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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.
- 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! 🙂