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 Bryan on September 21, 2018 at 1:32 am

Hi, we are moving from Honolulu Hawaii to Naples Italy. Our dog has a USA chip. What do you recommend? Thanks in advance!
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By Maegan at PetRelocation on September 21, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Hi Bryan! Start by asking your vet if your pet's microchip is ISO compatible. Customs will be cleared, documents will be verified & microchips will be scanned upon the first point of entry into the EU.

If the microchip is not ISO, you'd want to check with the specific Border Inspection Post (BIP) where customs will be cleared for your pet about what type of chips are accepted. If you are clearing customs for your pet, you can always bring your own scanner if you have any doubts. Or, if you choose to get a new ISO microchip for your pet, just make sure you list both microchips on all documentation. Hope this helps!
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By Tara on August 16, 2018 at 8:31 pm

Hi. My dog is 8 years old, has a 9 digit AVID microchip, and has had 4 rabies vaccinations in her life. I just recently got her a new ISO microchip because I will be moving to Japan next year. After reading further I discovered the posaible issue regarding her rabies shots being administered before the microchip implantation. My vet assured me that both microchip numbers will be used on all her documentation. Will I face any problems with the second microchip being administered AFTER her rabies shots?? Should I bring my own microchip reader with me to Japan in case they question anything? She did have the first microchip prior to getting her shots. I am worried I screwed this up. Please let me know. Thank you so much!
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By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 21, 2018 at 9:09 am

Hi Tara! Thanks for your question. Japan is one of the strictest countries to move pets. In our experience, AVID 9 microchips can be read in Japan, but you can bring your own scanner if you have any doubts as we typically have our agent in Japan be prepared with a scanner in these cases. Please note any vet work done after the second microchip should have both chips listed on all the paperwork (including the blood titer test). Here are the requirements for moving to Japan. We specialize in relocating pets to Japan so if you are looking for a company like ours to assist, please feel free to fill out our Arrange a move form here and a consultant will reach out to you. Looking forward to speaking soon! !
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By Jessica on August 15, 2018 at 6:04 pm

My family and I are moving back to the UK with our two cats. One was microchipped in the U.K. so he is okay, but the other has an AVID 9. We will likely be going through Heathrow. Do you know if they have a scanner to read an AVID 9 or should we just get him re-chipped? Also, does ISO compliant basically mean it’s 15 digits? So a homeaway 15 would work? Thank you!
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By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 21, 2018 at 8:52 am

Hi Jessica! Since Heathrow is a large pet hub, they have all kinds of scanners so your pets should be just fine with AVID & Home Again chips. In our experience, if the microchip can be read by a vet in the US, it can be read by staff at Heathrow. Hope this helps!
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By Izabela on August 4, 2018 at 9:57 am

Hi, I am flying with lufthansa to Poland and transit in Frankfurt I want to make sure if my dog's chip is compatible with ISO? She has AVID 9 digit chip. Is the chip going to be checked in Frankfurt or in Poland? I was told the point of entry for our dog is final destination because we are going to transit in Frankfurt (less then 2 hours) and we are not going to leave free trade zone. Is that really true? She is going to travel in cabin with us. Thanks in advance!
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By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 6, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Hi Izabela! We only manage moves for pets traveling as "manifest cargo" and in our experience, all pets' documents are verified and chips are scanned at the first point of entry into the EU (in this case, Frankfurt). Frankfurt has all types of scanners. However, since your pet is traveling in-cabin, you will be responsible for clearing them through customs. If you are not clearing customs in Frankfurt, then your pet will not clear either. This means your pet will be cleared in Poland and it will depend on what type of scanner the inspection point in Poland, and technically AVID 9 is not considered ISO but is widely accepted internationally. You'd want to check with the specific Border Inspection Post (BIP) in Poland on what type of chips are accepted. Or, if you choose to get a new ISO microchip for your pet, just make sure you list both microchips on all documentation. Hope this helps!
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By Izabela on August 6, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Hi Maegan, Thank you so much for your answer! I do have one more question since we have finally booked our tickets. We are going to transit in Munich instead of Frankfurt. Do you have knowledge if in Munich airport they also have all kinds of scanner and they will be able to read AVID 9? Thanks :)
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By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 7, 2018 at 9:45 am

Hi Izabela! Technically, Munich is not a hub so I'm not able to confirm if they will have a scanner for AVID 9 chips. If you do not want to get a second microchip for your pet, you can always purchase a scanner that can read AVID 9 chips and bring it with you in your carry-on -- just to be prepared!
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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 at PetRelocation 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 at PetRelocation 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 at PetRelocation 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 at PetRelocation 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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