Belgium follows the European Union Pet Passport system that has been in place since October 2004 covering the movement of dogs, cats and ferrets around, and into, Europe. This policy is adhered to by all European countries except the United kingdom, Ireland, Malta and Sweden which have their own extra rules on top of the EU Pet Passport programme. The United Kingdom has the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) that allows domestic pets to go back and forth without need for quarantine.
When coming to Belgium, individuals are permitted to bring up to five pets. Rules for bringing pets are a little different for people living in the European Union and people living outside and below are the guidelines;
All dogs in Belgium must be registered and have identification in the form of a microchip or tattoo (acceptable until 2011). Pet reptiles also need to be microchipped and other pets should be marked in a way that is permanent and allows owners to be located should the need arise. Cats must also be microchipped though they do not need to be registered like dogs.
The rabies vaccination is the only compulsory vaccination for pets and this should be administered to all dogs, cats and ferrets.
Bringing Pets to Belgium from within the EU
An EU Pet Passport is obtained by going to a vet in your country of residence. They will check the animal has been vaccinated against rabies, and that the vaccine is still active. They will also check if the animal has an identification chip or tattoo (until 2011) in the ear (for some countries only the chip will do). The passport has information about the animal such as the animal’s identification number, and evidence the rabies vaccine is current, and possibly more information on other vaccinations as well, and is valid for the duration of the animal’s life. Domestic animals without this passport will not be permitted into Belgium. Animals from rabies-free countries and under the age of three months are permitted into the country without a rabies vaccination as long as they are provided with a declaration stating they have lived in that country since birth and have not come into contact with animals that may have rabies. For UK citizens, information on extra requirements can be obtained from http://www.defra.gov.uk/
Bringing Pets from Outside the EU
Pets coming from outside the EU must have identification (chip or tattoo), as well as documentation that conforms with the requirements of the EU Pet Passport, and there may be other requirements depending exactly from which country you are coming. There is a list of countries approved by the EU for bringing pets, with the only requirement being a current rabies vaccination, and that can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/pets/list_third_en.htm
For pets coming from countries not on that list, they will need to have a rabies injection, then a blood test at least 30 days later and three months prior to actually travelling at an EU approved laboratory. These rules also apply should a pet leave Belgium for one of these unapproved countries, and wants to come back to Belgium. Once the pets arrive in Belgium they will not need to be quarantined.
Pets other than dogs, cats and ferrets may have other requirements, and for this it is largely dependent on where you are coming from, and for the best information consult your nearest Belgian Embassy/consulate as they will have information on requirements from your country.
Horses – Can be shipped directly into Belgium depending on country of origin, otherwise they may need to be quarantined upon arrival.
Pet rabbits and rodents – If from an EU country, these pets may move without vaccination or quarantine; if not, they must spend 6 months in quarantine.
Reptiles – May be imported without any problems, especially if travelling with the owner, though some breeds cited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) may be subject to different rules and this can again be checked with Belgium embassy/consulate or CITES http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalhealth/CITES/
Parrots and other birds – Can be brought, but must have a health certificate stating they are free from any diseases.
For questions you may contact the Belgian Veterinary Service before you travel:
SPF Sante Publique, Securite de la Chaine Alimentaqire et de l’Environment, DG Animaux Vegetaux et Alimentation, Plce Victor Horta 40 b. 10, Brussels 1060, Belgium. Telephone: +32 (0) 2 524 7320