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.