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European Union, Norway and Switzerland

On January 1st 2012 new common rules on pet imports were taken up in the EU and Norway.  This change led to the implementing of the pet passport, which documents the rabies vaccination status of the animal.  In addition, some countries require an anti-Echinococcus treatment. Also, each country sets its own requirements regarding the import of unvaccinated puppies and kittens.

Iceland is not part of the pet passport agreement and does therefore not issue these documents.  Instead, a Third Country Official Veterinary Certificate is issued, documenting the rabies vaccination status and anti-Echinococcus treatment.  This certificate is valid for entry into the EU/Norway/Switzerland for up to 10 days after the date of issuing, and is valid for 4 months for travelling within the EU.  A pet passport can be issued based on this certificate once the animal has been imported to the EU/Norway.  Note: The pet passport is not a valid document for importing a pet to Iceland.

Changes to the EU pet travel scheme came into effect on 29th December 2014, in accordance with the new pet regulation (Regulation (EC) no. 576/2013) of the European Parliament. For pets leaving Iceland and travelling to the EU/Norway/Switzerland, this means a change in the form of the Official Veterinary Certificate, and the addition of a declaration to be completed by the owner stating that the animals being imported are not intended for sale or transfer of ownership. Pets imported into the EU/Norway/Switzerland must travel at the same time or within 5 days of the owner/agent, otherwise the movement of the pet would be classed as a commercial import and different regulations apply.

Official Veterinary Certificate for cats and dogs to the EU (Norway/Switzerland)

A maximum of 5 dogs, cats and ferrets may be imported from Iceland to the EU/Norway/Switzerland under the Official Veterinary Certificate scheme. Exemptions are allowed for participation in shows and sporting events with animals aged over 6 months, and evidence of participation in such events is required. The import of more than 5 animals into the EU/Norway/Switzerland without such an exemption would be classed as a commercial import. For Switzerland, advance permission and a licence from the Swiss authorities is required for the import of 6 or more pet animals for the participation in such events.

    Requirements for pets exported from Iceland to EU/Norway/Switzerland

  • Only cats, dogs and ferrets can be imported to the EU/Norway/Switzerland under this scheme.
  • Microchip: the animal must be microchipped before being vaccinated
  • Rabies vaccination: Vaccination against rabies should be carried out when the pet is over 12 weeks of age. It is necessary to wait at least 21 days after the Rabies vaccination before importation.  Contact a practising veterinarian well in advance to order the vaccine.
  • Anti-Echinococcus treatment: Not all countries require a treatment for the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, as it is endemic in some European countries.  Even if Iceland is free from this tapeworm, some countries require this treatment, and in general, Icelandic veterinarians perform an anti-Echinococcus treatment before export. This should be done 1-5 days (24-120 hours) prior to entering the destination country, i.e. should not be performed during the last 24 hours.
  • Completion of the Official Veterinary Certificate: This is to be done by the exporter/owner/agent in co-operation with a Veterinary Surgeon and endorsed by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (Matvælastofnun).
  • Completion of the owner’s written declaration: Stating that the pets are not intended for sale or transfer of ownership and will be accompanied by the owner/agent. 

    Unvaccinated puppies and kittens

Pets should be at least 12 weeks old before being vaccinated against rabies.  If puppies or kittens under 12 weeks of age are to be exported, the exporter should be aware of the requirements of the destination country. Many EU member states do not allow the import of unvaccinated puppies and kittens. It is the responsibility of the exporter to contact the relevant authorities in the destination country regarding their policy on the import of unvaccinated puppies and kittens. 

    Other pets

Up to five caged birds, pet rodents and pet rabbits can be  imported for non-commercial purposes into the EU. The import of greater than 5 of these types of pet animals into the EU would be classed as a commercial import and other regulations apply.   It is advisable to consider the requirements of each individual EU member state by seeking information on the official webpages below.

When importing caged birds, pet rodents and pet rabbits into Norway, an import permit is required, as well as a certificate of health and origin.

Links to information sites for EEA countries

Official webpages for a number of EEA countries regarding import of pets

Countries outside of the EU

It is the responsibility of the owner/exporter to contact the relevant authorities in the destination country to confirm their policy on the import of pet animals. Here are some general guidelines and links:
  • Faroe Islands
    The Faroe Islands are not part of the pet passport scheme and have their own requirements regarding vaccinations, treatments and health certification. These can be found on the website of the Faroese Government:
    Dogs and cats
  • United States of America
    For an overview of the requirements for importing a pet into the USA, please refer to the website of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It is advisable in all cases that cats and dogs are vaccinated against Rabies before arriving in the USA, where Rabies is endemic. Since Iceland is Rabies-free, Rabies vaccination is not always a requirement before import, but as a general rule, pets should be vaccinated against Rabies at least 30 days before arrival in the USA. Pet owners are required to acquire a general health certificate from a practising veterinarian documenting information on the pet, microchip number and health status, as well as vaccinations/deworming. This certificate should thereafter be endorsed by a Veterinary Officer of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (Matvælastofnun).
    - Information on animal imports on APHIS website
  • Canada
    Iceland is listed as a rabies-free country by the Canadian authorities.  Dogs and cats can therefore enter Canada, as long as they are accompanied by a Health Certificate.  The certificate should be in English or French, be signed and stamped by an authorised practising veterinarian and endorsed by a Veterinary Officer of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (Matvælastofnun).  The certificate should state the breed, colour and weight of the animal as well as microchip number.  Full details of the requirements for certification can be found on the website of the Canadian Authorities.
    - Information on animal imports by Canadian Authorities (CFIA)
  • Singapore
    By Singapore definition, Iceland is in Category B, meaning that pets from Iceland do not need to be quarantined, if certain requirements regarding vaccinations and certification are fulfilled.
    - Information on requirements
  • Japan
    Guide to importing dogs, cat and other animals subject to animal quarantine from designated regions into Japan
    Bringing dogs and cats into Japan from abroad
  • New Zealand
    An import permit is required for all animal imports into New Zealand, and requirements for vaccination, tests, treatment and certification must be met. A quarantine period also applies.
    - Information on requirements
  • Australia
    An import permit is required for all animal imports into Australia, and requirements for vaccination, tests, treatment and certification must be met. A quarantine period also applies.
    - Information on requirements
  • Other countries
    The owner/exporter should contact the relevant authorities dealing with pet import in the destination country.

Export of horses

Every year hundreds of Icelandic horses are exported, mostly to countries within the EU.  This is practised under the law 27/2011 on the export of horses.

    General requirements regarding the export horses

The required age span of exported horses is 4 months to 15 years.

It is prohibited to export pregnant mares of more than 7 months gestation

    Examination in the port of export

Horses should be examined and cleared for export by a Veterinary Officer in the port of export.  The horses’ markings/microchip should be validated, and their fulfilment of requirements in the destination country confirmed.  All exported horses should be microchipped or freeze marked.  They should furthermore be accompanied by a horse passport issued by the Icelandic Farmers’ Association, confirming the origin and ownership of the horse.

    Horse passport

The horse passport is an official document confirming the identity of the horse for travelling purposes as well as identity checks at equestrian events, vaccinations and other medicinal information.

The horse passport contains a description of the horse, detailed enough so that it clearly is issued on this horse.  Using an international system, various individual identifying attributes are carefully written and drawn in the passport.

The passport is issued singularly and accompanies the horse for the rest of its life.  The passport may only be issued by a veterinarian authorised in the country of origin.  The exporter of the horse should have a practising veterinarian fills in the individual identifying attributes, which are then endorsed by a Veterinary Officer in the port of export.  If the appearance of the horse changes for some reason, a replacement passport should be issued by authorities in the country of origin, in this case by sending the original passport to the Icelandi Farmers’ Association, which will then issue a new one and destroy the original one.

    Fees

Fees covering the export examination and the issuing of export certificates are payable to Matvælastofnun and are based on regulation 567/2012.