Moving abroad is an exciting prospect, there’s no doubt about it. But if you’ve had a life set up elsewhere for a long time the chances are you’ve got plenty of loose ends to tie up. You’ve probably also got a few challenges to overcome, like how to get that vintage Chesterfield sofa over at a reasonable price… or perhaps the more pressing issue of getting your beloved furry friends over to the new country.
When you’re looking for your perfect property in Marbella, you’ve already got your dog or cat’s wellbeing in mind. You know that an apartment in Elviria, beautiful as it is, won’t trump the stunning Estepona villa with the huge expanse of grass outside. Your life here is alive and well in your imagination, so now you just need to take the necessary steps to import your pet.
- Pet travel is easier than ever
Fortunately the European Pet Passport Scheme, otherwise known as PETS – the Pet Travel Scheme – has made it a lot easier for your animals to move abroad. They can even go on holiday! We doubt many would relish that option, though.
If you’re in Britain, your dog or cat is permitted to visit Spain and go back again and as long as a few boxes are ticked, there is no fear of a period in quarantine. However, this doesn’t mean the process is not lengthy and particular; you need to be fully conversant with requirements so that you don’t end up separated from your pet unexpectedly.
- You should plan ahead and check your routes
It would be a smart move to plan well ahead, and that means having a chat with the vet at least seven months before you plan to leave for Spain. You should also take into consideration that not all travel routes are part of the PETS scheme, so familiarise yourself with which ones are recommended (more details on that are below).
Whether you plan to come over by boat, aircraft or train, you’ll need to check your route is covered by the scheme. Once you’ve done this, you’re OK to arrange your travel.
- You need to get a pet passport
In order to qualify for your pet’s passport, certain conditions need to be met. Namely that your pet must receive a microchip from the vet, and that chip must be ISO certified. This simply means that it can be accessed by a standard microchip reading machine. Many people want to chip their pets anyway to prevent the chances of them going missing.
Although it used to be the case that pet owners would have to obtain separate certificates of treatment for ticks and tapeworm, a Declaration of Residence and an Export Health Certificate, they no longer need to. This information is all contained in the Pet Passport.
- Your pet needs microchips, vaccines and blood tests
The next step is to have your pet treated for ticks and tapeworm, and vaccinated against rabies. It must also have received the required booster shots, which should be certified either here in Spain or in your home country. If your pet is still a baby, you may have a problem; pets must be three months in age or more (and already have a chip) before your vet will vaccinate them.
There is a period to wait after vaccinations are administered, as your pet must then have a blood test to ensure the necessary antibodies are present. This is why you need a good few months to prepare – if the antibodies aren’t as they should be, another vaccination will need to be administered, followed by a retest. Only then will your pet be allowed to travel.
Note that every procedure has to be done by an official vet that has been authorized by the Government. If not, the passport will be invalid.
- Reentry to the UK may not be possible for a while
If heading back into the UK, it’s important to note that if your pet wasn’t already registered as chipped and vaccinated before February 2000, there will be a wait before it is allowed reentry. This is currently 6 months from the date of a passed blood test.
Your pet must receive treatment for ticks and tapeworm at least 48 hours before they are to enter the UK, and it’s important to make sure that this has been marked in the passport to avoid issues.
- There is more information available to you online
If you need further information on requirements, check out the many fact sheets on the DEFRA website (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). They’ll also tell you which routes have been authorized and who you can travel with.
Once all these procedures have been adhered to, you’re finally ready to emigrate to Spain. Paradise Marbella are here to help with any questions you have over your move, so feel free to pick up the phone or drop us a line any time.