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How to get a Dog Passport in 2024 (Expert Guide)

Wondering about how to get a dog passport? You’re in the right place!

Leaving your dog behind is one of the most stressful parts of traveling, which is why getting a dog passport is one of the best things you can do for your furry best friend!

Obtaining a pet passport, or dog passport is not a straightforward task, but I can help! As a service dog handler that has traveled both with and without my dog, I definitely prefer when can bring Theo along with me during my international travels. 

Theo has now been to 4 countries in his first 2 years (and we’ll be making it over a dozen by the end of the year). We’ve had to obtain dog passports for many of these countries. I share the travel documents you need and the additional requirements for dog importation.

You’ll need a dog passport for moving abroad with your dog and for short trips abroad.

Let’s break down the details to determine what’s required to get a dog passport so that your pet can travel internationally.

Jack russel terrier in an airport with red sunglasses and a little red suitcase ready to travel

What is a pet passport?

A dog/pet passport is an official document that certifies a pet’s identity, well-being, and current vaccination status. It enables the pet’s transport to and from specific countries without needing special quarantine. 

All pets traveling to and from other countries are required to have a pet passport as well as other official documentation. This includes things like microchip number, an official veterinarian exam results (also known as an animal health certificate), and special requirements for individual countries visited.

A dog/pet passport isn’t a red or blue booklet like a human would have. In reality, it’s a stack of paperwork that certifies your dog has met the requirement for entering the country. 

I have to admit I was pretty bummed to find out it wasn’t a lil passport with Theo’s cute face in it.

Chihuahua in sunglasses in a black pet carrier at the airport ready to travel

How to Get Your Dog a Passport

In order to get a dog or pet passport you need to follow several steps. The requirements may be slightly different depending on the origin countries. There aren’t any overarching pet passport applications or universal rules that apply to all countries. 

Whether you’re traveling with a pet dog or a service dog, you will need to follow these steps to get valid pet passport.

But it is required to have the necessary documentation to travel with your dog. Let’s first review the pet passport USA steps.

How to Get a Dog Passport in the United States

To get a dog passport or pet passport in the USA, you will need to first schedule a vet appointment. Be sure to research the specific requirements of your travel destination in advance so you’re prepared. 

A dog passport in the United States is referred to as an international health certificate, and obtaining one will require various documentation, depending on your travel destination. 

Common dog passport requirements include

  • Rabies vaccination proof
  • Certificate of veterinary inspection/health certificate signed by a USDA-accredited veterinarian
  • Proof of microchipping (must be ISO compliant)
  • Rabies Titer Test
  • Travel certificate of a veterinarian visit within the past 30 days for a routine wellness check/physical.
  • Depending on the countries you’ve visited, your dog may also need tapeworm treatments

Dogs under 6 months of age are exempt from some of these rules since they aren’t old enough for certain shots. They need to wait to get their rabies vaccines until they’re older.

Service animals will still need one of these pet passports. However, the additional fee for the vet visit can be written off as a medical expense in most countries.

How to Get a Dog Passport in the European Union

To get a dog or pet passport in the European Union you will need several things. EU dog passports are only issued only in the EU by a licensed veterinarian. 

You will need to have: 

  • Proof of rabies vaccination at least 21 days or more prior to travel. 
  • Must be at least 15 weeks old (due to the vaccination requirements.) 
  • Antiparasitic tapeworm treatment (only in some countries)

An EU pet passport can also be obtained in Europe to help your dog move around Europe more easily. For example, Theo will be getting a European pet passport when we get to the EU to help make different country travel in Schengen more accessible.

You don’t need to be a resident or hold a visa to do this.

Dogs under 6 months of age are exempt from some of these rules since they aren’t old enough for certain shots. They need to wait to get their rabies vaccines until they’re older.

Pomeranian smiling at the camera while being held by its owner on a plane

Requirements for travel

Now that you have a dog passport, it’s important to properly prepare for travel. This dog travel checklist will ensure you’re ready to travel with your pet. 

If you’re from the United States, then requirements for travel are governed by the US Department of State. But you also have to check with the specific embassy of the country as the requirements for travel differ.

When I was trying to get Theo from Canada to the UK, I had to call the local embassy to check the service dog policies in the UK and their export health certificate requirements.

Even if you aren’t planning on immediately traveling with your dog, it can take some time to get a dog passport, so starting the process early is a good idea.  

However, some countries have time limits on these passports. Canada has a 15 day period from seeing the vet for the medical record to getting into the new country.

Not all airlines allow pets in cabin.

For the ones that do, the rules aren’t always well-defined. In general, if you’re traveling with a pet in cabin, it must fit within a TSA-approved pet carrier and fit underneath the seat in front of you. This makes flying with a large dog a lot more complex and requires additional planning to have them ride as cargo or as a “checked bag”.

Make sure to double-check the requirements with the specific airline before booking your flight!

If your dog meets the requirements for an in cabin pet, familiarizing him or her with the travel carrier is crucial.

Things that may help include putting favorite toys in the carrier along with a blanket or even one of your worn shirts, so that your dog feels safe. 

You can import your dog with a pet travel expert who will facilitate the shipping of your dog in cargo for an additional fee.

Golden retriever in a service dog vest lying on a towel on a plane

Importing a Pet 

The rules you must follow for importing a pet are based on the country you are going to and the country you came from. Importing a pet into the US means you are bringing a dog or pet into the United States from another country. 

Please note that commercial movement requirements are different than a non-commercial movement. Commercial movement means you are transporting more than 5 pets, the pet is being sold/given to a new owner, or the pet is traveling more than 5 days before the person designated to travel with the pet.

Pets entering the United States

Importing a pet into the United States is regulated by the CDC. The following 7 questions and requirements are the primary things to consider before bringing a pet to the United States.

  1. Has the dog/pet been in a high-risk rabies country within the past 6 months? 

There are several high-risk rabies countries according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). You will want to ensure you haven’t visited these countries, otherwise your dog will need additional testing.

  1. Is your dog at least 6 months old?

All pets entering the United States are required to be at least 6 months old. 

  1. Does your dog have an ISO-compatible microchip?

Your dog is required to be microchipped with an ISO microchip. ISO stands for International Standards Organization. The easiest way to tell if your dog’s microchip is ISO-compliant is to check with the manufacturer.

  1. Does the dog have a US-issued valid rabies vaccination certificate? 

If your dog is vaccinated against rabies you would need the documentation certifying this. The U.S. government has certain rabies vaccines they allow. If you are from a developed nation, you are very likely to have one that they approve of. EU member states, Canada, and the UK all use the same vaccines as the US.

  1. Does the dog have a CDC microchip and rabies vaccination record? 

These records can be obtained from a certified veterinarian. 

  1. Does the dog have a rabies serology titer result (not less than 45 days, but no more than 1 year) before arriving in the US? 

The test needs to be from an approved laboratory. This test certifies the amount of immune response to rabies (either by vaccination or exposure).

      7. How many dogs are you importing?

Are you importing more than 3 dogs? 

This doesn’t apply to most people, as you probably are just bringing one or two dogs with you. 

But if you have more, you may have to do additional tests or pay additional fees. The U.S. typically doesn’t want people bringing in multiple dogs. (The same goes for pet cats.)

Pets entering Canada

All pet import requirements to Canada are governed by CFIA (Canada Food Inspection Agency). 

Canada has a really easy-to-use online tool to select all of the correct answers to your situation for bringing a dog or pet into Canada. 

As long as your dog is over the age of 8 months old, you will only need a valid rabies certificate and for your dog to be transported into the country humanely. 

You may also be required to provide documentation that you are the owner of the dog. This must be the original, hard copies (not a digital copy).

If you are planning to come to Canada but want to go to the US, you will need to get a US dog passport for the border crossing.

Pet entering European Union

Traveling throughout the European Union (EU) is fairly easy for pet owners. Ensure that your dog (or pet) is up to date on rabies vaccinations and carry proof of this vaccination with you. 

You can only get an EU pet/dog passport from an approved vet in an EU country. A vet approval from the US, UK, or other countries will not be accepted.

Any pet entering into a European Union country from another country outside of the EU is also required to be microchipped, and over the age of 12 weeks (3 months). 

After all the requirements are met, just fill out the Annex II form and you will be ready to travel to the EU. The application form is pretty straight forward.

Remember that Europe is also full of non-EU countries with their own pet passport requirements.

Pets entering the UK

Since the United Kingdom is no longer a part of the European Union, there are different rules that apply to England, Scotland, and Wales. If you live there, for details contact (0370 241 1710 or email

PETS or Pet Travel Scheme allows the movement of pet dogs, cats, and ferrets traveling both in and out of EU countries (including Northern Ireland) without the need to quarantine. 

Starting in 2021, dog or pet passports issued in Great Britain or Northern Ireland are no longer recognized as valid by the EU PETS Travel Scheme.  

The UK is one of the most challenging countries to import a dog to since the rules are incredibly vague. I even called Heathrow’s customs agents, spoke to their Assistance Dog Board, and called multiple embassies to try to clear up their rules, but everyone had a different answer.

I know many people who just don’t bother going to the UK with their dog because of this. It can be a bit annoying with flights as Heathrow is a big spot for onward travel. But flying to Paris instead is a great way to skip the hassle.

Puggle with its ears blowing back in the wind on a sandy beach

FAQs: Dog passports

The most common pets to obtain a pet passport are dogs. And there are some common questions that you may have about the cost, duration, and other logistics for getting your dog a passport. This section should help clear up any lingering questions! 

How much does a dog passport cost?

A dog passport cost varies depending on the country it’s from. A US dog passport can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000. This depends on the fees of the vet clinic you visit and the state you’re obtaining the dog passport in. Some states have additional fees due to paperwork.

How long does it take to get a pet passport/dog passport?

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It depends on the requirements of the country you’re visiting. If the country you’re traveling to requires a rabies titer test, the results alone from the test can take a month to receive.

Does my dog need a passport to travel?

If you’re traveling domestically throughout the United States, your dog doesn’t need a passport. But, if you’re planning on traveling to internationally from the United States your dog will need a passport to travel. Its important to understand the specific requirements of importing a pet to your destination country.

Do pets need a passport to travel internationally?

If you want to travel with your pet internationally, your pet will need a passport. It doesn’t matter what country you’re traveling to or from if your dog is traveling to another country other than his/her origin a passport is required. Some countries do not accept imported pets at all.

Do dogs have passports?

Yes, dogs have passports. But rather than a formal booklet like humans have, a dog has a list of health information that is required to travel to an international destination. One of the main reasons to have a passport for your dog is to bypass some countries requirements of a quarantine period. 

How long does a dog passport last?

The good news is, once you go through the motions of obtaining a dog passport, unlike a human passport it doesn’t expire or require renewal. As long as the dog’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date the passport will be valid for the life of the pet. 

How to bring a dog from another country?

You must first ensure that the destination country will allow a dog from the origin country. Checking with airlines or the mode of transportation you’re traveling to that your dog is allowed. Then, obtaining the necessary paperwork and health checks for your dog to have a dog passport will be required. 

Can you apply for a pet passport online?

No, a pet passport cannot be applied for online. You’re required to bring your dog to the veterinarian for checkups and to fill out the necessary paperwork. You can research the requirements online and find a vet to begin the process but applying for a pet passport cannot be done online. 

Wrap-Up: Dog Passport

A dog passport isn’t an official document like a human passport. It’s basically a travel file of papers confirming your dog is healthy, up to date on vaccinations, and has been checked by a certified veterinarian. 

If you’re planning on traveling with your dog, you need to be sure you have documentation of several things.

In conclusion, start the process of a dog passport early and confirm the requirements of your travel destination and also those requirements of the origin country of your pet.

Happy travels to you and your best friend!

Don’t forget anything when traveling with your dog. Get my complete dog travel checklist free here!

Read More Travel with Dogs Tips!

Dog Travel Planning Guide

🐶 How do you travel with a dog?

You can road trip, go camping, fly (depending on your dog’s size), go for day trips, and even live in an RV or motorhome with your dog! I’ve done all of the above with my dog, Theo.

✈️ How to travel with a dog by plane?

Check the airline requirements, if you’re flying with a large dog you’ll need to book far ahead, get a travel crate or carrier, and make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations. And don’t forget to bring along a leash, collapsible dish, and plenty of treats! (Read more)

🚗 How to travel with a dog in a car?

Get a seatbelt or car-friendly crate, a seat protector, and a few toys to keep your pet safe and comfortable. Bring along items like a leash, pee pads, treats, collapsible bowl, and some calming treats for anxious dogs. Take frequent potty breaks (I recommend every 2 hours minimum).

🧳 What should I pack in my dog travel bag?

I always pack a collapsible bowl, back up leash, 50ft long leash, Toppl food toy, plenty of dog food, and a few toys for my pup when we go on our travels. It’s important to have all the essentials packed before you leave home since it can be difficult to find pet-friendly stores in some locations. (Read more)

📝 What paperwork do I need to travel with a dog?

The paperwork you need will depend on where you’re going. You will always need your dog’s veterinary records and their vaccine status. You may also need an international health certificate, titre test, and even a spay/neuter certificate.

🐾 What is the best travel dog crate?

This collapsible crate is great for local travel and road trips. For plane travel, I recommend this hard crate for large breeds and this carrier for small breeds.

📍What is the best way to travel with a dog?

It depends! The best way to travel will depend on you and your dog. Small dogs will have an easier time with plane travel. Large breeds are better for long term trips to minimize plane time, or road trips.

🛌 Best dog travel mat?

This non-slip, water-proof, easy to wash travel mat is my go to!

✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?

To find cheap flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?

To find cheap hotels, I recommend

Or stay for free with Trusted Housesitters!

🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?

To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.

🚗 What’s the best site to find tours?

To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.

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