The importation of pets into Ireland has always been strictly controlled to ensure that diseases such as rabies are not introduced. The EU system of Passports for Pets allows cats, dogs and ferrets to travel between EU member states. This EU Pet Passport certifies that the pet has been identified by means of a microchip and vaccinated against rabies. Pets from higher risk non-EU countries will also require a blood test - see 'Non-qualifying high-risk countries' below.
If you want to import a cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from any EU member state including the UK, the pet animal must have an EU Pet Passport, (this document is the same throughout the EU).
The Passport certifies that:
There is more information about the entry requirements for dogs, cats or ferrets from EU and certain other EU territories on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
If you want to import a cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from a country outside the EU there are 2 categories of these countries: qualifying low-risk countries and non-qualifying high-risk countries. You can check if your country of origin is on this list of qualifying low-risk countries (pdf). If it is not on this list then your country of origin is a non-qualifying high-risk country.
Pets from qualifying non-EU countries
A cat, dog or ferret from a qualifying low-risk non-EU country must undergo the following in this order:
Non-qualifying high-risk countries
If you are coming from a non-qualifying high-risk country your pet must:
There is more information about the entry requirements for dogs, cats or ferrets from outside the EU on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
If you are moving to live in Ireland or coming here on holiday, you may be able to bring your pet bird, rabbit or rodent with you, provided you meet certain requirements – see ‘How to apply’ below. There is more information about the entry requirements for birds, rabbits and rodents either from EU or from outside the EU on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Airlines registered with the Department may choose to carry pets complying with the above regulations. Compliant pets may travel on any ferry. The pet must travel with its owner or with a person acting on behalf of the owner (unaccompanied pets cannot travel to Ireland under the EU Pet Passport System).
Travelling by air: If the pet does not meet the entry requirements the Department may decide either to return the pet to the country of origin or quarantine the pet for up to a maximum of 4 months at the owner’s expense.
Travelling by ferry: Checks are carried out in France before ferry embarkation. If a pet does not have identification owners will have to have the pet identified/re-identified, vaccinated and wait 21 days. If the vaccination requirement is not met, owners will have to have the pet vaccinated where relevant and await the expiry of the 21-day period. If a dog has not been treated for tapeworm and there is time for owners to visit a vet before boarding then travel is permitted.
The animal must be transported by air to Ireland either on an approved airline or owners can apply to the Department for a prior approval. Entry to Ireland is by airline into Dublin airport where the pet is transferred to the quarantine facility for inspection the same day to check if the pet is compliant with the entry requirements. Arrangements including costs are a matter for the pet owner.
If the pet does not meet the entry requirements the Department may decide to:
If you are importing a pet cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from an EU member state or certain other EU countries, you should arrange for your veterinarian to microchip and then vaccinate the pet in that order, and obtain an EU Pet Passport from the competent authority in the EU member state of origin.
If you are importing a pet cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from a qualifying low-risk country, you should arrange for your veterinarian to microchip and then vaccinate the pet in that order.
If you are importing a pet cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from a qualifying third country, you should arrange for your veterinarian to microchip, vaccinate and then bloodtest the pet in that order
Contact a local veterinarian or the competent authority for information on the Veterinary Certificate for Domestic Dogs, Cats and Ferrets entering the European Community.
If you are bringing a pet bird, rabbit or rodent to Ireland from another EU state or a relevant European state you must accompany the pet to Ireland. At least 24 hours before you arrive in Ireland you must send a completed form of Advance Notice of Importation of Pet Birds into Ireland to the Animal Health and Welfare Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at the address below. Owners of pet birds must also travel with a completed Owner Declaration for Pet Birds form.
If you wish to bring a pet bird, rabbit or rodent from a country outside the EU, you must apply for an import permit using either the form for a pet bird or the form for a pet rabbit or rodent. You should send the application to the Animal Health and Welfare Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, at the address below, in sufficient time to allow the pre-export requirements, which include a veterinary health certificate, to be completed.
Animal Health and Welfare Division
Floor 3 Centre
Tel:+353 (0)1 607 2862
Fax:+353 (0)1 661 9031
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.