Bringing Your Dog to Europe.

After nearly 20 years of sitting in a desk, I have decided to chase freedom. My goals are simple: Build a mission-driven company that makes a large social impact. Value my time and energy above all else. Connect with other inspiring thought leaders. Create excellent work-life balance. Chase global adventure, while giving my clients excellent customer service and immeasurable returns on their investment.

No more short vacations! No more tourism on the run! No more being nagged by my boss back home!

For me to build the life I want to live, I have to consider my dog, Freddy Mercury. Since I never want to leave him behind, I need to secure the necessary paperwork to make him nomadic, too.

Below is my guide for getting your pet in and out of Europe—the Azores, specifically. It’s not a definitive guide, so consult your veterinarian first. I also found a few websites especially helpful—and list them at the end.

  1. I schedule an appointment with my NYC veterinarian, Dr. Levine. Thankfully, he is well-versed in getting dogs in and out of Europe. He fills out my 8-page International Travel Form for Portugal. In it, he certifies that my dog has (1) an ISO-compliant 15-digit microchip and (2) an up-to-date rabies vaccination (given after his original microchip). He also gives me a signed rabies certificate. (The International Travel Form costs $13.00.)

  2. After, I must to send these documents to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) for certification. This certification must be completed within 10 days of Freddy Mercury’s arrival in Europe. Because the window is so tight, I opt to send the documents to USDA by Fed-Ex overnight and include a pre-paid return FedEx envelope in the package. Having been burned by the US Postal System in the past, I only trust private mail carriers for this kind of important work. (Fed-Ex Overnight mail and return costs $128.79.)

  3. I follow the instructions provided by my vet and mail to the USDA: (1) the 8-page International Travel Form, (2) a signed rabies certificate, and (3) a $38 check to the USDA. (You can also pay by money order or credit card. Please note that if your travel country requires a Rabies Titer Test, the fees may be higher.)

  4. Within 3 days of sending, I receive the certified documents back. I breathe out a sigh of relief. Freddy and I are ready for our flight!

  5. I fly on SATA Airlines out of Boston to Ponta Delgada. SATA charges me $100 and allows me to put Freddy in his carrier at my feet. He rests comfortably (thanks to a mild tranquilizer from the veterinarian) on our flight.

  6. In Ponta Delgada Airport, we are sent to the airport veterinarian. As of April 2019, Freddy is only the 55th dog on the island of Sao Miquel! She stamps his paperwork (a process that takes less than 10 minutes) and we’re free to go!

  7. A couple weeks into our trip, I find an EU veterinarian, Dr. Marco Andre Melo, through a quick Google search. I take Freddy along with the (1) International Travel Form and (2) signed Rabies Form to the clinic sans appointment. In less than 30 minutes, Dr. Melo’s office issues Freddy a E.U. Passport. (The visit and E.U. Passport cost $10.)

  8. I expect to return to Europe frequently with Freddy. This E.U. Pet Passport gives me flexibility to enter the continent easily, as well as travel between E.U. countries. This document alone is sufficient, meaning that I don’t have to do the expensive process with my veterinarian and the USDA again. Please note that certain countries (i.e., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Malta or Norway) have additional requirements, including tapeworm treatment one to five days prior to entry.

  9. To return home to the United States, I check the USDA APHIS website again. I only need a valid rabies certificate to return to the United States. To be safe, I go back to see Dr. Melo three days before my trip. Because veterinary care is so good in the Azores—and cheap—I opt for the works! Freddy has a dental cleaning, his annual allergy shot and his E.U. Passport signed (certifying his health for re-entry to the USA). (The entire visit costs me $100.)

Total Costs:

Freddy & I are now global citizens ready for international adventures.

Freddy & I are now global citizens ready for international adventures.

  • USA veterinary visit to obtain the International Travel Document: $130

  • Overnight Mail (to and from USDA): $128.79

  • USDA Fees: $38

  • Flight To and From Azores (for Freddy): $200

  • EU Passport Issued by EU Veterinarian: $10

Helpful Websites:

  1. USDA APHIS: A comprehensive site that lists requirements to travel with pets to and from Europe.

  2. Preparing Your Dog for European Travel.

  3. How to Get An EU Pet Passport.