be­cause of the air pres­sure. Plan the trip care­fully – in­clud­ing stopovers, food and wa­ter – to en­sure the com­fort and safety of your horse. If us­ing a trans­port com­pany, try to seek per­sonal rec­om­men­da­tions and if pos­si­ble meet the trans­porter in per­son to in­spect the ve­hi­cle and go over ar­range­ments in de­tail.

On ar­rival in France, you will need to reg­is­ter the horse on the SIRE data­base ( sys­tème d’in­for­ma­tion re­latif aux équidés).


These an­i­mals sim­ply re­quire a prac­tis­ing vet’s cer­tifi­cate stat­ing they are in good health. It is the same for a tor­toise, un­less it is a pro­tected species, in which case you’ll need an ex­port au­tho­ri­sa­tion. Mammals also need to have been checked for par­a­sites be­fore en­ter­ing France.


If you’re mov­ing fur­ther into the heart or south of France, air travel may come into the equa­tion. Some air­lines al­low smaller pets to travel with an adult in the cabin as long as they are in an air­line-com­pli­ant car­rier that can be stowed un­der the seat in front. How­ever, the an­i­mals should be booked to travel in ad­vance.

Pets that are not per­mit­ted to travel in the cabin with an adult pas­sen­ger can be trans­ported as checked-in bag­gage in the cargo hold. Unac­com­pa­nied and larger pets will travel as man­i­fest cargo in the hold, again in suit­able car­ri­ers. Nearly all air­lines per­mit recog­nised as­sis­tant an­i­mals, such as guide dogs, to travel in the cabin with their owner.

Dif­fer­ent air­lines have dif­fer­ent poli­cies re­gard­ing pet trans­port, dif­fer­ent ser­vices for tak­ing care of unac­com­pa­nied an­i­mals en route and dif­fer­ent price struc­tures, so check out which air­lines of­fer the best so­lu­tion for you and your pets.

For ex­am­ple, Air France per­mits ac­com­pa­nied pets un­der 8kg in the cabin; Bri­tish Air­ways and Thomson Air­ways do not per­mit an­i­mals in the cabin but will trans­port them in the hold; easyJet and Ryanair do not trans­port live an­i­mals full stop; and Vir­gin At­lantic has a Fly­ing Paws air miles scheme for cats and dogs (the only an­i­mal types it trans­ports).

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