All the conditions explained under "Travelling outside the European Union" must be met:
- The animal must be identified by means of a transponder (chip) or tattoo (A tattoo may still count as valid identification if applied before 03/07/2011 and is clearly legible). The animal must be identified before or at the latest at the time of the rabies vaccination.
- The animal must have a European passport, as defined in Annex III to Regulation (EU) No 577/2013, drawn up and issued by an authorised veterinarian in accordance with the provisions of Article 21 of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013.
- The animal must have a valid antirabies vaccination:
- Minimum age for administration of vaccine: 12 weeks
- Valid after 3 weeks at the earliest (*)
- Decision: the DCF must be at least 15 weeks old to have a valid vaccination(**)
- Is immediately valid if the vaccination protocol was duly followed (before the end of the validity of the previous vaccination)
- Pay attention! How long the anti-rabies vaccination is valid shall be determined by the country of destination. A vaccination valid for three years in Belgium may not be valid for as long outside Belgium and, therefore, considered invalid by the country of destination.
More specifically, the period of validity of a rabies vaccination is described and determined by the technical specifications of the vaccine in the country where it was administered and/or as stated by the authorised or official veterinarian in the identification document (passport or certificate) of that country.
(*) The legislation states that the vaccine is valid from 21 days after vaccination and that the manufacturer's protocol must be followed. If the manufacturer states that the vaccination is valid from 2 weeks after vaccination, you should still wait 21 days. If the manufacturer states that the vaccination is valid from 4 weeks after vaccination, you should still wait 4 weeks.
(**) The introduction and transit of animals under 15 weeks of age shall not, in principle, be permitted unless the Member State so permits. This is not allowed in Belgium. This information is available on the website of DG SANTE of the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/pet-movement/eu-legislation/young-animals_en.
- Treatment against Echinococcus multilocularis: In order to take your dog to a country listed in the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/878 of 18 June 2018, the animal must have an additional treatment against Echinococcus multilocularis in accordance with the delegated Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/772 of 21 November 2017. For the sake of clarity, this is not yet compulsory in Belgium.
- Blood testing: In order to be able to bring your DCF from a country not listed in Annex II of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 577/2013 of 28 June 2013, a blood test for antibodies against rabies must be carried out with favourable results. This titer check must be carried out on a blood sample taken at the earliest 30 days after primovaccination. The titter check is immediately valid if the blood sampling took place before the animal left the EU. If not, blood sampling must take place at least 3 months before entry into the EU. Consequently, a European DCF cannot be reintroduced within 3 months after blood sampling if this took place outside the EU. The result of the titter check is considered favourable from 0.5 IU/ml. A favourable result shall remain valid as long as the vaccination schedule is followed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The test must be carried out in a laboratory accredited by the European Union: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/pets/approval_en.htm. Please always check the expiry date of the lab's approval. When a lab's approval has expired at the time the test was performed, the result of the titter check is not valid.
If the result of the titter check is known before leaving the EU, section VI of the European passport must be completed by an authorised veterinarian.
- Certificate: For each European DCF introduced into Belgium after a stay in a third country (nonEU member), any intervention (vaccination, titter check) relating to rabies carried out in a third country must be recorded in a certificate that must always accompany the European passport.
a. Clarification of non-commercial
- Health Certificate: Each DCF must be accompanied by a health certificate in accordance with Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1293: Model animal health certificate for dogs, cats and ferrets issued by an official veterinarian. A health certificate contains information about what has taken place abroad.
This certificate may also be drawn up by an authorised veterinarian, in which case it must then be endorsed by the competent authority of the third country concerned. This certificate is valid for 10 days.
If, on return from a third country, the animal has a European passport that is up-to-date in the EU for vaccinations and titter checks, no health certificate is required for non-commercial movements. A European passport contains information on the DCF before the animal in question leaves the EU.
- Declaration: If the owner does not travel with his DCF, the DCF must be accompanied by an authorised person. In the latter case, the movement of the DCF must take place within 5 days before or after the owner's movement (see the European Commission website https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/petmovement/eu-legislation_en:
Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 regulates the non-commercial movement of a pet animal which accompanies its owner where its owner moves and is under his direct responsibility. The non-commercial movement of the pet animal may take place up to five days before or after the movement of the owner, in which case the non-commercial movement of the pet animal is carried out under the responsibility of a natural person who has authorisation in writing from the owner to carry out the non-commercial movement of the pet animal on his behalf).
In this case, a declaration must accompany the health certificate. See the text on the website of the European Commission:
‘A written declaration completed by the owner or an authorised person (see model in Part 3 of Annex IV to Regulation (EU) No 577/2013) regarding the non-commercial nature of the movement and attesting, where appropriate, the carriage of the animal under the responsibility of an authorised person within up to five days of the movement of the owner’.
- Entry into the European Union shall be compulsory via a (passenger terminal) 'Travellers Points of Entry' (unless it concerns a country listed in Part I of Annex II to Regulation (EU) 577/2013). A check is carried out by Customs; you are obliged to report yourself to Customs with the DCF. The 'Travellers Points of Entry' in Belgium for noncommercial entry of the DCF are: Brussels Airport, Liège Airport, Ostend Airport, Charleroi Airport. This information is available on the website of DG SANTE of the European Commission for other Member States, too: https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/petmovement/eu-legislation/young-animals_en.
b. Clarification of commercial
- Health Certificate: Each DCF must be accompanied by a health certificate in accordance with Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/294: Model animal health certificate for imports of dogs, cats and ferrets drawn up by an official veterinarian. The animal must be clinically examined by an official veterinarian 48 hours prior to departure and found fit for transport. This certificate is valid for 10 days. The authorised third countries are those listed in Article 1 of Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/294.
- In the case of commercial imports, you must enter the European Union via the Border Control Post (BCP). You are obliged to report your arrival in advance (at least 1 working day before arrival) at the BCP, and to present yourself and your DCF for inspection at the BCP. Your animal(s) must travel via cargo. The points of entry into Belgium for commercial introduction of DCF are: BCP Brussels National Airport, BCP Liège Airport. This information is available on the website of DG SANTE of the European Commission for other Member States, too: https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/vet-border-control/bip_en.