If you’re reading this you’re likely considering a move to Portugal for yourself and relocating pets also, and no furry family members can’t get past international borders on cuteness alone, they need a passport and/or to go through a process for an international move just like the rest of us. So you’ll need to understand what’s involved and how to make it happen – we hope this article is helpful in you doing just that.
Much like people, your pet will need to comply with certain health regulations and have supporting documents (or personal pet passport if in the EU) to travel and/or relocate.
The country you’re coming from, the type of pet you have, and their current health will be the key factors in their relocation planning. If moving within the EU the process could take a few weeks, or 6 months or more if outside the EU, so planning will be important especially if you are looking to make the move together.
If they’ve never traveled internationally or relocated before they may also need some time to adjust emotionally to settle in your new home.
Pet & Animal Type
Portugal’s pet relocation regulations are in line with those of the EU and fall within the ‘personalised pet passport’ system including; cats, dogs, and ferrets. We will cover pet passports, for these pets, category in this article.
If however, you have other pets, or animals for commercial purposes we recommend you speak to your in-country veterinarian about European standard vaccines and microchips and their ability to organize these for you, and/or Portugal’s DGAV for details specific to your pet or animal.
Microchip & Vaccine Requirments
Not all microchips and vaccines are the same. The EU uses microchip standards ISO 11784 or 11785, these are preferred due to microchip reading scanners. Others may be accepted but you will need to travel with the reader so your pet can be scanned on arrival.
Rabie vaccines should also be checked with your veterinarian to ensure they match the EU accepted standards. If your pet is moving to Portugal from a high-rabies considered country it will require a rabies vaccination or booster after its microchip, a minimum 30 day waiting period, followed by a titer blood test. If the blood test results are within acceptable limits your vet will be able to proceed with the health certificate in preparation for your travel date.
Moving Pets Within The EU
If you are already living in the EU and moving between EU member states your pet will simply require a valid rabies vaccination verified by a licensed veterinarian and a microchip that links to their passport. If your pet has been microchipped after receiving its vaccination it may require a new vaccination and verification, so do check this with your vet. Once both vaccines and microchips have been certified by your vet, you can proceed to apply for your pet’s passport and your vet should be able to handle this for you.
If your pet has never traveled before you may also want to consider a general health check for their safety and to manage possible anxiety with the trip and move.
Pets From The UK
As of January 1st, 2021, UK residents’ pets will no longer have EU pet passports but instead need EU standard microchips, rabie vaccines, and also present an animal health certificate by a licensed veterinarian for entry into Portugal.
If you plan on traveling regularly with your pet you will need a new health certificate issued each time you travel, issued by your vet, and within 10 days of your travel date.
Pets of UK citizens resident in Portugal or the EU will still have a pet passport that can be used to travel to member counties, the UK, and will still have the ability to enter back to the EU.
Pets From Outside The EU
Pet’s from outside the EU need to fulfill the same requirements as those within the EU, but also meet the requirements set out for their countries rabies-free, controlled and high prevalence rating and ensure their pet meets the entry conditions or they will not be granted entry into Portugal. A health check and certificate done within ten days of travel by a licensed veterinarian will also be required.
Puppies & Kittens
Non-vaccinated pets regardless of age or country of origin, including EU member states will not be granted a pet passport or permitted entry into Portugal.
Vaccinated puppies and kittens from rabies-free and controlled countries will be accepted after 12 weeks of age and a 21 day waiting period with licensed vet certification. Puppies and kittens from high rabies counties will need to be a minimum of 7 months of age and meet the standard requirements to be granted entry to Portugal.
Moving Multiple Pets
Portugal allows for up to 5 five pets, (cats, dogs, ferrets) to be transported and enter the country under non-commercial regulations. If you want to move more than 5 pets will need to organise with your in-country vet and Portugal’s DGAV, and ensure you meet the commercial requirements for transport.
Banned & Dangerous Dog Breeds
Portugal has identified dog breeds it considers dangerous or potentially dangerous and in need of restriction. These are characterised by physical and behavioural attributes such as; dog size, jaw strength, and natural aggression inclination that may pose a public risk.
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasileiro
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Tosa Inu
- Pit Bull Terrier
Dangerous Dog Behaviors
- Bitten, attacked or offended a person’s body or health
- Seriously injured or killed another animal outside the keeper’s property
- Had complaints to the above declared to its holder and/or parish council of its area of residence
- Considered dangerous or potentially dangerous by the competent authority due to its aggressive or physiological behaviour
If your dog is listed in the potentially dangerous category this does not mean you won’t be able to move him/her to Portugal, you will however need to apply and annually renew a ‘Dangerous Dog Owner License’, issued by the ‘Junta de Fregusia’, your local town council.
Dangers Dog Owner License Requirements
- Owner must be at least 18 years of age and deemed responsible for a potentially dangerous animal
- Owner must have verifiable enrolment in a dog security training course or certificate of completion
- Pet health documentation by a licensed veterinarian
- Record of dog’s historical aggressiveness
- Demonstrate proper animal housing and confinement for the security of pet and community
- No criminal record
- Civil liability insurance (dog training certificate required)
- SIAC Registration
Dangerous Dog Oversight & Liability
Owners of a dangerous pet should be aware they may be asked at any time to show their proof of license. Failing to do so, or not complying with the required licensing may result in a fine and/or be at risk of a misdemeanour offense.
Safe But Dangerous Looking Dogs
If your dog is not on the dangerous dog list but looks like a dangerous breed or is a mixed breed, it’s best you take the same precautions as a dangerous breed while traveling. It would also be in your and your pets best interest to speak to Portugal’s DGAV for guidance on transporting your pet.
Pet Handling When Traveling
Moving internationally can be as stressful on people and pets. Even if your pet is normally very calm, they too are having their lives and environment change completely they may see and be forced into situations they are uncertain or fearful of.
They may express themselves through a range of emotions; confusion, fear, anxiety, excitement, to nervousness depression, and aggressiveness. If you know your pet well you’ll be able to see the difference in their behavior, this will be a time when you’ll need to show them affection, reassurance, patience, and direction. Below are a few tips for their safety, yours and those coming in contact with them during your travel and until you get properly settled in your new home.
- Never leave your pet alone in public
- Always use a lead when in public
- Feed your pet a light meal and food they handle well. This is not the time to try new foods
- Ensure they have water available
- Let your pet walk, release nervous energy, and spend time with you before crating
- Place a blanket or toy they love with them in crate or carrying case
- Speak calmly and show them affection
Additional Precautions for Dangerous Dogs
- Lead or harness no longer than one meter from collar to you
- Consider a muzzle for moments when they will need to interact with others or be in public
- Ensure constant security of your dog, and if not well socialised secure your pet to prevent its escape until you’re in a safe environment
- Clearly identify and label your dog’s crate so transfer handlers know how to manage him/her
Service & Guide Dogs
As service and guide dogs are trained to assist owners with disabilities most airlines will allow your service dog to travel with you in the cabin. Their transportation is usually free of charge and they will not require a pet carrier.
They will however still need to have the required microchip, vaccines, medical certificates, and you will also need to present a medical certificate to verify your need for a guide dog.
You will also need to give your destination airport 48 hour advanced notice of your arrival.
Airlines & Travel
Not all airlines have the same pet travel policies. Some are very pet friendly and your pet can travel on the same day and in-cabin (small pets) with you. Others may have specific days for transporting pets, or only allow pets in hold or cargo areas. If you intend on having your pet leave on the same date as you for Portugal, we recommend you speak to your in-country airlines to understand their animal transport policies before you book your ticket so you can coordinate your flights. You will also want to enquire about:
- Pet carrier rules and restrictions specific to your pet
- Allowable travel cases and crates sizes
- If your pet can travel in-cabin with you or other
- Where to check-in your pet on flight day, pre-check-in requirements and time allowances to process your pet for the flight, and for you to also make your board in time.
- Confirm the destination airport in Portugal you’ll need to pick up your pet
- Any documents, procedures and arrangements you will need to organise for the carrier to check-in your pet and release in Portugal
Airport Pre-Arrival Notification
Portugal requires you to provide 48-hour advanced notice of your pet’s arrival. This is to prebook your pet’s mandatory veterinarian health check, microchip reading, and clearance.
Learn more about your arrival requirements and plan with the DGAV here.
Animal Destination: Airport Contact List
Registering Your Pet With SIAC
Pet owners in Portugal are required by law to register their pets in the national database – Sistema de Informação de Animais de Companhia (SIAC), that overseas pet registry, well being, and works to reduce pet abandonment. You can also report if your pet is ever lost, your address changes, etc. There is a nominal fee to register your pet, and a considerable fine if you don’t, so worth the few minutes it takes to get formally registered.
When arriving by air the vet performing the airport arrival health check and clearance should perform the SIAC registration for you. You will want to confirm this with the vet before leaving with your pet.
If the vet cannot or has not registered your pet you will be required and responsible for this registration.
Pet Moving Costs
Costs to relocate your pet will depend on your country and the health needs of your pet, the following are a few of the costs you should expect and this is not an exhaustive list. You should expect to have costs in your home country for vet visits, vaccines, microchips, treatments if others are required, test and certificate costs, travel case costs, airline, freight and insurance as well as duties on arrival and vet visits in the new home country.
Portugal allows pets of other species such as birds, rabbits, reptiles, and horses among others. To better understand their entry requirements in Portugal we recommend you contact DGAV directly so you can successfully relocate your pet to Portugal.