Whether you plan to stay in Turkey for an extended vacation or have decided to move here for retirement or a job, you might not want to leave behind your furry companion or re-home them. Thankfully, importing a pet into Turkey is not complicated, and the entry requirements are easy to fulfill.
Let this serve as your guide on how to bring your pet dog or cat to Turkey.
Let's start with a great resource. This handy site offers up-to-date information on all things international pet travel, from import rules and quarantine measures to microchips and health check-ups, for over 200 countries. From regulation updates to frequently asked questions (FAQs), you can find specifics about traveling to European Union countries, New Zealand, the United States, and more.
What Are the Rules for Bringing In Pets?
Turkish authorities allow 2 pets per person to enter the country tax-free.
Your pets must also not:
- be carriers of zoonotic diseases
- have internal or external parasites*
- be in poor health
* Ensure your pet has received its internal and external parasite treatment (i.e., against echinococcus and fleas, ticks), which must be recorded on their health certificate/pet passport.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently, all pets or exotic animals must accompany the passenger on the same flight.
Documents/procedures You'll Need for Pet Travel
- Pet passport,
- Veterinary health certificate
- Initial vaccination card or proof of up-to-date previous vaccination and deworming (which are usually indicated in the passport),
- Blood tests (such as FAVN), anti-rabies vaccination certificate
- Import permit*,
- Pet Microchip.
*If you are not bringing in pets for trade purposes, you do not need to get an import clearance certificate or permit from the Turkish government.
What Is a Pet Passport?
A pet passport is a booklet or a collection of documents that includes the animal health certificate, anti-rabies vaccination records, pet microchip, import permits, parasite treatments, and FAVN test results, among many others. It is a requirement for international travel.
Look at pet import regulations for any European Union country. You will see that they require your pet to be microchipped with an ISO-compliant microchip (the International Standards Organization) compatible device. Turkey also mandates that all pets are microchipped before entry.
These tiny microchips are injected under your pet's skin. They have a one-of-a-kind identification number programmed into it to ensure that they can identify your pet over the course of life.
Turkey currently accepts the world standard 15-digit, non-encrypted microchips compliant with ISO 11784 or Annex A of ISO Standard 11785.
The most common pet microchips are deemed ISO compatible for the EU is the AVID Euro chip. This chip produces a 10-digit number for identification and is compliant with Annex A of ISO Standard 11785.
For microchips that are 9 or 10 digits, you may need to carry your microchip scanner.
After getting your pet microchipped, make sure to register them on the worldwide database and keep your contact information updated. Should anything happen to them, authorities will be able to retrieve your pet's health and owner information via the chip.
Your pet should travel with an up-to-date vaccination record (especially against rabies) to show to authorities.
Vaccination Against Rabies
Turkey requires pet cats or dogs to be vaccinated for rabies between 30 days and 12 months before their entry.
However, Turkey does not accept the 3-year rabies vaccination certificate. If your pet has received this type of vaccination against rabies over a year ago or has not been vaccinated against rabies yet, they can have a rabies titer test ( FAVN ) before entering Turkey.
*You should have your pet's original rabies vaccination certificate as well as records of its previous vaccination records with you while entering Turkey.
**Some countries require that pets be microchipped before their rabies vaccination, so start with the microchip if you need to start somewhere.
Vaccination Against Rabies Titer Test (FAVN)
A rabies titer test is also requested for all cats and dogs entering Turkey (though its practice may be inconsistent across different custom ports). 90 days before your journey and at least 30 days after your pet receives their rabies vaccine, they should have a blood titer test from an EU-approved serology lab to check for antibodies. (Check out a list of approved labs here.)
If you fail to provide an acceptable FAVN test result, your pet may have to quarantine for 3-4 months in Turkey.
Other Routine Vaccines For Animal Diseases
For dogs, Turkey requires the DHLPP vaccine, otherwise known as the distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus (DHLPP), as well as Bordetella.
For cats, it requires them to have the FVRCP vaccine for the Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia.
Animal Health Certificate
You will have to get a Veterinary Health Certificate and Country of Origin Certificate stating that your pet is healthy enough to travel, free of zoonotic diseases and parasites, and that includes other identity and health information. The certificate must be issued and filled out by the competent official veterinarian authority in your country within 2 days before your departure.
Making Travel Arrangements
- Entering via land
Traveling in a car can be stressful for your pets, especially cats. The important thing is to get your pet used to the environment ahead of the journey.
As the owner, you must be present at customs clearance or have a legal representative to deal with the matters. You also need to have your passport and its notarized copy with you or have proof that you will enter Turkey within 30 days of your pet's arrival.
- Entering via air travel
To save yourself from stress, make sure to speak to a Turkish Airline representative or customer service personnel while booking your ticket to learn about their pet policy and confirm that your pet will be admitted to the flight. Make sure to use an approved airline pet carrier.
Don't forget to inquire about cabin, in-hold, and cargo options.
If your pet is traveling alone, you will need to contact the cargo department of the airline.
Upon arrival, your pet will need to have a medical check-up by the authorised veterinarian.
If your pet is doing poorly health-wise, the vet may have to carry out a more detailed medical examination, the expenses of which will be covered by you.
For exact day customs clearance, your pet should arrive by 11:30 a.m. Pets arriving after 3:00 p.m. will be subject to extra fees.
Cabin vs. Cargo
If your pet weighs less than 8 kilograms, it will often be allowed to travel in the cabin.
However, suppose your pet is more significant and needs to travel in the cargo hold. In that case, you will have to buy an airline pet carrier travel crate compatible with International Air Transportation Association (IATA) regulations. Taping your information onto the container, detailing your name, phone, and email, as well as the flight information, is a good idea. Some also advise that you tape a copy of your pet's passport or special handling instructions if needed.
If the flight has stopovers, you will have to fly with the same airline the entire route to ensure a smooth transfer. You should also request confirmation from the airline that they will transfer your pet during the layover.