Moving a Pet to Belgium

Rules and Regulations for International Pet Shipping

What Pet Travel Documents Are Needed to Travel to Belgium?

Rabbit ready to move to belgiumIf your family is relocating to Belgium, you are welcome to bring along your pet cat, dog, or ferret. If you are flying (most likely), your pet may travel in the cabin, as checked baggage or as cargo. If they are traveling with you or within 5 days or your own travel, you and they may arrive at any of Belgium’s Border Inspection Posts -- Brussels, Liege, Brussels South Charleroi Airport and Oostende Airports. Otherwise, your pets must fly into either Brussels or Liege.

Pet Travel Documents & Requirements

Every country around the world has different rules that relate to importing pets, to visit or to stay. The requirements are similar in many ways, but the details depend on where you live now. For instance, if you and your pet currently reside in another European Union country and your pet already has a current EU Pet Passport, you will not need any additional paperwork to bring your dog, cat, or ferret pet into Belgium. 

Things are less certain if you live in the United Kingdom because a final Brexit deal is still pending. Depending on Britain’s status once a deal is reached, pet import rules could change. In the meantime, you can check this website to find the current rules for taking British pets abroad. And you can read this government page to stay abreast of new Brexit-related developments.

Dog concerned about move to belgiumIf you live outside the European Union, you will have to follow a series of steps to move your pet to Belgium. Again, exactly what you’ll need to do depends on exactly where you live now. If you’ll be coming from the United States, this USDA web page outlines what you’ll need to do to move your pet to Belgium. However, for convenience, we have also provided all the essential information here.  

Read this information carefully, because it is critical to follow every one of them to the letter. If your pet arrives with incomplete or incorrect documentation, Belgium, has the right to send him home, quarantine him, or even euthanize him. Most countries are adamant about rejecting pets that might be carrying pests or disease.

If your pet will be separated from you, you will also need to sign an authorization form for whoever will accompany or transport your pet.

One more important note: although you have to meet Belgium’s requirements for importing your pet, the airline you use may also have requirements. For example, if you are coming from the US, the airline may require your pet to have a USDA APHIS 7001 (international health certificate) in addition to the EU form Belgium requires.

Health Certificates

dog moving to belgiumThe requirements outlined below apply to you if your pet will enter Belgium within 5 days before or after your own arrival date and if you have fewer than 5 pets total. This is the most common scenario. If you and your pet(s) will be traveling on the same flight or if you will be traveling separately but within the 10-day window noted, use this health certificate.

If there will be more than 5 pets traveling with you, or your pet(s) will arrive in Belgium outside the 10-day window noted above, then you must use a “commercial” health certificate. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making the arrangements yourself or our Starwood Animal Transport team is handling the details for you.

If you have more than one pet, Belgium requires each of them to have their own health certificate. It must be filled out and signed by an accredited veterinarian and then endorsed (counter-signed and stamped or embossed) by the APHIS Veterinary Medical Officer in your state. Both signatures must be in original ink. This document must be completed within 10 days of your pet’s arrival in Belgium. 

Import Permit

You won’t need an import permit to bring your pet to Belgium. However, you will need an import permit if you will be bringing more than 5 pets, or if your pet(s) will arrive in the country more than 5 days prior to or after your arrival.

Rabies Vaccinations

cats in need of rabies shots for their trip to Belgium

Belgium requires all pets to be vaccinated against rabies prior to arrival. One, two, or three-year vaccines are all allowed, although Belgium accepts the 3-year vaccine only as a booster, not as the primary vaccination. A “valid” rabies vaccine is one that has been administered at the same time or after your pet is microchipped. (See Microchip section below). The timing is significant because each animal’s microchip number is a unique identifier and must appear on every document.

All European Union countries also require microchips to be ISO-compliant. So if your pet has another type of microchip, he will need to get a second one (and both numbers will have to appear on his documentation). If your pet’s microchip is the right type but was implanted before he got his rabies vaccination, he will need to get a booster so that the immunization can be officially tied to his ID number.

Belgium requires all pets to wait at least 21 days after receiving their primary rabies vaccination before entering the country. “Primary” means the first vaccination given at the same time or after microchip implantation or as a booster immunization (given after expiration of a previous vaccine).

Other Vaccinations

Other than rabies, Belgium does not require pets to have any additional vaccinations. That said, we suggest you consult your new veterinarian in Belgium about any recommended locally-specific vaccines or preventative treatments.

 

Tapeworm Treatment

Belgium does not require dogs to be treated for tapeworm prior to entering the country. However, after you’re settled in Belgium, if you wish to visit United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Malta, or Norway with your dog, your vet will need to treat him within 1-5 days before you go.

Blood Tests

Belgium does not require additional blood tests required for dogs, cats, or ferrets.

Photo of Pet

You do not have to attach a photo of your pet to their official paperwork. 

What Are the Pet Restrictions for Belgium?

Banned Breeds

Most countries around the world have a list of dog (and sometimes cat) breeds they do not allow. Belgium, however, does not ban any breeds.

Age Restrictions for Belgium

Belgium will not allow you to import kittens, puppies, or baby ferrets that are less than 15 weeks old and whose rabies immunization is less than 21 days old at the time of entry. 

Additional Restrictions

If you will be coming from Peninsular Malaysia, there are extra rules that apply to pets:

  • There may not have been any contact with pigs during at least the past 60 days prior to departure.
  • Your pet cannot have lived where there have been confirmed cases of Nipah within the past 60 days.
  • Pets must be tested for Nipah viruses within 10 days of departure, with negative a result. This must be an IG capture ELISA test, performed in an approved laboratory.

Do I Need a Microchip for My Pet to Travel to Belgium?

Cats Need Microchip Before Trip To BelgiumAll dogs, cats, and ferrets must be implanted with a microchip that meets ISO standard 11784 or 11785. (The number will be 15 digits.) If your pet currently has no microchip, get that done first because, as noted above, that number just appear on all his documentation. If your pet a non-ISO compliant microchip, you can have your veterinarian implant another microchip that does meet ISO standards. This will not harm your pet. Otherwise, you will have to:

  • Carry a chip reader that customers officials can use to scan your pet, or
  • Notify Belgian customs ahead of time so they can have the right type of scanner available

What Are the Quarantine Requirements for a Pet Traveling to Belgium?

As long as your pet(s) have all the required import/health documentation, they will not face quarantine in Belgium.  

Top Destinations in Belgium

How Starwood Can Help

Our Belgium pet shipping services include:

  • Door-to-door transport
  • Assistance with health certificates, import certificates, and other travel documents needed for animal transport to Belgium (outlined above)
  • USDA endorsement and consular legalization (when needed) of all relevant documents where required
  • Airline-approved flight kennels provided with personalized labels, identification and emergency notification instructions
  • Customs clearance and delivery to your home
  • Local pet taxi service to and from the airport, your home, veterinarian, kennel, or groomer – available in major Belgium cities as well as their surrounding areas
  • Travel consultation and flight reservations

We will inform you of your pet's full itinerary before the trip and we will update you as your pet travels to Belgium.

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