ISO Compatible Microchips for Pet Travel to the European Union

Microchips can be an understandably confusing part of pet travel, so we've put together a few frequently asked questions to help clear up the most misunderstood aspects of this requirement.

Does my pet need an ISO Compatible Microchip to enter the European Union?

If you’ve looked into any pet import regulations for a country within the EU, chances are you’ve heard the term “ISO compatible” alongside rules relating to microchips. Does that mean you definitely need one if you’re moving your pet to Europe? The answer is a little complicated.

ISO (International Standards Organization) regulations tend to mean different things for different countries, which makes it even more confusing to figure out if your pet’s chip is compliant or not. While we always recommend double checking the specific rules and regulations of your destination country, we know a thing or two that may help with some of the confusion surrounding microchips.

Which microchips will allow entry into the EU?

The technical rule for entry into the EU is to have an ISO compatible chip. There are two fairly common microchip brands that are compatible with ISO regulations for the EU: HomeAgain and the AVID Euro chip (which is 10 digits, instead of the common US 9 digit chip). Take a look at our previous blog posts covering both AVID chips and HomeAgain chips in more detail. 

What if my pet’s chip is not considered ISO compatible?

We have found that when routing through a large Border Inspection Post, such as the Lufthansa Animal Lounge in Frankfurt or the KLM Pet Hotel in Amsterdam, all types of microchips are acceptable. Even if the final stop is not in Amsterdam or Frankfurt, this is where vet inspections and microchip scans occur for entry into the EU. Both of these locations have universal scanners readily available to read any US implanted chip (not just ISO compatible).

With that, keep in mind that the vet clinic at your new destination may not have a universal scanner to read a non-ISO compatible chip. In that case, you may be asked to get a new chip implanted when looking to move again or obtain an EU Pet Passport.

Should I get another chip implanted just to be safe?

While the process of implanting a microchip is typically painless for pets, we do not recommend getting another chip (just to be ISO compatible) if you can avoid it. Here are a few reasons why two chips are not always better than one:

  • Both numbers would need to be listed on all vet documentation just in case one chip is no longer readable (due to malfunction or moving location).

  • The EU requires a microchip to be implanted and scanned prior to a rabies vaccination. With a new chip, your pet would also need a new rabies vaccination to meet import requirements. Again, this is just in case the original chip is no longer readable.

  • The two chips would also need to be continually updated with your contact information. People probably won’t assume that found pets have two microchips, so it’s important to keep contact information up-to-date on both chips to ensure your pet is easily traceable back to you.

In the end, the decision about whether or not to get another chip implanted in order to meet ISO regulations is up to you. We have worked with many pets that have two microchips!

Either way, it’s always a good idea to have your pet’s chip scanned by your vet well in advance to ensure that the chip is working properly, is easy to locate, and the number is recorded correctly for travel.

Ready to discuss your pet's move with a pet travel expert? Contact PetRelocation to set up a consultation today.

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By Dioni on June 12, 2018 at 10:29 pm

Hello !! In about a month me and my dog will be traveling to Greece for 2 months. He has a chip already but it's not ISO. It is a 10 digit chip. Will I have a problem ?
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By maegan@petrelocation.com on June 16, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Hi Dioni! It would depend on where your pet is clearing customs upon first point of entry into the EU. If your pet is transiting Amsterdam, Frankfurt or London first, those are huge pet hubs with all types of scanners. As a rule of thumb, if your pet's microchip can be read in the US, it can be read at one of these hubs, so we typically set up all our pet moves to transit a major hub in the EU. Feel free to check out the requirements for importing pets to Greece here and if we can be of assistance please let us know!
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By Holly on June 11, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Hello,I'm going to be possibly moving back to Czech republic with my cat. My vet has AKC Reunite microchip. Is this one ISO compatible and can the chip and rabies vaccination be done at the same appointment and register my cat into online database later? Thank you for your help.
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By maegan@petrelocation.com on June 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Hi Holly! The chip & the rabies vaccination can be done at the same vet appointment. We suggest your vet implant the chip, scan it to make sure it is working, then give the rabies vaccination. Here are the requirements for moving your cat to the Czech Republic. If you'd like to get a quote for our services, please fill out Arrange A Move form here. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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By Marcel van Noordenne on June 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm

I will be moving back to The Netherlands in December; my cat has an AVID Microchip, 15 digits, is that ISO approved? hard to find a clear answer on the net.
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By maegan@petrelocation.com on June 11, 2018 at 10:36 am

Hi Marcel! If you are flying into Amsterdam that is considered a major hub in the EU with assorted microchip scanners. As a rule of thumb, if your cat's microchip can be read in the US, it can be read in Amsterdam. Hope that helps!
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By maegan@petrelocation.com on April 5, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Hi Karen,

The microchip used should comply with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785. France currently accepts AVID 9 and AVID 10 in addition to ISO. The microchip must be implanted before the rabies vaccine is administered. Feel free to check out. France's government website here. Hope this has been helpful!
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By Karen on March 30, 2018 at 12:13 am

Hello, i'm moving back to France at the end of this year and i want to bring my cat with me, problem is where i live curently (Mexico) they only have AVID 9 digit format, does anyone knows if France can read or accept those or do i need to buy and bring the lector?
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By maegan@petrelocation.com on April 5, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Hi Karen

Thanks for your question. The microchip used should comply with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785. France currently accepts AVID 9 and AVID 10 in addition to ISO. The microchip must be implanted before the rabies vaccine is administered. Feel free to check out . France's government website here. Hope this helps!
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By Kaye Shehan on January 19, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Hi I am traveling with my cat and dog back home to Edinburgh, Scotland from Houston, Texas. My dog has an Avid 9 digit chip. The pet reception people at Edinburgh Airport cannot tell me whether they have a reader that will read Busters chip. They told me they have a reader that “has” read 9 digit chips but are unable to advise me further. I understand this but it doesn’t help me decide what I should do. I am inclined to get a microchip reader. I don’t think I can take the chance of assuming his chip will be read in Edinburgh. I’m so worried about this situation. Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated!
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By cquezada@petrelocation.com on January 22, 2018 at 9:18 am

Hi Kaye! Thanks for your question. If you are concerned about their chip reader, you can supply your own scanner (https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/microchip). We've heard of people taping the scanner to the crate, but you may want to reach out to the government office directly to find out what they specifically require. Additionally, it's important to make sure the chip is definitely readable and the number matches all the paperwork. Let us know if you're interested in hiring assistance (our experts would handle the whole process for you) or you can use IPATA.org to find a destination agent to assist you. Hope that helps!
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By Bambi on January 7, 2018 at 11:43 am

I’m looking to visit Spain with my 8 months old puppy. He already has a US chip. Advise please, thanks
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By cquezada@petrelocation.com on January 8, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Hi Bambi, and thanks for your question. Spain currently accepts ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785 chips in addition to AVID 9 and AVID 10. If you are preparing to go to Spain with a dog, make sure to check all of the import requirements for this country so you don’t encounter any unexpected issues once you arrive.

Also, be aware that Spain has bans on certain breeds—the American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Dogo Argentino, English Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, Akita Inu, Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff), Tosa Inu. For a more detailed explanation of regulations, you can visit the Ministry of Agriculture website.If you have any additional questions and would like to speak with one of our relocation consultants, please fill out our Arrange a Move form and we will contact you shortly!

Hope this helps!
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By Haley on September 14, 2017 at 6:52 pm

I read that 24PetWatch IS ISO compatible if it has the fifteen digit code that starts 982, is this true?
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By bethany@petrelocation.com on September 15, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Hello Haley, thanks for your question!

Yes, the 15-digit 24PetWatch microchip is considered ISO compliant, since it meets the standard frequency of 134.2 kHz. Keep in mind that it is still important to ensure the chip is readable and that the number is correctly recorded on all necessary vet paperwork prior to travel.

Hope this helps! Just let us know if we can be of assistance with anything else and good luck with everything.
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