Since moving to any country with an animal is always a stressful process that must be approached with responsibility, in this article, we will streamline the list of necessary documents. In addition, we will review what to do and what questions you may face after you and your pet have already arrived in Portugal.
First, it should be noted that there is an official website of the veterinary service dealing with animal issues in Portugal (materials are available in English). There is even an article that contains rules for entering the territory of Portugal for persons/refugees with animals from Ukraine (with machine translation into Ukrainian and Russian). Also, you can get all present information at the time of travel on the website, particularly if you are interested in exceptional cases such as transporting significant quantities of animals, exotic species, or transportation with a commercial purpose.
However, when transporting the most common pets (cats, dogs, and ferrets) to stay with you, we have tried to facilitate the process and assembled information for you as of January 2023.
Transportation: necessary papers and rules of entry
You should first visit the veterinary clinic to ensure that your pet is healthy and has all the necessary papers and certificates. Here we will provide a list of documents currently appropriate for importing pets (once again, we note that we will only be talking about dogs, cats, and ferrets) to Portugal:
International veterinary passport (EU) or health certificate (non - EU)
The document must contain the following data:
- complete vaccination against viral diseases. The last vaccination must be carried out no later than 30 days and no earlier than 12 months before the date of departure;
- a picture of the pet before it reaches the age of 12 months;
- chipping mark;
- a sign of vaccination against rabies (must be done AFTER chipping, and no later than 21 days and no earlier than 1 year before the date of departure);
- information on treatments against ectoparasites and endoparasites (fleas and worms);
- confirmation of the presence of an implanted microchip compatible with ISO 11784 or 11785 (15 characters), attached to the animal's passport;
- a medical certificate filled out before departure.
Pay attention: according to the requirements of the European Union, taking blood for the analysis of antibodies to rabies must be done no earlier than 30 days after vaccination against rabies and at least 3 months before departure, so it is worth taking care of this before finally deciding on the dates of arrival. In addition, an authorized (USDA-accredited) veterinarian must perform the analysis, and the sample must be sent to an EU-approved laboratory.
What are the transportation restrictions?
A species of pet
If you wish to bring an animal other than a cat, dog, or ferret to Portugal, you must check the rules for importing your animal separately on the DGAV website.
We advise you to check the rules at the time of transportation for the following dog breeds, which are subject to special regulation by the Portuguese government: Brazilian Fila, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Tosa Inu, Pit Bull Terrier, Rottweiler (get more information on the DGAV website).
Age of the pet
It is forbidden to import dogs and cats under 12 weeks of age into the countries of the European Union.
The difference in the travel time of the pet is more than 5 days/transportation of more than 5 animals:
If you are traveling with more than 5 pets, or your pets arrive outside the 5-day period from your arrival in the country, you will need to obtain a "commercial" pet health certificate (more information is available at the list of rules from DGAV).
Remain of the animal in the territory of Portugal: registration with DGAV and SIAC
There are also some rules that must be followed for the animal to stay in Portugal from the services known by the abbreviations DGAV and SIAC.
We wrote about DGAV above. SIAC is the System of information about pets (Sistema de Informação de Animais de Companhia).
So why do you need that, and why at this stage?
The matter is that according to Portuguese law, you will need to register your pet with SIAC at least 48 hours before arriving in the country. Registration is carried out only once. Usually, it includes collecting information about the microchip, data about the owner, etc. After receiving the relevant information, the service will transfer the collected data to the DGAV.
The registration fee is €2.50 and is mandatory for all pets born or staying in Portugal for 120 days or more.
After that, you must contact DGAV separately: all persons arriving from Ukraine and accompanied by pets must report this to the following e-mail address: email@example.com or contact official veterinarians at the following addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org.; email@example.com.
It is desirable to indicate the means of identification of your pet in the message (detailed in the list of documents for transportation), as well as its data after registration in the pet information system SIAC.
Please note that if you cannot contact the service through one of the indicated e-mail addresses for some reason, you will still have to report the border crossing with the animal to the veterinary service of your municipality (MVM) according to your place of residence. The necessary list of contacts can be found at this address.
Means of transportation
So, when the papers are dealt with, questions arise directly regarding the means of transporting the animal to the country's territory and arranging this process.
Is it possible to transport an animal to Portugal like this?
Here, the information has mostly stayed the same. Short answer: yes, you can (for commercial flights and the transportation of cats, dogs, and ferrets). However, not all airlines allow this, as we already wrote here. In addition, even those that would enable transportation usually impose certain restrictions on the size and conditions of accommodation of the animal, primarily in the cabin, so it is better to find out about everything directly from the airline's representatives in advance. Most often, animals weighing no more than 8 kg are allowed to be transported in the cabin. In addition, it will be necessary to purchase an appropriate ticket for the animal. The cost also depends on the company.
What about land vehicle transportation?
The same rules and documents apply to transporting pets by land vehicles. However, the DGAV requires you to inform them separately (at the addresses above) of your arrival by car/bus because if you cross the border with Portugal by land vehicle, you are not subject to the border control procedure.
Hints for convenient organization of the trip:
First of all, you should make sure that your pet is healthy and ready for the trip. During the visit to the veterinarian, you can also inquire about the appropriateness of using sedatives for the animal, depending on its condition and transportation conditions.
Take preparatory steps for the animal's comfort during the trip: choose a container or carrier and try to familiarize your animal with this place.
Veterinarians advise not to feed your pet on the day of the trip, as there is a high risk of diarrhea or seasickness due to stress.
Make sure that your pet consumes enough fluids. Place a bowl of water in a container if permitted/required by your chosen mode of transport.
Search in advance for pet walking areas at airports if you are heading to the country on transfer at the airport. It won't hurt your pet to stretch its paws during a long trip.
You have arrived in Portugal! What's next?
Phew, first of all, congratulations! Your pet is with you, and now it remains only to understand a few simple rules to ensure that your stay in the country will be as comfortable as possible and you will not have unnecessary trouble.
Portugal is also a hospitable country for four-legged friends. Many people (according to some data, more than half of the country's inhabitants) have pets, and there are many systems for organizing life with them. Furthermore, animals are protected by Portuguese law, and pet abuse or abandonment became punishable by fines or even prison terms in 2014. Therefore, they are valued here, and their well-being is cared for.
Search for an apartment and conditions of stay in the accommodation
According to the experience of many acquaintances who arrived in Portugal, a pet can complicate the process of finding accommodation. However, it doesn't make it impossible, especially if it is a small pet, quiet and well-mannered.
There is a policy that the number of pets on the property cannot exceed 4 grown-ups. However, owners may make an exception subject to agreement with the municipal veterinarian.
Furthermore, you should know that if you live in an apartment building, the association of residents of the building can oppose the presence of a pet in common areas but not inside the apartment. However, it is still worth following generally accepted rules of behavior when using space to avoid conflict.
Staying with a pet in public places
If the animal is in common or public areas, it must be on a leash, wear a collar that identifies it, and have the owner's phone number or address marked. If the breed is considered violent or dangerous, the animal must wear a muzzle.
As for walking animals - there is a fine of 500 euros for unpicked excrement. But we must note that the locals only sometimes pay attention to this rule.
Transportation of animals in public transport
In Portugal, many companies deal with public transport regulations, and accordingly, there are different rules for the transport of pets. Therefore, we advise you to check the regulations during travel. However, the following information is currently relevant:
Trains: pet transportation on Trains of Portugal is allowed (provided they are not a danger to others, are healthy, and don't have an unpleasant smell) and is free of charge if you are traveling with only one pet weighing up to 10 kg and carry in an appropriate carry-on size container. In addition, transportation of assistance dogs is free.
Transportation of larger dogs is allowed without a container on regional and interregional trains, as well as on Alfa trains Pendular and Intercidades, with the purchase of a half-price ticket (the Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra city trains allow dogs to be transported for free). You need a certificate of vaccination and a valid pet certificate or passport to do that. The conditions of transportation in other cases and locations can be checked at this link.
Metro: transportation in the metro is allowed under the same conditions: free of charge, but with a muzzle and on a short leash.
City buses: transportation in Carris city buses is allowed in carry-ons.
Intercity buses: On Rede buses (except for international races), small pets are allowed to be carried with passengers on the condition that a ticket is purchased for them. The size of the carrier should not exceed 35x40x26 cm.
The rest of the transport companies prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on the transportation of pets, so if you are going to use another mode of transport, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the rules in advance.
We hope this article has helped you with some of the questions you may have about arriving and staying in Portugal with your pet. Portugal is moving toward opening more pet-friendly establishments, and there is also a growing choice of veterinary clinics and institutions providing animal care services. In this country, and especially in large cities, there are numerous shops, clinics, parks for walking, shelters, and even a bakery for animals. For example, a list of such institutions in Lisbon can be found at this address.
We wish you a peaceful trip and a wonderful stay in Portugal with your pet!