What You Need To Know About Traveling To Spain With Pets From The USA

Some people just can’t imagine life without their pets. Even if it’s only for a week or two.

For many, pets aren’t just animals companions, they’re family. Whether you’re traveling to Spain for a vacation or thinking about relocating to the country permanently you may wish to bring your pets along for the ride. But is this even possible?

Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Spain with pets from the USA:

Can You Bring American Pets To Spain?

Though it can be complicated the simple answer is yes. You can travel with a pet from the USA to Spain no matter how long you’re staying in the country for. In practice though this is an intensive process that will involve a tonne of paperwork and loads of EU rules that you’ll have to adhere to.

Your pet will be subjected to several vet checks in order to obtain various health certificates and fit to fly documentation. Your pet will need to have had all relevant vaccations and you will need to complete what can feel like endless paperwork. This is because your pet is based outside the EU.

The good news is that once your in the EU moving from country to country will be much easier as your pet can be issued an EU pet passport via the Pet Passport Scheme. This is something to consider if you’re moving to Spain as it means you wil be able to take your pet on vacation to other EU countries with you.

Are There Limitations On The Types Of Pets I Can Bring To Spain?

U.S. citizens hoping to travel with conventional pets such as cats and dogs can secure the documentation they need and travel with them to Spain. But what if you have a more unusual pet in your menagerie?

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EU authorities, including Spain, define a pet as a privately-owned companion animal not intended for research or resale.

In simple terms the animals that fit into this category and that you can travel with to the EU are dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, rodents, hedgehog/tenrecs, reptiles, amphibians and pet birds (non-poultry). Any animal that doesn’t fall into these categories isn’t considered a pet and you will need to look at livestock rules to travel with them to Spain.

Are All Dogs Welcome In Spain?

Some dogs are considered to be dangerous dogs in Spain and there are special rules in place for their ownership. If your dog is one of the following breeds then you must register it with the American Kennel Club, register it within 3 months of entering Spain, and it must wear a muzzle when outside of your home in the country.

These breeds are Staffordshire terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Brazilian Mastiff, Rottweilers, Tosa Inu and Akita Inu.

The Rules For Entering Spain With A Pet From The U.S.

  • Each individual can only travel with a maximum of 5 pets
  • Your pets must be at least 12 weeks old and have been given a rabies vaccination. If your pet has has their first rabies vacinnation then you cannot travel until 21 days after it has been administered.
  • Your pet must be identified by a microchip (standard ISO 11784 or annex A ISO standard 11785) or a tattoo. In case of identification with a tattoo, the tattoo must be clearly readable and applied before July 2011 as this standard has now been replaced by microchipping.
  • You must get a health certificate from your veterinarian and this must be endorsed by USDA. USDA endorsement is required for all certificates except those issued by military veterinarians for dogs, cats and ferrets.

How Long Is This Health Certificate Valid For?

We advise that you book your flights before you get your USDA endorsed health certificate for your pet as this official health certificate will be valid for 10 days, from the date of endorsement until the date of your arrival in Spain.For maritime travel, the 10-day window is extended for a period equal to the duration of the voyage.

This certificate continues to be valid for the purpose of further movements within the EU for up to four months from its date of issue, but if you will be in Spain for longer than this then further paperwork will be required.

What Happens When You Arrive In Spain?

When you arrive in Spain by air from the U.S. the authorities in the country myst be informed of your arrival before you fly and the only airports that are equipped to process pets from outside do the EU are the international airports in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Valencia or Tenerife de Sur.If arriving by boat, the ports approved for the import of pets are Algeciras, Almería and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

How your pet can travel will depend on the rules laid out by your airline. They are likely to be allowed to travel in the cabin, as checked baggage or air cargo.

Pets do not need to quarantine, as long as all entry requirements outlined above are met, particularly the health check requirements. If you’re ready to enter Spain with your pets then the application and declaration form required for entry into Spain can be downloaded here.

Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Looking to leave the USA and make an escape to the sun? Then why not get in touch with our local property experts, who are perfectly placed to help you buy the Spanish home of your dreams. We’re excited to help you make your next move your best move