Moving a Pet to Belgium
Rules and Regulations for International Pet Shipping
- Pet Travel Documents & Requirements
- Pet Restrictions for Belgium
- Microchip for Pet Travel to Belgium
- Quarantine for Pet Travel to Belgium
- Top Destinations in Belgium
- How Starwood Can Help
What Pet Travel Documents Are Needed to Travel to Belgium?
If 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 of your own travel, you and they may arrive at any of Belgium’s Border Inspection Posts -- Brussels, Liege, Brussels South Charleroi Airport, or 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.
If 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 them home, to quarantine, or even euthanize them. Most countries are adamant about rejecting pets that might be carrying pests or diseases.
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 that Belgium requires.
Belgium requires all pets to be vaccinated against rabies prior to arrival. The rabies vaccination for pets traveling to the EU must be greater than 21 days old and less than 1 year old at the time of travel. If your pet's vaccination will be over 1 year, then a new vaccine will be needed at least 21 days prior to travel. A “valid” rabies vaccine is one that has been administered after your pet is microchipped. 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, they will need to get a second one (and both numbers will have to appear on their documentation). If your pet’s microchip is the right type but was implanted before they had a rabies vaccination, they will need to get a new rabies vaccination and wait 21 days before they can travel.
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.
It is recommended that cats and dogs are vaccinated for the following. Do note that if your pet will be boarding, these vaccinations will be required.
- Dogs: DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus), Bordetella (Kennel Cough), Leptospirosis, CIV (Canine Influenza Virus)
- Cats: FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia), Feline Leukemia
The 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 5-day window noted, the health certificate can be found on the USDA website.
If there will be more than 5 pets traveling with you, or your pet(s) will arrive in Belgium outside the 5-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 Pet Travel team is handling the details for you.
The health certificate must be filled out and signed by a USDA-accredited veterinarian and then endorsed (counter-signed and stamped or embossed) by the USDA APHIS Veterinary Medical Officer in your state. Belgium will allow the accredited vet to complete/sign the certificate electronically but the USDA must sign it in original ink and emboss the document. This document must be completed within 10 days prior to your pet’s arrival in Belgium.
Belgium does not require additional blood tests required for dogs, cats, or ferrets unless your pet is coming from an "unlisted" country.
If your pet is traveling from an "unlisted" country, then a rabies titer blood test will be required. The rabies titer test must be completed at least 30 days after their rabies vaccination and at least 3 months before traveling to the EU. This test must be completed by an authorized (USDA-Accredited) vet and the sample must be sent to an EU approved laboratory.
You won’t need an import permit to bring your cat, dog, or ferret to Belgium. However, you will need additional documentation 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.
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 the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Malta, or Norway with your dog, your vet will need to treat them within 1-5 days before they arrive.
What Are the Pet Restrictions for Belgium?
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.
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?
All dogs, cats, and ferrets must be implanted with a microchip that meets ISO standard 11784 or 11785. (The number will be 15 digits.) The microchip must be implanted BEFORE the rabies vaccination. If your pet currently has no microchip, get that done first because, as noted above, that number must appear on all documentation. If your pet has 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
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
andemergency 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.