The British may have opted out of European Union passports, but the European Union pet passport is still one of the best travel accessories you can get your dog, especially as more and more hotels and travel services become welcoming to dogs. Artemis is an all-American mutt born in Miami and raised in New York City, and she has always been a natural in the cabin flying from New York City to San Francisco to see her grandparents. When I realized that the flight from New York City to London was only 20 minutes longer than our usual domestic cross-country flight, I knew it was time to take Artemis on a Grand Tour of Europe, our nod to the 18th-century tradition of upper-class Englishmen trekking through Europe after graduating from Oxbridge.
One week before we arrived in London, flying in cabin to Heathrow (we will discuss how we did that in a detailed future story!), we made an appointment for a pet passport at the Royal Veterinary College’s Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital in Camden, London. We made the appointment through email (they are very responsive) and sent over Artemis’ American veterinary records promptly. There are many veterinary clinics in London, but we chose this one to support a teaching hospital and because it was close to The Standard, where we were staying.
The day after arriving in London, we attended our appointment at the hospital, where Artemis was given a full wellness exam by two veterinary students and one veterinarian. In the spacious waiting room, we spotted two cats, one dog, and one bunny. Good company! The appointment took about an hour, and it was your typical physical examination (without any blood tests), coupled with several questions about our travel plans together. Because Artemis was due for her rabies vaccination soon, we also got her rabies vaccination updated, too. Your dog can travel to other EU countries 21 days after they get their rabies vaccination.
Your EU pet passport is issued on the spot, handwritten by the attending veterinarian. There is a spot where you can glue in a photo of your dog, but that is not necessary. (Border control will identify and check your dog by the microchip, which they will scan.)
You do not need a European permanent address to get your dog a valid EU pet passport!
We used our United States address in the passport and did not have issues traveling to Stockholm and Paris without a permanent EU address. The EU pet passport allows you to travel through member countries (note: you still have to declare your dog upon landing at the airport, so they can scan the microchip) without procuring any other documentation, and that’s very convenient if you and your dog find yourselves hankering for authentic steak tartare in Paris.
Disclaimer: Artemis received her EU pet passport issued in London months before the United Kingdom left the EU on January 31st, 2020. While it is still valid as a EU pet passport for the rest of 2020, Artemis would either need to obtain a UK pet passport (which would be valid for EU travel) or obtain an animal health certificate, which requires a blood test three months before travel. If you are applying for an EU pet passport now, you should apply outside of the United Kingdom to get a passport that will be valid beyond 2020. (Good excuse to take a trip to Paris!) The process should be exactly the same, though, and you will almost always be able to find a veterinarian who speaks English.