Importing an animal into Spain

In response to some questions being posted regarding moving to Spain, my friends at Perez Legal have kindly prepared the following for you.

Bringing your pet into Spain is not straight forward. It’s important to get the paperwork right before you leave.

"What, the flight is how long?"
“What, the flight is how long?”

If you plan to take a pet to Spain it is important to check the latest regulations. Make sure that you have the correct papers, not only for Spain, but for all the countries you will pass through to reach Spain. Particular consideration must be given before exporting a pet from a country with strict quarantine regulations, such as the UK.

Spanish regulations

All dogs, cats and ferrets must have a microchip or registration number tattooed in an ear before they enter Spain. A rabies vaccination is usually compulsory, although this does not apply to accompanied pets (including dogs and cats) coming directly from the UK. However, if a rabies vaccination is given, it must be administered not less than one month or more than one year before export. A rabies vaccination is necessary if pets are transported by road from the UK to Spain via France. Pets over three months old from countries other than the UK must have been vaccinated against rabies not less than one month and not more than one year before being imported. If a pet has no rabies certificate it can be quarantined for 20 days.

Pets under three months old cannot be imported into Spain

An official certificate is required, which must be filled in and signed by a vet. The certificate includes the owner’s details, a description of the pet, the microchip number and where and when it was inserted, and the date of the rabies vaccination. The certificate is in Spanish and English and is valid for four months from signing. The certificate can be obtained from Spanish consulates abroad or downloaded from

Some animals require a special import permit from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and pets from some countries are subject to customs duty.

British regulations

The Pet Travel Scheme replaces quarantine for qualifying cats and dogs. Under the scheme, pets must be micro-chipped (they have a microchip inserted in their neck), vaccinated against rabies, undergo a blood text and be issued with a health certificate (pet passport). Note that the pets certificate/EU pet passport is sometimes not issued until six months AFTER the above have been carried out. In the UK, EU pet passports are issued by Local Veterinary Inspectors (LVI) only. In other EU countries, passports are issued by all registered vets.

The scheme is restricted to animals imported from rabies-free countries and countries where rabies is under control. However, the current quarantine law will remain in place for pets coming from Eastern Europe, Africa (including the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla), Asia and South America.

To qualify, pets must travel by sea via any major British ferry port, by train via the Channel Tunnel or via Bristol, Doncaster, London Gatwick, London Heathrow or Manchester airports. Only certain carriers are licensed to carry animals and these are listed on the website of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The regulations cost pet owners around 200/300 pounds (for a microchip, rabies vaccination and blood test), plus 60-90 pounds a year for annual booster vaccinations and around 20-30 pounds for a border check.

Shop around and compare fees from a number of veterinary surgeons. British pet owners must complete an application for a Ministry Export Certificate for dogs, cats and rabies susceptible animals (form EXA1), also available from DEFRA.

DEFRA will contact the vet you have named on the form and he performs a health inspection. You then receive an export health certificate, which must be issued before your pet enters into Spain.

Perez Legal Group

Tel: +34 952 833 169


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