International pet transport to Iceland
Pet transport to Iceland is time-consuming and strict; the whole process could take several months and involves a considerable amount of documentation, health tests and vaccinations for your pets and quarantine for incoming pets.
If you plan to travel to Iceland with your pet dog or cat, there are several steps to the process. It is important to ensure all the steps are followed accurately for your pet to enter the country. It is recommended to partner with an IPATA-accredited pet travel partner to ensure the pet travel experience is smooth and stress-free for both the pet and the pet parent.
Travelling to Iceland with your pet may be daunting but not impossible. If you are planning to bring your pet dog or cat to the Nordic Island country, here’s what you should know about the international pet transport process:
Know your country category
Pets can travel to Iceland only if they fly from an approved country with zero or low incidence of rabies. All pet dogs and cats flying to Iceland must remain in the approved country for at least six months before the date of travel or from birth. Iceland has two country categories of approved exporting countries:
- Category 1 – Rabies-free countries included in this category are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
- Category 2 – These countries have low incidence or well-control rabies. They are Canada, Greenland, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Turkey, and the United States of America.
The list of approved countries is revised twice a year by MAST, so it is recommended to look for the latest list of approved countries before making travel plans.
If your pet is flying to Iceland from a country that is not on this list, you can apply to MAST, Iceland’s food and veterinary authority for your country to be considered an approved country. MAST may authorise the import of a pet from a non-approved country if the following conditions are met:
- The pet has resided in the country of export for at least six months before the date of travel.
- The pet parent is a resident of the country of export and is moving to Iceland with the pet.
- Pet parents must submit documents pertaining to the ownership of the pet and residency in the country.
- The pet must meet all pet import health regulations as those of Category 2 countries.
Microchips are an essential part of international pet travel. All pet dogs and cats travelling to Iceland must have an ISO- or FECAVA-compliant microchip implanted before beginning the export process. The vet must record the microchip number and register the date of implantation in the pet’s documents. Your vet must also scan and verify the microchip number before every treatment or test your pet receives before travelling to Iceland.
A microchip number is unique and is used to identify your pet. The number must be recorded in all your pet’s documentation and paperwork.
Vaccination schedule for pet travel to Iceland
All pets travelling to Iceland must be fully vaccinated according to the country’s pet import requirements. Vaccination details must be recorded accurately in your pet’s documentation, along with the microchip number.
Pets travelling to Iceland from Category 1 and 2 countries must be vaccinated against rabies and have blood drawn for a rabies antibody test at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. The sample for the rabies titre test must be tested at an EU-approved laboratory, and the antibody level must be at least 0.5 IU/ml to enter the country. The rabies vaccination must be valid at the time of testing for the rabies antibodies. Pet cats and dogs travelling from Category 2 countries must wait at least 90 days after the date of the rabies antibody test before travelling to Iceland.
Other vaccinations for cats and dogs are:
- Dogs: Leptospirosis, Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus, and Canine Parainfluenza. Dogs travelling from the United States, Canada and Singapore must have a valid vaccination for Canine Influenza.
- Cats: Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Rhinotracheitis, and Calicivirus.
Health tests and treatments
Pets travelling to Iceland have to undergo a series of tests and treatments before travelling to the country. For this reason, it is necessary to begin planning for your pet’s travel to Iceland well in time.
Pet dogs travelling to Iceland need the following tests and treatments:
- Brucella canis – The test has to be carried out within 30 days before travel. The result must be negative and recorded in the health certificate with the name of the testing laboratory, microchip number, and sample date.
- Leishmania – Intact dogs, both male and female, must be tested for Leishmaniosis via a PCR or ELISA test. The result must be negative and recorded in the health certificate by the vet. If the pet tests positive, the dog can travel to Iceland after being spayed/neutered.
- Angiostrongylus vasorum – Dogs must be tested for or receive preventive treatment for Angiostrongylus vasorum (French heartworm) before travelling to Iceland.
- External and internal parasites – Your dog must receive two treatments against internal and external parasites before travelling to Iceland. The first treatment has to be administered 21 to 28 days before the date of travel and the second treatment before 5 to 10 days of travel.
Pet cats travelling to Iceland must undergo the following tests and treatments:
- Feline Leukaemia Virus – The test must be done within 30 days of travel. The negative result must be recorded in the health certificate with the pet’s microchip number.
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus – The sample for the blood test must be collected within 30 days of travel and analysed using either ELISA or Western Blot methods. A negative result is required for travel to Iceland.
- Internal and external parasites - Your pet cat needs two treatments against internal and external parasites before travelling to Iceland. The first treatment is 21 to 28 days before travel and the second treatment before 5 to 10 days of travel. The treatments should be effective against lice, ticks, fleas, roundworms and tapeworm.
Health certificate and import permit
Pet dogs and cats travelling to Iceland need an import permit and a certificate of health issued by MAST, the Icelandic food and veterinary authority. The import fees must be paid on receipt of the import permit notification.
The certificate of health is an important document that will accompany your pet during the travel. The certificate of health and origin must be endorsed by a competent veterinary officer in the exporting country. Your pet must undergo a health examination around 5 to 10 days before they travel. The vet must confirm that the pet is free from health issues and contagious diseases, especially tongueworm, scabies, dermatophytosis, and canine transmissible venereal tumours for dogs.
The flight number and the date and time of arrival must be recorded on the certificate of health.
Pets can enter Iceland only at Keflavik airport between 6 am and 5 pm on quarantine admission dates. If you wish to travel to Iceland outside these office hours, you can apply for special permission. However, the importer will have to bear the additional costs of inspection and examination out of official hours.
Pet quarantine in Iceland
As soon as your pet dog or cat enters the country, they are presented at the pet reception centre for import inspection, where the microchip number is verified, and all the documents are checked for completion. A customs official will also examine your pet for signs of ill health and infectious diseases. After the inspection, your pet will proceed to the quarantine station for mandatory quarantine.
Pets travelling from Category 1 and 2 countries have to stay in the quarantine centre for a minimum of 14 days. It is important to reserve space in the quarantine station before beginning the export process. Reservation status and dates are available online on the centre’s website.
Pets are admitted only on certain set days approximately three weeks apart in the quarantine station.
There are two quarantine stations in Iceland. They are:
If the pet shows signs of ill health or is suffering from a contagious disease, quarantine will be extended depending on the nature of the illness.
Prohibited pets in Iceland
Iceland prohibits the entry of certain pets into the country. Iceland follows breed-specific legislation and prohibits the import of certain strong and aggressive breeds. The following breeds, as well as their cross breeds for five generations, are banned in Iceland:
- Dogo Argentino
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Tosa Inu
- Dog breeds closely related to these breeds
In addition, the following pets are not allowed for import in the country:
- Pregnant and lactating cats and dogs
- Pet dogs and cats that have undergone major surgery before their travel and require special treatment.
- Wolf and dog hybrids for ten generations.
Pet travel to Iceland
International pet transport to Iceland is both time-consuming and complex. Failure to comply with the pet import regulations can lead to extended quarantine, or worse, your pet might be sent back to the country of origin. Therefore, it is recommended to partner with an IPATA-accredited pet transport agency to facilitate your pet’s travel to Iceland.