Bringing your dog to France from the USA

Published:  15 Jun at 6 PM
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France’s appeal is now even more international, as an increasing number of US citizens are giving up on the home country and moving to France along with their pets.

Emigrating across continents with your beloved pet dog or cat is a stressful experience at best as well as being an expensive undertaking. Although things rarely go wrong, it’s just the thought that they might which causes sleepless nights prior to departure day. At present, bringing a dog to France from the UK is straightforward due to the EU’s Pet Passport scheme, but bringing your furry friend from the USA is more complicated due to the EU’s bureaucratic entry requirements.

Your pet will need a recent vaccination certificate verified by the USA Department of Agriculture as well as an implanted chip identifying its owner and the dog itself. A visit to your vet some 10 days before departure will allow the documentation to be messengered to the USDA and authenticated at a cost of around $300. As regards the flight itself, most US international airlines allow small dogs in their cases to travel in the cabin, but larger dogs must travel in a specially fitted out, air-conditioned area in the cargo bay.

Cages must be sized according to airline rules and have all documentation attached, and using a pet transportation company is the best way to ensure mistakes don’t happen, especially if the flight includes a layover or change of plane. It’s rare for any problems to occur. especially at European terminals, as their pet care areas are well-staffed with experienced employees. The cost of the above is likely to exceed the cost of your own flight and import duty may need to be paid on arrival.

Once you and your best friend have arrived at your destination, you’ll find that dogs aren’t allowed in a good number of municipal parks but, believe it or not, you can take them for a lunch at a local restaurant. If you’re planning a train trip, your dog will need its own ticket and, although buses don’t charge, some drivers won’t let you on. The Paris metro insists all dogs must be in carry-cases, perhaps one reason why St Bernards, GSDs and Great Danes aren’t that common in the French capital.

In spite of the above issues, bringing your dog with you when you emigrate has its decided advantages. Making friends with other dog lovers is just one, and you’re far more recognisable by locals if you’ve a furry companion. Dogs bring expats into the culture, and their owners can’t be mistaken for tourists but are seen as incomers determined to integrate. If you’re planning to hire a car, the majority of car hire companies allow dogs provided the vehicle’s kept clean. Of course, if you’re an expat already and arriving from an EU member state, all you’ll need is the EU Pet Passport.
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