Relocating your pet to Barcelona is a fairly straightforward process and easier than some of the other challenges you might encounter during the whole relocation/moving process. If you have your paperwork in order and are up-to-date with the latest regulations, you and your pet will be fine. We have listed below the latest requirements for relocating your pet (specific to Spain) but also recommend checking out a site like: http://www.petrelocation.com/ for the latest information on import requirements, or, if you need to make a general inquiry or seek further assistance.
As long as you are not “commercially” importing animals (which means that you are bringing less than five animals into the country with no intention to sell), the requirements are as follows:
- your pet must be at least three months or older (includes dogs, cats and even ferrets!).
- your pet will be identified by microchip or tattoo. Specifically, the microchip must meet the standards of ISO-11784 or ISO-11785 and if the microchip is not up to these standards, then it is your repsonsibility to provide the necessary equipment to read the microchip.
- your pet will require an official certificate issued by a proper veterinarian in your home country, and the certificate must state the following information:
- that you are the owner of the pet,
- a proper description as well as origin of the animal,
- the tattoo or microchip number, location and date it was planted,
- confirmation of rabies vaccine and that it is inactive.
Once you obtain this certificate from your vet, it is good for exactly four months or until the vaccine’s expiration date. Those without the certificate cannot bring their pet into Spain. Your vet should have these international health certificates in stock and they do not need to be translated, but it’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure they have it. It needs to be completed by your vet within 10 days of departure. Depending on the logistics of your particular pet relocation and the specific health certificate, an additional endorsement may be required; you should double check by calling a service like Pet Relocation (above) to make sure it’s needed.
Another consideration is that some airlines are a bit more “pet-safe” or friendly than others. Airlines that provide regular service to and from Spain include Continental, KLM, and Lufthansa. (From our chats with expats who have gone through the process, several recommend Continental for their pet-friendliness and providing best price for flying over your animal, too). Some “pet-safe” policies can include: making sure your pets are always climate controlled, never leaving them out on the tarmac and making sure they are the last ones on the plane and the first ones off. You can research these individual policies, which do change, by logging onto the various airline websites and seeing which ones provide the best and latest information regarding importation of pets into Spain.
When your pet or animal arrives into Spain, you will have to clear customs as owners of pets entering from outside the European Community are required to complete these formalities. An agent, travel company or airline should be able to do this for you and you will probably be charged. Alternatively, you might be able to make your own arrangements and this would involve contacting the Customs Authorities at your arrival point to obtain details of the necessary procedures and the appropriate Customs form. (Barcelona Airport – El Prat de Llobregat – +34 902 404 704, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
If your animal travels with you as luggage, the Customs Officers will process the entry into Spain, provided that you have completed all the necessary documentation. In the case your animal travels along, its entry will be processed by the Customs Officers unless they consider it necessary for the animal to be examined by a vet. If this happens, the animal will be housed in a Border Inspection Post (BIP) until the office opens to the public. The vet on site will process the entry into Spain when an authorized person (the owner) claims the animal.
(Additional information can also be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/pets/nocomm_third_en.htm)
It’s also good to discuss these charges with your travel/booking agent in advance as they might be able to provide you with the latest regulations or information.
There are also many full service pet relocation agencies available worldwide which are more than able to facilitate all of your pet’s travel arrangements. Services can include residential pickups and deliveries, flight bookings, airport check-in, customs clearance and import handling, assistance with health documentation, and anything else you or your pet might need. These services make life much easier, but with the service come added costs.
Here are the names of a couple of companies that might come in handy: