The importation of pets into Ireland has always been strictly controlled to ensure that diseases such as rabies are not introduced. Since 1 January 2012 there have been a number of changes to 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 dog, cat 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.
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.
If you want to import a dog or cat 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.
A pet from a qualifying low-risk non-EU country must undergo the following in this order:
If you are coming from a non-qualifying high-risk country your pet must:
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:
There is more information about the entry requirements for dogs, cats or ferrets outside the EU or certain other EU countries on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
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 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.