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.

Author:

PetRelocation Team

Topic:

Air Travel, Airlines, Airports, Ask the Experts

Pet:

Cats, Dogs

Country:

United States

Comments

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By Rafaella on September 24, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Hello, I will be travelling with my maltese dog in cabin and initially I was planning on going from Bahrain to Frankfurt to Athens and final destination to larnaca with Lufthansa. However I thought it will be easier to go from Bahrain with Cathy pacific to Dubai then change to royal Jordanian to Amman and then to larnaca. Would I need any document as I will be transit in Dubai with my pet?Thank you, Rafaella
Reply

By bethany@petrelocation.com on September 25, 2017 at 10:47 am

Hello Rafaella, thanks for your question!

If you are switching airlines at any point, you will need to meet the country import requirements for wherever that switch is occurring. This is because you will need to technically clear customs before you are able to check-in with another airline.

If you'd like to read the rules and requirements for importing pets into the UAE, they can be found here.

I hope this helps, Rafaella. Should you need further guidance, please don't hesitate to let us know here and one of our consultants will be happy to speak with you.
Reply

By simabuko enrique on October 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

IM WANT TO KNOW IM TRAVELING FROM TOKYO TO BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA,AND I HAVE TO LAYOVER PARIS FOR 4 HOURS AND I ONLY CHANGE OF AIRCARFT BUT ALWAYS BY THE SAME COMPANY AIR FRANCE,DO I NEED TO MICROCHIP MY DOG?
Reply

By bethany@petrelocation.com on October 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Hello Simabuko, thanks for the question!

As mentioned in the above post, if you are transferring in less than 24 hours and not switching airlines you do not have to meet the import requirements of the location you are transiting in.

Best of luck with your travels!
Reply

By Renata Jurisic Komocar on October 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Hello i would Like to fly from Germany to ChileAnd the flight has a stop of 2 Hour in Miami Then i go with the same company but other airplane to ChileDo i need to have any paper for the dog for entering America?Thank You very much
Reply

By bethany@petrelocation.com on October 18, 2017 at 10:56 am

Hi Renata,

Per the information above, if you are not switching airlines and are transferring in less than 24 hours, you do not need to meet the requirements of the United States.

Good luck with everything!
Reply

By Diana on November 11, 2017 at 8:23 pm

Hi, I need to fly from Mexico City to Taiwan with my pets ( 1 dog and 1 cat), but we need to transit at LAX, from Mexico City - LAX by American Airline, we have 3 hours and 55 minutes layover at LAX, then we need to fly with another airline EVA Airways to Taiwan, what documents should I prepare to be able on transit at LAX?
Reply

By bethany@petrelocation.com on November 13, 2017 at 10:01 am

Hello Diana, great question!

Because you are switching airlines, your pets will need to follow the US import requirements and have documentation for this at LAX. Here are the import requirements for dogs and cats, as outlined on the USDA website.

Basically, you'll need to show proof of rabies (with an original certificate) and an original health certificate showing your pets have been checked within 10 days of travel.

We hope this helps, Diana! Let us know here if you need any further help with your pets' move. Safe travels!
Reply

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