Updated April 10, 2017
Frankfurt Customs Clearance for Courier Services
Pets in Germany -- Germans love their animals, but they also take pet ownership very seriously, as we all should. So before figuring out all the steps to get your pet to Germany, ensure you review the differences in the laws and general guidelines associated with pet keeping here.
Of note from the USDA:
"Pet dogs, cats, and ferrets must be identified with a microchip compatible with ISO standard 11784 or 11785 or the appropriate microchip reader must be provided along with the pet. Microchip implantation must occur PRIOR to rabies vaccination. Any rabies vaccination that occurs prior to microchip implantation is not considered valid regardless of whether the animal was up-to-date on its previous rabies vaccines. In this case, the animal must be revaccinated. 21 days must have elapsed after the first (primary) vaccination after implantation of the microchip before the animal is eligible to enter the European Union. A rabies vaccination is considered primary if either: (1) an animal was up-to-date on its rabies vaccination but vaccination occurred prior to microchip implantation, (2) vaccination was not carried out within the period of validity of a previous vaccination, or (3) the animal was vaccinated for the first time."
Germany has implemented a dangerous dog law that prohibits the breeding or trade of "dangerous dogs." Dogs with a history of attacking or biting people can also fall under this new law. "Dangerous dogs" may not be imported to Germany under any circumstances. Already the attempt to import a dangerous dog is punishable by law.
For more information and a list of prohibited breeds, check out the "Dangerous Dogs" fact sheet.
Furthermore, there are strict guidelines for leaving pets alone and general upkeep. In addition to the difference in laws and guidelines, shipping pets and finding a home to house them can be challenging tasks.
Not all landlords allow pets, and even those that do often only allow small pets. For those staying on base, keep in mind you are limited to two pets, and dogs that are on the dangerous dog list are NOT allowed in housing.
Abandoning your pet at any time during your stay in Germany is NOT an option. Due to all these issues, many individuals often decide to leave "Fluffy" and "Fido" with family during their overseas tour.
Health Certificate -- Before you ship your pet, a veterinarian must verify the health of the animal and issue a certificate dated within 10 days of your arrival. The certificate must be in German and English and state that the animal is in good health and had a rabies vaccination more than 30 days old but less than one year. Military vets are usually familiar with this certificate, but civilian vets may need several weeks lead time to order the certificate from the Department of Agriculture.
Veterinary certificate needed for Germany
Don't wait until the last minute to discuss the health certificate with your vet. The time limit for the validity of the certificate and vaccination is subject to change and varies dependent upon the air carrier.
Pet Quarantines -- Germany does not require quarantine for any animal.
Pet Shipment -- When you ship your pet, it will be at your own expense. Arrange pet shipment well in advance by contacting your current traffic management office or airline. If you ship your pet separately, ship it to Frankfurt, Germany. At Frankfurt International Airport, you pick up your pet at the civilian airfreight terminal.
AMC Space Available -- When you travel on PCS orders between the U.S. and overseas bases on AMC military chartered flights, you can now move more than two pets per family on a space-available basis only. You should contact your local transportation office to request additional spaces. The transportation office will make the request and print out a confirmation. You should take the confirmation to the passenger terminal to gain approval to move additional pets.
Upon arrival at the Ramstein Passenger Terminal, travelers with pets will be assessed a veterinarian examination fee of 55 Euro, per pet. The examination is in accordance with the European Union Ordinance #998/2003. The fee is NOT reimbursable on travelers orders and will be payable by credit card only.
Commercial Flights -- If you fly on a commercial carrier into Frankfurt airport (Flughafen), you will clear your pet there either at the civilian airfreight terminal (if your pet was transported as freight on a different flight), or at the baggage claim area if your pet flew with you on the same flight. Airlines place restrictions on shipping pets based on the outside temperatures at the airports.
If you move at certain times of the year, especially during the summer, you may not be able to ship your pet at the same time. Check with the airline early to find out about restrictions. You may have to make arrangements to kennel your dog or leave the dog with a relative before you can ship it to Germany.
Import Permit for Unaccompanied Pet Shipments
For information concerning permits or shipping of unaccompanied pets, contact the Frankfurt Customs Clearance for Courier Services office.
More information on pet keeping in Germany
Dog keeping laws
Dangerous Dog guidelines
Pet Licensing & veterinary services
USDA animal export regulations