Movements and import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets from Non-EU countries

Please note: You can find Finnish national legislation at Finlex and EU legislation at EUR-Lex links on the right margin. Guidance for searching decisions of the EU legislation you can find here.

Traveling with Your Pet

A passenger may bring no more than five of their own pets into the EU according to the rules of non-commercial pet movement. The pets must not be intended to be sold or transferred to another owner and the movement of the animal must be connected to the owner's movement.

The pet may be considered to accompany its owner even if is traveling as cargo five days earlier or later than the owner, or if the owner has given authorization to a person or pet carrier company to be responsible for the pet during the journey.

With proof of attendance, over 5 pets may also be brought into the EU to be shown at exhibitions, or take part in competitions or sporting events, as long as they are over 6 months old.

You may contact if you have further questions about the requirements for non-commercial pet movement.


If you are importing pets that will be transferred to another owner or are intended for sale, or the number of pets you are traveling with exceeds five, or your pet is flying alone as cargo, the pets must meet the requirements for import into the EU. These animals must be checked by a border veterinarian.

Common scenarios involve bringing rescue dogs to Finland to be rehomed, or importing puppies that fly as cargo from outside the EU.

Please contact if you have further questions about the requirements for pet import.

Movements and import of Dogs, Cats and Ferrets from USA

In the US, acquiring an EU-veterinary certificate is a two-step process. A licensed veterinarian accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is authorized to complete and sign an EU-health certificate for your pet. In order to be valid, the EU veterinary certificate must then be endorsed by an official veterinarian at the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services Area Office.

In practice, an accredited veterinarian will certify the health status of your pet, and administer and record the necessary medications and tests. The health certificate, with the signature of the accredited veterinarian, can then be sent to be endorsed by the competent authority via overnight delivery to the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services Area Office of the US state in question. The documents are usually returned within 2 days.

Your local APHIS Veterinary Services service center can answer any questions you or your veterinarian may have.

Please note that licensed veterinarians that do not have APHIS accreditation are not authorized to issue EU veterinary certificates.

For more information, please refer to the USDA’s instructions on how to travel with your pet from the US.

What if My Pet Does Not Satisfy the Health Requirements?

The main purpose of the health requirements for dogs, cats and ferrets is to prevent the spread of rabies into the European Union. The importer, owner or authorized person is responsible for ensuring that the animal they are accompanying meets the health requirements in full when entering the EU. They will be responsible for all costs incurred if an animal does not meet these requirements.

If an animal does not meet the requirements it will be either

a) returned to the country of origin or
b) placed in official quarantine until the requirements are met (there are no official quarantine facilities in Finland; owners or importers may, if they wish, inquire if the animal can be transferred to official quarantine in another Member State) or
c) put down as a last resort.


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