如何帶你的寵物去愛爾蘭 – bringing your pet to Ireland

As promised I start my ‘Emigration’ section for Ireland, Poland and our experience on F/H-visas in America. I will need to remodel the category section on the blog, but I will do it when I finally have a proper Internet connection instead of using my limiter phone Internet and the phone as a hot-spot.

IMG_4552All sort of things will show up – from the spousal visa interviews to how to get EU1 card or even citizenship. But I have to start with the most important thing: bringing your pet to Ireland.

When we had got a suggestion from Sing’s company to move here I knew that either the three of us go (and by three of us I mean me, Sing and Biscuit not me, Sing and Momzilla as she recently popped out with the idea of moving to Europe) or no non of us. The thing I didn’t know was how emotionally exhausting and expensive it will be. We got tricked by one of the airlines and lack of information on the Internet so I hope it will hope any of you who wants to bring your pet from the States to Ireland.

I have no experience with other countries, but my fellow blogger are moving to South Korea with her husband and the rules for her cat are totally different, including the entrance so if you have ANY experience with moving your pet abroad – please share in the comment section or give a link to your blog post if you covered that topic before! Let’s help all the pet lovers!

Why I mentioned we got tricked by the airline? I called United Airlines about the flight from San Francisco to JFK and from there directly to Shannon, Ireland. The lady said it’s not a problem, cat can be in the cabin with us, just need to be in the cabin size pet bag. As you probably figured that out – it’s nothing like that.IMG_4411

If you want to bring your pet from America to Ireland ONE AND ONLY WAY to do it is with help of pet travel agency called PET EXPRESS (click here to get their side). And it’s gonna be expensive. I even e-mail the Department of Agriculture in Ireland – that’s how badly I didn’t want someone else to be involved into bringing Biscuit to Ireland, but they just e-mailed me back with a link to Pet Express site and said that’s the only way she can enter.

My personal experience with them is so so – they almost always e-mailed me back, but also they were giving me mixed signals so I had to pick up a rabies certificate for Biscuit for 5 (sic!) times or mixed up the veterinatian! So I will tell you what to prepare and how to prepare for your adventure with them, trust me – it will save you so much stress!

FAQ – cat moving to Ireland

1. When to start the procedure with Pet Express?
Three weeks should be enough, just be sure your cat has been vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days before the departure. Also make sure your pet was microchipped AFTER the rabies shot and that the microchip is the model. If not the best thing you do is re-microchip the pet instead of buying a special scanner. We got Biscuit in 2013 with the new model of microchip so probably most of the pest after that year are microchipped with the right chip.

2. How much does it cost? 
I read experience of people from other parts of the US and it was always from $1500 to over $2000. For us the cost for PE service itself was $1495.00 with the crate we bought from them, but WITHOUT veterinary expenses.
You’re in charge of:IMG_4443

  • rabies vaccination + certificate
  • ISO microchip
  • USDA endorsement ($38)
  • US International Health Certificate (APHIS7001)
  • Health Exam
  • Custom Clearance Import Processing
  • Prior approval
  • EU ANNEX IV (non-commercial)

I think we can say that with all the visits we paid $1700-$1800 – since I had to go to Dublin on my own and pick her up. There’s an option to pay through PayPal so if you can use your PayPal Credit (old BillMeLater) that is the right thing to do. They require $250 deposit to start the process.

3. What are all these documents?
It looks scary, but it’s not. Your pet should be microchipped and vaccinated so all you need to do is get their certificate. The rabies certificate should be written in blue ink and signed by the vet who gave the injection.
With rabies certificate you take your pet for a vet exam, 10 days prior to the trip . The doctor will do a health check up to see if your pet is good to go and will sign the APHIS7001 and EU Annex IV.
With APHIS7001, EU annex and rabies certificate you go to USDA office near SFO for USDA endorsement. You cannot pay for the endorsement by cash, remember to bring your card. After that you will be good to go.
Now make 4 extra copies of each document: rabies certificate, USDA document, EU annex and health certificate – it will go to Pet Express, original documents will go to the airline, rest is for the customs etc.
About custom clearance and prior approval. Prior approval is not up to you – your pet will get it from the veterinarian that does the check-up at the arrival. He/she will send the documents to the airlines and in Dublin, where you pick up your pet (the only port where pets can enter) – you will have to go to Terminal 3 with Cargo section and the airline that takes care of your pet will send you to Aer Lingus Custom Section. At that place you will have to write your name, address, etc. – everything you’ve already written before on every possible form. With that custom stamp you go back to the cargo of your airline, you pay 35EURO for the approval (for Lufthansa, but the price can range from what we paid up to 250 EURO at the top of the Pet Express fee) and voila. You can now get your Jelly Bean back.

4. Can  the pet go with me inside the cabin?IMG_4553
Unfortunately, NO. It doesn’t matter if you come from EU or outside EU – no pet is allowed toenter Ireland inside the cabin. Only cargo.

5. Does my pet need to be dewormed? 
If it’s a cat it does not need to be dewormed. If it’s a dog it needs to be dewormed for tapeworms 5 days prior the trip.

6. When should I get my pet’s health certificate, EU annex and USDA done?
Documents are valid for 10 days (in case of Ireland, for some other countries it might be up to 30 days but no more than that) so try to get it done in between. We had the veterinarian visit on the 25th and USDA on 26th of February, while our flight was on the 2nd of March.

7. Where can I get the health certificate form and EU annex IV form?
You and your vet will be provided the blank forms and guided how to fill it up. Honestly the directions they gave me were confusing, Pet Express did not inform me I need to fill it up mostly by myself and the vet just compares the documents and signs it! That’s why I’m providing you with their guide long before your eventual flight with my comments where it is up to you to fill up and what to leave for the vet!

Click here for EU ANNEX IV guide

ANNEX1ANNEX2annex3Click here for HEALTH CERTIFICATE guide
hc

And remember: THE VETERINARIAN WHO ISSUES THE HEALTH CERTIFICATE AND EU ANNEX MUST BE USDA APPROVED. If you’re not sure about your vet – either ask the person who you work with at Pet Express or ask your USDA office.

8. How can I get my USDA appointment?
For San Francisco area you need to either call +1 (650) 876-9358 or e-mail the staff at sfo.portservices@aphis.usda.gov . In both of the cases you need to leave your name, destination country, name and type of the pet etc. I personally contacted them through the e-mail and if you want to avoid the uncomfortable talk after the ‘BEEP’ then I would recommend you to do the same.

Few tips for your pet’s trip:

  • Put your pet’s favorite blanket and a piece of your cloth to the crate – avoid scarf, it’s a choking hazard. Same for stuffed toys – they can harm your pet during the flight.
  • Pet Express provides the ice cubes in the food trays inside the crate but it’s up to you to pack the pet’s food, medication etc. They will also provide ‘Live animal’ stickers and pee pads. I added one more inside, just in case. IMG_4678
  • If your flight is not a direct flight (for some reason Aer Lingus from SFO is forbidden to take animals – don’t ask me why, that’s just what Pet Express told us) your pet will have a comfort stop when it will be fed, given something to drink or if it’s a dog it will be taken for a walk. For Biscuit it was an overnight stay at Lufthansa’s Pet Cargo, but don’t worry – they have excellent reputation and they are the biggest pet port in Europe. If the flight is a direct one, your pet won’t be fed it will only have ice cubs to later melt into water so feed your pet no longer than 4h before giving it to the Pet Express employee.

Tip for the owner:

  • Don’t cry – it will be stressful for your pet to travel in the cargo area, but now the pets are in the same environment as people – oxygen level is modified, it has aircon/heating. Everything should be fine.
  • Don’t try to ask the staff if they can take your husband to cargo instead of the cat (if they could, Sing would have a once in a life time experience to see Lufthansa’s cargo!)
  • Ask if you don’t know anything (besides the husband in the cargo thing – won’t work)
  • Don’t panic at the cargo area at the day of the departure when you hear that your pet is NOT OK TO GO – when the Pet Express Staff arrives they will hold the rest of the documents needed for your pet to go, they just don’t tell you that and you have a small heart attack. I almost threw up from the stress. Hopefully with my tip you won’t go trough that!
  • Be prepared for the revenge – the death-stare is not a part of it. Biscuit did not pee inside her cage, not at all. But she chose a brand new pillow I just got from IKEA. The only IKEA in the whole Ireland. IKEA over 200km away with no online store. That beautiful pillow went to trash after 24h since I bought it.

Let me know if there’s something you’re interested in but I forgot to mention it in Q&A or share your experience with moving abroad with pet! Also let me know what other emigration issues you wish me to cover in future! 🙂

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31 thoughts on “如何帶你的寵物去愛爾蘭 – bringing your pet to Ireland

  1. Bringing a pet to another country can be sometimes harder than the whole process of getting the papers for a human…
    Actually we were also supposed t get a couple of vaccinations for our bunnies when we moved toGermany (oops forgot it/ didn’t want to pay 500euros for a single vaccination is Finland!). We were only able to avoid it as we brought our pets by ship without notifying anyone (hope you don’t read this cleaning staff from the ship, the bathroom did smell terribly after the trip thank for our bunnies staying there for 26hours…)

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    1. and surprise ‘chocolate M&Ms’ on the floor 😀 I;’m glad you were able to do that, I’m sure you take enough care of them so they are not any bio hazard 😉 if I could do that I would do the same for Biscuit. 500 for a single injection is ridiculous!

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  2. I don’t think the airline intentionally tried to trick you. There are different rules set by customs in every country and it’s not the airlines responsibility to know them. You’d think they’d know enough to at least tell you that though, instead of assuming it was okay!

    I know some of my friends have taken their pets from China to the US or Canada and haven’t had too much trouble. US customs is pretty lax about it–most pets don’t have to be quarantined (which can get very expensive) and they can go directly with the airline instead of through a company.

    Thanks for the information. It is very interesting!

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    1. I don’t think so either but I really wish she told me she has no clue instead of saying yes, yes. I almost booked that flight! And every few days someone keep changing things, last 10 days before the departure were a nightmare. Never again 😀 I also heard it’s much easier to take a pet to America – much more pet friendly 🙂 but what I found out was that the US is actually not rabies free! didn’t expect that!

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  3. You had me laughing with Biscuit peeing on the Ikea pillow. Perfect revenge (but she doesn’t know Mama might be able to buy it on line. He he) and Sing in the cargo. Thank you for my weekly giggles!

    10 years ago Mr AJ flew from the UK to Spain via a pet courier. The process has changed a bit with vaccinations, but the day before I flew he was picked up and the noise he made as they took him away I’ll never forget. I felt awful, but 2 days later we were reunited. I picked him up from Barcelona’s cargo terminal and there he was on the back of a fork lift truck in his box like nothing happened! Last time I travelled from France to Spain with both boys, it was the standard check and passport stamp (my boys have passports!) a few days before. The process with rabies vaccinations has changed and I don’t think the boys have to have annual rabies vaccinations now, just if they travel.

    Anyways it looks like Biscuit’s settled in and enjoying the sunshine!

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    1. Mommy didn’t enjoy her revenge 😀 I’m glad it was easier for you! do you have any information about taking pet into the mainland EU countries in the cabin? I mean when you fly lets say from Spain to Italy – can you take your pet inside the cabin if it’s small or needs to always be in cargo like Ireland?
      My Biscuit now has rabies in 2018, the first one is in X year and in X+1, then later X+3 🙂

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      1. Travelling within Europe with the cats, we go by car. It’s easier for everyone and cheaper! Mr AJ 10 years ago had to fly cargo and I believe that all animals flying into the UK have go in the cargo hold which is why a lot of animal couriers to and from Europe go by van (Euro Star) or ferry. Within main land Europe I’m don’t know the requirement as my boys go by car! I do remember that the cost of flying him over was 1/2 the cost of moving the house contents to Spain! xo

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  4. Thank you very much for the insight! I see we have three things in common: we love cats, we have a HK bf/ husband and we have a monster-in-law. Great!

    I have a question abou that Pet Express servive you mentioned. Why is it compulsory? What did they exactly do for you? Is that for Ireland only? I never heard of it even though I made my research about bringing pets to Europe (Italy in my case).

    Thank you for your help!

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    1. totally not worth the money, but as Department of Agriculture in Ireland told us, from the US taking Pet Express to take care of us is the only way. but honestly I think it’s different for other countries. I was so upset because for so much money the flight itself was 180usd and the control in Frankfurt was 35 euro. the rest is their fee and cage. they only checked the documents, sent me the forms for annex and health certificate, later checked if I can go for USDA and picked her up (40 minutes late!) from the airport. Plus booked the flight. It might seem much when I write it down, but 90% of it I could either do without them or I actually had to deal with it on my own. Also I hated the feeling that I wasn’t in control, a lot of information were different from each other – I had to go 5 times for the health certificate and Biscuit was dewormed when she didn’t need to since it’s only for dogs :/ so I just hope my advice can help other people dealing with PE. From where exactly you wish to take your pet? What kind of pet it is? Some ports can(not) handle animals

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      1. My pet is a two-years-old cat and I will be moving her from Taipei to Milan. I checked online and it seems like Milan airport should accept pet transit.

        We will probably be moving next summer and I am already SO stressed out about it :\

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  5. Hi!
    I was wondering how Biscuit took it “psychologically”. Was she very disturbed afterwards? I’m going to move with my two cats from one European country to another this summer, and it’s “just” a two-hours-flight, but I’m worried nevertheless. My cats are usually really scared if I just take them to the vet (ten minutes from my appartment) and they are meowing (loudly) all the time, so I’m not sure if I should take them in the cabin. How many days did it take for Biscuit to “recover” from the journey?

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    1. I don’t know how it looks with two cats – I think you can have one pet in per person in the cabin if the airline allows, plus they have some limits like 5 pets in total, but it all depends on airline you will chose. Make sure to check if your port of destination allows the animal to enter there. As for Biscuit’s mental state – she’s normally quite like your kitties, meow a lot unless my hand is patting her head. She was mad when I left her at the cargo area, I have no idea how she was in Frankfurt since Pet Express just said ‘she’s doing good’. But when I greeted her she meowed a lot, then she was fine, bit stressed, but when I took her to the train (I had to take her from Dublin to Limerick ~2,5h away) she even fell in a deep sleep! She was bit suspicious for the new home, but after hour or two she was jumping all around, later fell asleep. So I assume she was just normally stressed, then physically tired, but overall she was fine.
      If possible check that in case of putting pets to the cargo, will the airline allow your kitties to stay together. Pet Express stated that if the crate is big enough it’s fine to put two cats together – I bet being together will make them feel better 🙂 hopefully your kitties will be as fine as Biscuit!

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  6. I brought my kitty from the US to Japan! It was a huge pain but I was able to have her in the cabin with me the whole time (we flew United). She peed through a couple pads and didn’t eat or drink the whole time, and was clearly unhappy but actually never freaked out (and usually on car rides, she’s meowing nonstop). When we got to my apartment, she ran under the sofa but soon enough she was out exploring and adjusted pretty easily, all things considered. Fortunately no pillows got peed on as revenge…

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  7. oh yeah, and customs went smoothly because all my paperwork was in order – we went into a small room together and they checked her microchip and then we were free to go. There was no real quarantine where I was separated from her – I was able to be by her side start to finish!

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  8. Thank you so much for this!! You are a life saviour!

    Can you give us a few more tips on how to fill in the identification certificate? What should we write in “consignee” and “consignor”? Also, who provides with the certificate reference number?

    I’m travelling with my cat from Singapore to Spain and need to fill in the same form. I’ve called the Department of Agriculture in Spain, and even called the control personnel at the airport in which I’ll be arriving. I spoke and emailed with them but no one is able to explain how to fill in the form!

    Thank you so much!
    Andrea

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