You must comply with Belgian regulations when bringing a pet to Belgium, such as microchipping and registration with the local authorities for certain pets.
You must comply with certain restrictions when bringing a pet to Belgium, for example, dogs, cats and ferrets require micro-chipping and by law, all canines must be registered with the authorities.
If you plan to take a pet to Belgium, it’s important to check the latest regulations. Make sure that you have the correct papers, not only for Belgium but for all the countries you will pass through to reach Belgium if travelling by road. Be aware that regulations differ depending on the country you are travelling from. The following is the general information you will need when you decide to move to Belgium with your pet.
Pet immigration rules for Belgium
To enter Belgium, your pet (dogs, cats and ferrets only) must have an ISO pet microchip inserted and also be vaccinated against rabies and other diseases between 21–30 days before travelling into the country. Rules also state that pets must be vaccinated after having a microchip inserted, regardless of when any previous vaccination took place. If your pet’s microchip is not ISO 11784/11785 compliant, you can bring your own microchip scanner.
If travelling from the United States or Canada, a USDA (or CFIA) accredited veterinarian must complete the bilingual Belgium EU998 Veterinary Certificate for certification by the USDA or CFIA. If you are travelling from another country, the Governmental Authority from your country should certify the forms.
Pets entering Belgium from a country with a high incidence of rabies must also have a Blood Titer Test in order to avoid quarantine. Only dogs, cats and ferrets are required to have a rabies vaccination.
Please note, as the rabies vaccination cannot be performed until puppies or kittens are 12 weeks old, and there is a mandatory 21-day waiting period after the first vaccination, you must wait until your pet is 15 weeks old before bringing them into the country. (The 21-day waiting period only applies to first vaccinations, not boosters.)
Pets entering an EU country for commercial purposes require additional forms and different rules apply.
Since 1st September 1998, by law, all dogs must be registered with the Belgian Association of Canine Identification and Registration (Association Belge d’Identification et d’Enregistrement Canins – ABIEC/Belgische vereniging voor Identificatie & Registratie van honden – BVIRH), which allows the authorities to trace owners of lost or abandoned dogs. The microchip will be linked to your details and your address. The registration must be done by a vet or as an alternative to micro-chipping, by a tattooist. The EUR 12.39 fee for registration is paid to the person or company performing it and not the ABIEC/BVIRH.
All other pets (birds, invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals such as rodents and rabbits) are not subject to the regulations or the anti-rabies vaccination but may have to meet other requirements such as a limit on the number of animals and a certificate to accompany them with respect to other diseases. Pet owners are strongly advised to seek further information from the relevant authority of their country and/or that of the destination country.
There is a Pet Passport form for Belgium that you can get before your departure. You can find more information on passports for animals arriving from within the EU at www.europa.eu. If your dog is registered in Belgium but has no passport, the ABIEC/BVIRH can issue one at a cost of EUR 5.
Some animals are barred from entry into Belgium. Those on the banned list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) can be found at www.animalhealth.defra.gov.uk.
Another important issue is pet insurance. Pet insurance can cover much of the expense of unexpected vet bills in case of an injury or illness, so the things you need to consider when choosing pet insurance are of a major importance:
- Does the policy cover all chronic, congenital and hereditary conditions?
- Is there a time limit on treatment per condition?
- Is there a dollar limit on treatment per condition?
- Are there flexible coverage options to fit your budget and needs exactly?
- How well established is the company? How is it rated?
Airline Pet Container Requirements
The rules regarding approved types of containers for cats, dogs, ferrets and birds flying in the cabin and as cargo were created by IATA, and for the most part, have been accepted by the world’s airlines.
Pets in the cabin
On flights of less than 10 hours, many airlines will allow small cats or dogs to be taken with the passenger in the cabin (except travel to the UK and Hong Kong). Generally, the airline will only allow one pet per passenger and a maximum of two pets per cabin. The container for the pet must fit under the seat in front of you and must have a waterproof bottom and adequate ventilation. The Sherpa, Bergan and SturdiBag pet carriers are all airline compliant as long as the carrier is the proper size for your pet.
IATA Pet Crates Requirements
Your pet must be in an IATA compliant pet crate and meet certain other requirements. It is considered best to have only one animal per container, but the IATA rules state that two animals can share the same container if the animals are less than 14kg (30lbs) and are of the same species.
If you are purchasing a container, make sure that it meets these minimum requirements:
- The container must be large enough for the animal(s) to stand, turn around, and lie down.
- The kennel must be made of a sturdy plastic.
- The container must have a secure, spring loaded, all around locking system with the pins extending beyond the horizontal extrusions above and below the door.
- Although this is not an IATA requirement, many airlines are now requiring steel crate hardware instead of plastic fasteners. We would recommend that you use this hardware on your pet’s crate to be sure there will be no problems.
- Both water and food bowls must be attached to the inside of the front door and be refillable from the outside of the container without opening the door.
- The container must have ventilation on all sides for international travel and three sides minimum for domestic travel.
- The Container must have LIVE ANIMAL stickers on the top and sides in letters at least one inch tall.
- NO WHEELS. If the container has wheels, they should be removed or taped securely so that the kennel cannot roll.
- The container must be identified with your pet’s name and owner’s contact information. The best way to do this is to attach your pet’s information to the outside of the crate.
- Make sure to attach an extra copy of your pet’s health certificate to the container.