Relocating with Pets to the Czech Republic
Are you relocating for your new job to the Czech Republic? Taking your pets with you? Then this article is a MUST READ. There is a lot of confusion about moving countries with your furry friends, but I promise that this article will help you to successfully navigate the process and save your time so you can focus on your new job and enjoy life in your new country as quickly as possible.
If you are moving elsewhere, this article could be a good starting point as you can easily transfer this process to another country.
I will use an example of relocating my two Chinese cats, Filemon and Bonifacy, from Beijing to Prague to explain the whole process and give you some tips.
The pets’ relocation process should start minimum 6 months before your planned arrival date, especially if you are coming from outside of the European Union. At this stage, you should be done with your research with all of the necessary requirements. Sometimes it is quite a list, so here is the first tip that will help you manage all of the necessities: Think about it in two separate processes:
EXIT – Moving out from your current country
Usually your current vet will be able to provide you with all the information such as your pets ID/ health/ travel documents. Ask your vet if they have experience assisting in international relocation. In most of the cases, English speaking / Expats’ serving vets will have it. Some of them even organize lectures where you can learn more. Most of the basic requirements are rabies vaccinations and pre-departure health checks.
ENTRANCE – Moving into the Czech Republic/ another EU or no EU country
Contact a veterinary authority in the destination country and ask about all of the steps / documents needed to bring your pet into the country. This step is extremely important, because it will help you to ensure that your pets will not be refused entry. Unfortunately, I heard about cases where pets left their home country but were denied entry into the Czech Republic. Obviously, it happened because the owners got confused with the two processes or maybe didn’t realize that leaving their home country is just half of the success.
- How to get the information? It is really easy: go to the State Veterinary Website where you will find this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. In case you are moving to a different country, a similar state veterinary website can usually be found as a part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s website.
- Write an email describing your current situation and all of the information needed. My advice is to give as many details as possible.
Here is the sample email which you can tailor for your needs.
Hello, my name is ….. and I am planning to relocate from Beijing, China to Prague, Czech Republic, with my two Chinese cats. We will travel by plane and arrive to Prague, Ruzyne Airport. Could you please provide the list of all the requirements to relocate pets from China to the Czech Republic? Thank you.
- Normally after a few days, you should get a detailed reply. If you do not hear from them, you can also phone them but the email reply was sufficient in my case. I received all of the paperwork forms in the attachment. They also advised me to contact the Border Inspection Post at the airport and provided the contact details for it.
- All you have to do is follow the requirements. As you can imagine, relocating pets from another EU country is much easier and quicker than from outside the EU. You should pay special attention to the instructions, especially if you are coming from Russia, Ukraine, or like in my case, from China. Pay attention to completing the rabies serological test because the blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after the vaccination and three months before entering the EU territory. You need to get your head around the process, decide on the type of the transport, and find time to arrange the vet appointment. As you can see, that could easily add up to six months if you live outside the EU.
- To enter / exit most of the countries, a microchip is required that needs to be inserted before the rabies vaccination. If you vaccinate your pet, but are not planning to relocate soon, don’t listen the vet who will try to convince you to insert the chip, “just in case” and trying to scare you that it could delay the process. They “forget” to tell you that this is a very painful process and is simply not worth doing if you don’t plan to relocate within the next six months (or you don’t know if you will relocate at all). Unfortunately, some foreigners who have occupations as vets will do it, just to upsell their services. The best scenario to insert the chip is any surgical procedure where pets will go under anesthesia, i.e. spaying, neutering or teeth cleaning. If you relocate often, just ask your vet to insert the chip during the surgery.
- Decide how you will travel with your pets. If you have a small dog or cat, there is no reason to put them into cargo. You can easily take your pets into the flight cabin with you – just double check the airline requirements. Putting pets in the cargo will cause them unnecessary stress, and cases where the pets were lost / died are actually very common. HERE is just one example, but you can research many more of them online. Warning – it is not for fainted hearts. These are extremely sad stories, but just think that you can avoid this happening to your best, furry friend. If you have a bigger dog and you live in or close to Europe, I would strongly recommend to travel by car because bigger dogs won’t be allowed into the flight cabin.
- Be critical of all information and advice you get. I was often shocked that some relocation companies insisted on putting small animals into cargo and the owners were easily convinced that this is the only way to do it. If you do your research, you will realize that most of the European airlines allow you to take your pet if the total weight of the pet and its container is not more than 8 kg. Travel bags are usually very light.
- Relocation, especially if you do it for the first time, can be a very challenging. If you relocate with your family, choose one person to be in charge of the whole pet’s move and who will take the initiative to learn all about the process.
Celebrate your success once you all arrived safely to the Czech Republic. Did you know that this is one of the most animal friendly countries in the world? Send your pets’ video to Mnau TV, order a cake for your dog, or get some new cat toys from Zoohit. Enjoy your new job and new life abroad without leaving your best companions behind!
Feel free to ask me any further questions – I would be glad to help if I can. And good luck.
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