Pet Travel: Layover and Transit Requirements at Airports

Pets, International Travel and Layovers

Layover and Transit Requirements for Traveling PetsWe received this question recently and thought it was worth sharing, as it addresses a common pet travel concern:

Q: I am traveling with my pet from India to Seattle via Amsterdam using KLM. There is a layover at the airport for four hours in Amsterdam. Will I need a microchip or a blood titre test for the layover? Thanks.

This is certainly a valid concern. When traveling with pets internationally, what do you need for layovers in different countries? The answer is, like most answers about pet travel, somewhat complicated and depends on two factors:

Factor #1: Whether you're switching airlines (not planes, but airlines). 

If you're flying into another country and then changing airlines, then the first airline you are flying will treat your layover city/country as the final destination. You will be expected to fulfill the import requirements for that country and clear your pet through customs prior to re-export on your next flight. 

This means you would also need all necessary export paperwork for the layover country (another health certificate endorsed in that country, for example).

However, if you're staying on the same airline and simply changing planes, your final destination is still considered by the airline to be wherever your last flight lands -- you are simply transiting through the layover country with your pet. In that scenario, you will only need to fulfill the import requirements for your destination country.

Note: Some countries do require 'transit permits' to transit through them -- check with the airline you are flying with in advance to see if this will be necessary.

Factor #2: How long the layover is. 

If you have a layover longer than 24 hours in any country, chances are the country will no longer consider it to be a transit. You will need to fulfill the import requirements for your layover country in that instance.

The Answer

As to the question above, since the pet owner is flying on the same airline (KLM) and the layover is only four hours, she will not need any additional documents to stop in Amsterdam on her way back flying with pets to the United States.


Contact PetRelocation if you'd like some assistance planning your pet's safe relocation, and happy pet travels!


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2009 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Airlines, Airports, Ask the Experts


Cats, Dogs


United States


Add a Comment

By Kris on April 22, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Hello I need additional documents for cat if will be only transit in Doha ? Fly's are both with Qatar Airways with 2 hours stop in Doha ? I hope Uae documents will be enough :-) Someone know for sure ? Tnx.

By on April 24, 2017 at 9:28 am

Per the information above, if you are not leaving the airport and not switching airlines, you don't need to meet the import requirements of the country through which you're transiting. Hope that helps!

By Rana on June 9, 2017 at 9:09 am

Hi, We're traveling to Canada from Senegal via Brussels airlines then Air Canada. We have about 4 hours layover in Brussels. Does my cat require the Rabies antibodies test?? She's already vaccinated, but I am getting conflicting messages about the test. Canada doesn't require it, and I am mostly worried about our transit in Brussels. Thanks

By on June 9, 2017 at 9:59 am

Hi Rana! Belgium doesn't require a titer test for entering pets (please view the requirements here:, however you may want to check with a customs official or the airline to find out if additional requirements will need to be met. Good luck and let us know if we can help arrange your cat's move!

By Henri on September 1, 2017 at 7:22 am

Hi.... I have a short layover in Spain... do i need to adhere to the hole list of EU requirements just to transit?

By on September 1, 2017 at 9:03 am

Hello Henri,

Thanks for reaching out! As mentioned in the above blog post, you will only need to follow the import rules and requirements for Spain if your pet is switching airlines there or if your pet's layover is longer than 24 hours.

Good luck and let us know if we can help with anything!

By Amanda on September 16, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Hi, I'm flying from China to the US with my large dog in the hold on Air France, and we have a 2.5hr layover in Paris. Air France requires me to claim the dog, go through customs, and recheck the dog onto the next flight. I am not changing airlines. However, because I have to go through customs, will they require all import documentation for EU? EU requires the blood titer test and a 3month additional waiting period; the US does not. To be safe, I'm getting the blood work done, but I can't wait the 3 months. Do you think I will run into problems at CDG? No one seems to have the answer, and waiting to find out when we arrive in Paris is giving me anxiety.Also... do you think I'd need a transit permit? And approximately how long does approval take?Thanks in advance.

By on September 18, 2017 at 7:46 am

As mentioned in the blog above, if you are not leaving the airport, switching airlines, or transiting for more than 24 hours, you don't need to meet the import requirements of the country through which you're transiting. Hope that helps!

By Joao Zanini on October 18, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Hi Amanda, I have the same concern with Air France and just saw your message. Same thing. three hours layover, not changing airlines, but the website says that I should recheck my cats, passing through security. Did you already travel? If you did, would you please be so kind to share the experience? Best regards.

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