If you wish to travel with your animal, we recommend that you inform yourself well in advance about what needs to be put in place for your animal.
The only official information for export can be found with the authorities of the country you are travelling to, we recommend you consult the government website and contact the authorities directly if necessary.
Before returning to Belgium, your animal must comply with the import rules of the Belgian authorities, these can be found on this website.
Some general guidelines to bear in mind:
- If you are travelling to a country belonging to the European Union or if you want to return to Belgium from a third country, it is recommended to have a European passport for your animal. However, this can only be provided if you have an official address in Belgium. If you don't have one and still want to travel, you have to pass by the vet and/or local authorities both for export and import to have a health certificate made for your animal a few days before import/export.
- As soon as your dog or cat crosses the Belgian border to any country (including neighbouring countries such as the Netherlands and France), your animal must have proof of a valid rabies vaccine. After administering a first vaccine (primo vaccine), there is an official waiting period of 21 days during which you may not cross the border with your animal. So if your animal has not yet received a rabies vaccine or if your animal has not received a booster in time (in this case, your animal must receive another primo vaccine) for this vaccine, it is important that you visit your vet for a rabies vaccine at least 21 days before your trip.
- Most non-European countries require a favourable rabies titer test. This is a blood test that shows whether or not your animal has produced sufficient antibodies against the rabies vaccine. In this case, you can only travel if the test shows that your animal has sufficient antibodies, you are within the validity date of the rabies vaccine and if you have the official (paper) certificate of this test. Some non-European countries do not require a rabies titer test, but Belgium does require a titer test if you want to come back to Belgium from this country, e.g. Tunisia.
This blood sampling can be done at the earliest 30 days after the primo-vaccine. If your animal has already been vaccinated against rabies several times and is within the validity date, this 30-day waiting period does not apply. The turnaround time for this rabies titer test is at least 4 consecutive working days, so take into account a waiting time of 2 weeks between blood sampling and result. If the result is favourable, you can collect the paper certificate yourself from the lab in Uccle, or wait for it to be sent by post to our practice. BIf the result is unfavourable, your animal must be revaccinated against rabies and a titer test must be done again at least 30 days after vaccination.
PLEASE NOTE: some countries require 2 rabies vaccines before a titer test can be done e.g. Japan, China
NOTE: in principle, the rabies titer test certificate remains valid for life as long as the booster date of the vaccine is respected. An exception to this is e.g. Australia (certificate remains valid for 2 years).
NOTE: in principle, countries must accept the validity period of the rabies vaccine specified by the manufacturer in the leaflet of the vaccine, but some countries require an annual rabies vaccine and therefore do not accept the 3-year vaccine e.g. Ghana, Japan, China. This is important for the validity of the titer-test certificate, as vaccination is required every year for lifelong validity.
- There are some non-European countries that have very strict requirements for the import of pets and for which vaccines, titer tests and other tests must be started well in advance (at least 180 days before export). Some examples are Japan, Australia, Ghana. So in these cases, please contact your vet well in time to get the required vaccines and tests in order.
Also important to know:
If you are travelling to a country outside the EU, a health certificate will need to be created by one of our veterinarians a few days before departure (number of days depends on the country you are travelling to, usually maximum 10 days before departure). This certificate must then be checked and signed by an official veterinarian of the local control unit of the FAVV (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain) of the province where you live. The link below refers you to the information page of the LCE Brussels for Brussels residents.
So, once you have set your appointment with us to create the health certificate, you can schedule an appointment with the official veterinarian using your LCE's contact details. Which certificate to use is imposed by the exporting country. For some countries, there is an agreement with the Belgian authority (FAVV) and you can find a certificate on the FAVV website.
If there is no agreement, you should inquire with the country of export. If they cannot provide a certificate, the standard export form will be used.
The websites below can already give you an idea of what needs to be put in place for your travels, but keep in mind that these are not official websites and therefore the information may not be up to date. As mentioned above, it is advisable to contact the authorities of the exporting country directly.