Office of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Who can sign the veterinary certificate? What is an “Official Veterinarian”?

Answer: For non-commercial imports (five animals or less):

United States: the veterinary certificate may be filled out by any veterinarian accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA/APHIS, under the Veterinary National Accreditation Program, NVAP. However, once filled, the certificate must be endorsed by an Official Veterinary employed by the Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (VS/APHIS) of the Department of Agriculture. First, ask your veterinarian whether he/she is accredited under NVAP. If that is not the case, please contact the Area Office of VS/APHIS to request a list of accredited veterinarians near your place of residence.

Once the accredited veterinarian has filled and signed the certificate, it will need the endorsement (signature) of a VS/APHIS Official Veterinarian. The accredited veterinarian or VS/APHIS Area Office can inform you of the procedure. Veterinarians employed by the Armed Forces are considered Official Veterinarians: a certificate signed by a military veterinarian does not need APHIS endorsement.

Canada: The certificate must be signed by a licensed veterinarian and endorsed by an Official Veterinarian from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). For more information on how to find an official veterinarian, read this page.

For commercial imports (more than five animals):

United States: The certificate has to be signed by an Official Veterinarian (employed by VS/APHIS/USDA) at the port/airport of departure within the 24 hours prior to boarding. For more information, please contact the appropriate VS/APHIS Area Office.

Canada: The certificate must be signed by an Official Veterinarian from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). For more information on how to find an official veterinarian, read this page.

Q: My dog/cat/ferret just received her rabies shot. Can she go to Spain?

R: According to EU Commission Decision 2005/91, when an animal is vaccinated against rabies for the first time, it must wait a period of 21 days before it is allowed into Spain. If the vaccine is not the first the animal receives, but rather a booster shot administered before the previous vaccine’s expiration, the wait period is not required. For example:

  • Example 1: A dog is vaccinated for the first time on June 1, 2005: it won’t be allowed into Spain until June 22, 2005;
  • Example 2: A dog is vaccinated for the first time on June 30, 2002, for a three-year period, and the booster shot is administered June 1, 2005 (before the first vaccine’s expiration date): it will be allowed into Spain as soon as June 1, 2005;
  • Example 3: A dog is vaccinated on May 1, 2002, for three years, and the booster shot is administered on June 1, 2005 (alter the previous vaccine’s expiration date): the dog won’t be allowed into Spain until June 22, 2005.

Q: My dog/cat/ferret is less than three months old. Can I take it to Spain?

A: No. The entry of dogs, cats, or ferrets of less than three months of age into Spain is not allowed.

Q: How can I find out if my pet's microchip is compatible with standards ISO-11784 or Annex A to ISO-11785?

A: It is likely that your veterinarian will know. Also, in Canada you may check this list of compatible microchip manufacturers and distributors. In the United States, you may check with the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Q: What should I write in the space “Certificate Serial Number” of the certificate form?

A: The space for the serial number is reserved for the endorsing Veterinary Service Office (VS/APHIS), to number the certificate according to their records system.

Q: I have taken my animal to the United States or Canada on vacation, and now I’m returning to Spain. Do I need the certificate?

A: Pursuant to Regulation (EC) 998/2003. pet animals in the EU must have a passport, following the model established in Annex I of Decision 2003/803/CE. If your animal is travelling to the U.S. or Canada, you need to obtain a passport before you leave Spain. With an updated passport, you will not need a certificate to return to Spain with your animal. The passport is also required to travel from Spain to other European Union Countries.

Independently from the EU passport for the return to Spain, your animal must comply with the relevant requirements to enter the United States or Canada.

Q: The airline is asking me for a certificate of acclimation or some guarantee that the animal is in condition to withstand the trip, but I can’t see that information on the certificate.

A: Each airline has its own regulations and requirements concerning the transport of pet animals. The information on our web site, and on the certificate forms, concerns only the requirements of the Government of Spain. For more information about requirements for the flight, cage size, etc., please contact the airline’s customer service department.

Q: I can’t open the certificate forms. What is the problem?

A: In order to view and print the certificates, you will need to have the free software Adobe Reader installed in your computer. Click here if you wish to install it now.

Q: Once my animal arrives to Spain with all the proper documents, will it be quarantined?

A: Provided that your animal has all the required certificates and does not show symptoms of disease, it will not need to be quarantined.

Q: What requirements apply to service dogs?

A: The same veterinary requirements that apply to pets (i.e., rabies shot, veterinary certificate, etc.) apply to guide dogs, including the Veterinary certificate and the Owner's certificate. Since the general requirements are not particularly stringent and address only the most basic animal health concerns, they are not reduced for service animals.

Spanish legislation grants service dogs free access to all public venues and transportation systems. Usually, the dog needs to be registered and licensed in Spain; however, since such a requirement would be burdensome for a short stay, the Spanish National Organization of the Blind (Organización Nacional de Ciegos de España, ONCE) recommends that the owner carry the dog's official service animal license or similar document issued by the service school where it was trained. For more information on guide dogs for visually impaired people, please check ONCE's website. For information on other assistance dogs, please check the website of the Spanish Association of Assistance Dogs (Asociación Española de Perros de Asistencia, AEPA).

Q: What happens if I arrive at the airport when the Border Inspection Post (veterinary inspection) is closed?

A: There are two possible cases:

If the animal travels with you as luggage, the Customs Officers will process the entry into Spain, provided the animal has all the necessary documentation (check the regulations to learn about the necessary documentation).

If the animal travels by itself, its entry may be processed by the Customs Officers unless the Officers consider it necessary to have the animal examined by a veterinarian. In this case, the animal will be housed in the premises of the Border Inspection Post (BIP) until the Post opens to the public (the BIP's premises are equipped to offer your animal a safe and reasonably comfortable stay). The BIP veterinary inspectors will process the entry into Spain when an authorized person (normally, the addressee) claims the animal.

If the airport of entry into Spain is not the animal's final destination, the animal will be housed in the entry BIP until the inspectors can process the entry, thus allowing the animal to continue to its destination.

Q: Before going to Spain, I am going to travel through other European Union country. Do I still need the Spanish certificates?

A: If your entry into the European Union will be through a country other than Spain, you should contact the Embassy of that country in the United States or Canada (click here to see a list of foreign Embassies in Washington, DC. or in Ottawa, in order to inquire for the requirements for the import of pet animals. Once inside the European Union, legislation requires that resident pet animals have a passport, issued by a veterinarian. For animals that enter Spain after a brief stopover at another European Union country, the veterinary certificate will be sufficient.

Q: Can I take my pet on the train in Spain?

A: Railroad passengers in Spain can take their pet animals with them under certain conditions. Conditions for long-distance trains are different than those for commuter trains. Please check this web page at the National Railroad Network of Spain's (RENFE) website to find out the conditions.

Q: Can I take my pet’s special food with me to Spain?

A: Starting May 1, 2004, pursuant to EU Commission Regulation (EC) 745/2004 of April 16, 2004 , travelers from third countries (including the United States and Canada) cannot bring foodstuffs of animal origin for personal consumption into the European Union. This ban affects all kinds of meat, products containing meat products, milk, and dairy products, except infant powder formula in commercial containers. Thus, if your pet’s food contains ingredients of animal origin, you cannot take it with you. Any other foods without ingredients of animal origin, travellers to Spain are allowed to bring up to 1 kg (2.2 lb.) per person.

Please be aware that most major brands of pet food are commercially available in Spain, either in supermarkets or in pet stores.

Q: My animal has heartworm. Can I still take it to Spain?

A: Animals infected with Dirofilaria (heartworm) can travel to Spain without any special limitations. However, the animal must be accompanied by a report from its veterinarian detailing the treatment prescribed for the disease.

Q: Is there any order to follow in regards to the administration of the vaccine and the implementation of the microchip?

A: Yes, The implanting of the microchip should be previous to the rabies vaccine. In case that a booster has to be adminested, the microchip has to be implanted before the booster vaccine. In case you have to provide both, microchip and rabies vaccine, it can be done the same day.

Q: Can I travel with my pet to Spain with the Passport updated by an United States or Canadian authority?

A: Yes, the passport can be updated by the United States or Canadian authority. Therefore, you will not need the certificate.


More Questions? Send us an e-mail at info@mapausa.org