Expat - pet information

Moving your life to a new country is hard enough without leaving your pets behind. The dutch people are mostly very fond of animals, and many families have pets such as dogs, cats, birds, fish, rabbits or hamsters, while some have larger or more exotic pets such as horses or reptiles. Expats who do decide to bring their pets to the Netherlands (Holland) are highly advised to plan ahead.

If you do plan ahead and you know what is required, bringing your pet(s) to the Netherlands is easy.

Pet Travel Scheme

Like most EU countries, The Netherlands is a member of the Pet Travel Scheme, introduced in 2004. The Pet Travel Scheme allows pet carnivores (dogs, cats and ferrets) from any of the countries covered by the scheme, to be brought into the country without quarantine. The pets do have to meet specified requirements, such as anti-rabies vaccination, blood sampling and anti-worm/anti-tick hygiene.

The countries covered by the Pet Travel Scheme are:

  • All EU countries

  • Andorra

  • Antigua and Barbuda

  • Aruba

  • Ascension

  • Australia

  • Bahrain

  • Barbados

  • Bermuda

  • Canada

  • Cayman Islands

  • Chile

  • Croatia

  • Falkland Islands

  • Fiji

  • French Polynesia

  • Hong Kong

  • Iceland

  • Jamaica

  • Japan

  • Liechtenstein

  • Mauritius

  • Mayotte

  • Monaco

  • Montserrat

  • Netherlands Antilles

  • New Caledonia

  • New Zealand

  • Norway

  • Russian Federation

  • Saint Helena

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis

  • Saint Vincent and the - Grenadines

  • Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

  • San Marino

  • Singapore

  • Switzerland

  • United Arab Emirates

  • United States of America

  • Vanuatu

  • Vatican City

  • Wallis and Tutuna

And all the territories of EU Member States: Greenland, Faeroe Islands, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands (except Ceuta and Melilla), French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion, Gibraltar, the Azores, Madeira.


EU Pet passport (dutch: EU dierenpaspoort)

Travelling pet owners have to present the ‘pet passport’ in order to bring their pets to the Netherlands. Pet owners can apply to their veterinarian to obtain an EU passport for their pet.

(pets which do not hold a valid passport will be vaccinated on arrival in the Netherlands and kept in quarantine for a period of 30 days)

The pet passport contains the following information:

  • Name of the owner

  • Vet confirmation about the rabies certificate.

  • All pets should be vaccinated at least 21 days prior to the departure date and the date of vaccination must be clearly stated in the passport.

  • Microchip number

  • The electronic microchip (transponder) or readable tattoo (applied before July 3, 2011) connects the pet to the passport. The microchipnumber is issued and all details stored in a European database (Europetnet), so that it is easier for authorities to identify pets and their owners.

  • Other info such as sex, age, breed, color, type of fur and it’s marks.

If a pet passport is not available, the use of this veterinary certificate (pdf in Dutch language) is mandatory. This certificate is valid for four months or until the expiration date of the vaccination.

In general it is advised to plan ahead as all the actions and paperwork above may even take more than 9 months.

Note that the above apply to cats, dogs and ferrets. For other animals (except for rabbits, fish and hares) a health certificate from a recognised vet in the country of departure should be presented.

Airline carrier

Call your airline carrier. It’s often overlooked that you have to make a reservation for your pet to travel with you. Airlines have strict weight limitations and temperature restrictions that may endanger or cause discomfort to your animal therefore it’s suggested to check in advance. Individual airlines will advise on which animals can be taken on board and which must go on as designated cargo.Arrangements to transport your pet into the Netherlands and advice on the import regulations can be provided by specialist organisations such as KLM Cargo.

Protected species

Since rules and regulations vary from country to country, it’s strongly advised you check with the Dutch embassy in your country. If your pet belongs to an officially protected species, you will require a CITES permit.

After arrival in the Netherlands - info

Useful information on having pets in the Netherlands

  • The Netherlands has a wide network of animal hospitals and vets. As well as appointments, many vets offer a special drop-in time (dutch: spreekuur) when you can stop by unannounced for advice or in an emergency.

  • The Animal hospital ‘DAP Het Beestenkasteel’ (translates: veterinary practise ‘The Animal Castle’) is located in the centre of the city Amstelveen. The veterinary practise is located inside the most cosy petshop of the region. We are happy to welcome you and your pet and be at your service.

  • Most cities in the Netherlands charge an annual Dog Tax (dutch: hondenbelasting). This tax is calculated on the number of dogs in each household and it is set by the local municipality.

  • Dogs must be registered with the local town hall (dutch: Gemeente) and the Municipal tax office (dutch: Gemeentelijke Belastingdienst) upon arrival.

  • Registration and taxation procedures apply only to dogs, not cats.

  • All dog owners have to declare their dogs to the municipality within the first 14 days.

  • Guide dogs for the visually impaired travel free of charge on all public transport.

Returning to Japan for a holiday and bringing your pet along..


Pets must be over 90 days old entering Japan from the Netherlands, the following requirements must be followed in the order given:

  1. You must file an Advanced Notification Form at least 40 days in advance of import with the Animal Quarantine Service (AQS). After processing, if facilities are available, an Approval of Notification will be returned to you. Please note that you may be requested to change the date or place of import depending on the availability situation of quarantine facilities at the Animal Quarantine Station.

  2. Your pet must have a microchip that is ISO Standard 11784/11785 compliant. If your pet's microchip is not ISO, you can bring your own microchip scanner.

  3. AFTER microchip insertion, your pet must be vaccinated against rabies twice with an inactivated or recombinant vaccine, both times during the 12 month period prior to entry.  The first vaccination is given after the pet is 3 months but not more than 12 months before entry. The second vaccination must be given more than 30 days prior to entry. 

  4. After the two vaccinations, your dog or cat must have a Blood Titer Test processed by an approved laboratory unless your pet has had a test done within the past 2 years and the rabies vaccination has not expired. In order to reduce the quarantine period to 12 hours when entering Japan, the date when the blood was drawn for the titer test must be more than 180 days and less than 2 years of the arrival date.

  5. An accredited veterinarian must complete a Japan Veterinary Certificate within 2 days of entry stating that your pet is healthy and free of parasites and indicating the above vaccinations and the results of the titer test. If the pet is traveling from the United States or Canada, then USDA (US) or CFIA (Canada) State Veterinarian endorsement is required. If you are traveling from another country, then the Governing Authority of your country responsible for the import and export of animals should endorse the forms.