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International pet transport to Portugal

Portugal is a pet-friendly country, and more than half the households in the country are pet owners. Dogs and cats are the most common household pets in the country, though the number of pet dogs outnumbers the number of cats.

Your pet must fulfil the country’s pet import conditions satisfactorily to travel to Portugal. As an EU member country, Portugal follows the European Union’s guidelines for pet import. If you are travelling to Portugal with your pet, here are the pet import regulations to follow.


The microchip is extremely important for international pet travel. It helps identify pets and is used to match lost or stolen pets with their pet parents. The microchip is a small chip, the size of a grain of rice, which is implanted under the skin, usually between your pet’s shoulders. The chip contains information about your pet, and a microchip reader is used to scan the chip and retrieve the data.

The microchip must conform to ISO 11784 and use HDX or FDX-B technology. It should be capable of being read by an ISO 11785 compliant microchip scanner. The pet parent must provide the scanner to read the chip if the chip is not compliant. Make sure the chip is implanted before your pet receives the rabies vaccination.

Country category 

European Union member countries have different pet import regulations depending on the rabies status of the origin country. Portugal recognises three country categories; check your country status before beginning your pet travel plans.

  • Category 1 – EU member countries; these countries have little to zero incidence of rabies, and pets travelling from these countries require an updated pet passport issued by a licensed EU-authorised vet.
  • Category 2 – These are countries with a low incidence of rabies not part of the European Union. They are Andorra, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State, Ascension Island, United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Netherlands, Antilles, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Barbados, Bahrain, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Falkland Islands, Hong Kong, Croatia, Jamaica, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, Montserrate, Mauritius, New Caledonia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Russian Federation, Singapore, Saint Helena, Taiwan, United States of America, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, and Mayotte.
  • Category 3 – All other countries not mentioned above fall into this category. These countries have a high incidence of rabies, and pets travelling from these countries have additional steps in the pet travel process.

Vaccinations for pets travelling to Portugal

Pet vaccinations are another important step in the international pet transport process. All pets must be fully vaccinated before travelling. Pet vaccinations protect your pet from life-threatening diseases and prevent the spread of exotic diseases when they travel.

Most countries require pets to be vaccinated against rabies and other common canine and feline diseases. Pets travelling to Portugal from Category 1 and 2 countries must be vaccinated against rabies before travelling. The vaccination must be an inactivated rabies vaccine of at least one antigenic unit per dose and administered according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If your pet has received the primary rabies vaccination, there is a waiting period of 21 days before they are allowed to fly to Portugal. However, if they receive their booster dose before the primary vaccination has expired and if the primary vaccination was administered after the microchip implantation, your pet need not wait for 21 days before travelling to Portugal.

Pets travelling from category 3 countries need a rabies titre test in addition to the rabies vaccine. The test must be administered 30 days after the primary vaccination. Remember to ensure your pet is microchipped before the vaccination and have the vet scan the microchip before drawing blood for the titre test.

Samples for the titre test must be sent to EU approved labs for processing. The rabies titre test checks the efficacy of the rabies vaccine. Your pet must have an antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml to be eligible to travel to Portugal. Pets must wait for at least three months from the sampling date before they can fly to Portugal.

Health certificate

Pets travelling to Portugal from non-EU member countries must have a health certificate attested by a government official. The health certificate should contain the following details:

  • Name and identification of the pet
  • Microchip information
  • Rabies vaccination details
  • Rabies titre test details
  • Pet owner information

If your dog or cat is travelling to Portugal from an EU country, they will need an up-to-date pet passport issued by a vet in the origin country.

If your pet cat is travelling from Australia to Portugal, they must not stay in a place where there have been cases of Hendra disease for 60 days before the date of travel.

Non-commercial pet transport to Portugal

Pet transport to Portugal is considered non-commercial transport if the pets are not sold or transferred to another owner after they reach their destination. Household pets must be accompanied by their owners during the journey. If the pet owner cannot accompany the pet, they must travel to Portugal within five days of the pet’s travel. If a pet parent travels with more than five pets, it is considered commercial transport, and the pet import laws are slightly different. The pet transport process is longer for commercial transport and is more expensive.

Banned breeds in Portugal

Portugal bans the import of certain potentially dangerous breeds from entering the country. The following dog breeds and their crosses are banned for non-commercial travel to Portugal:

  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Pitbull Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tosa Inu

These breeds and their crosses are allowed to enter the country for short stays not exceeding four months. Pet parents need to submit a statement of responsibility that the dog will stay in the country for no longer than four months. Dogs that remain in the country for more than four must be desexed, and pet parents must produce a veterinary certificate with proof of the procedure.

Entering Portugal with your pet dog or cat

Pets flying into Portugal can enter the country at designated Traveller’s Entry Points. Pet parents must give an advance notification at the airport 48 hours before arrival to avoid inconvenience. The Traveller’s Entry Point at Lisbon Airport is closed between 12.00 AM and 6.00 AM, and pets will not be accepted for examination. Make sure you plan your pet’s flight accordingly. The Traveller’s Entry Point at Porto Airport is closed between 11.00 PM and 7.00 AM, and mandatory examination of pets entering Portugal will take place outside these hours.

When your pet enters Portugal, they will be examined by competent authorities for any signs of illness and if all their pet import paperwork is complete. Pets that fulfil all pet import conditions can enter the country without quarantine. Pets that fail to meet the pet import conditions will not be allowed entry and sent back to the country of origin at the pet owner’s expense.

International pet transport to Portugal from Australia

Pet transport to Portugal can be overwhelming for pet parents, especially if they are travelling for the first time with their pets. An experienced pet transport agency can help transport your pet cat or dog safely to Portugal and ensure you and your pet have a pleasant and stress-free pet travel experience.

Petraveller is one of Australia’s best pet transport companies specialising in zero-harm international pet transport. If you plan to travel to Portugal from Australia with your pet, reach out to Petraveller for more information on international pet transport and a free travel quote.