Importing Pets, Plants and Hunting Trophies into Germany

This information sheet summarizes the most important legal rules to consider when members of foreign armed forces import pets, plants and hunting trophies for private purposes into the Federal Republic of Germany (updated 18 Jan 13). 

1. General

Besides customs regulations, there are other legal rules to consider when importing pets, plants and products made of animal parts such as hunting trophies. These regulations are used specifically to protect:

- nature and endangered species,

- the animal world from the introduction of livestock diseases,

- the plant world from the transmission of pests,

- public order and safety from the import of dangerous dogs.

For some of the above items, permits or documentation are necessary that are not issued by the customs administration, but another office. From Feb. 1 you may have to pay for the vet exam of your pet at the airport you arrive at in Germany, to include Ramstein Air Base. Please click on this link for more details. (Source: Kaiserslautern American)

 

2. Animals

·         Dogs and domestic cats

The import of a maximum of five animals is allowed per person for private purposes, i.e., not for transfer to a third party. When going through customs, you must present :

Identification (microchip or tattoo)

Proof of rabies vaccination. The vaccination must have occurred at least three weeks ago, the vaccination must be still valid when the animal is imported.

A valid veterinary certificate with the necessary details filled out in sections I, II, III and IV issued by an authorized or official veterinarian using the bilingual form available at the following link (Source: USDA).  The bilingual certificate in the German edition is prefered, but English is also accepted. You should also attach a copy of your PCS orders to show that the importation is not for commercial purposes.

The certificate is either issued by an official or authorised veterinarian and additionally you need an endorsement by the competent authority. The three pages of the certificate shall be fixed together. (There are no regulations in Germany for the serial numbers given in the USA). Usually (for normal imports without problems) there are no import control fees. Documents are prefered in German, but all documents will be accepted in English.

In Germany there is an import ban for dogs classified as dangerous ("Fighting dogs"). According to this law, specific dog breeds as well as dogs crossbred among those breeds or dogs of those breeds crossbred with other dogs may not be transported to Germany from any country outside of the European Union (EU) or from another member state.

 

For more information on dangerous dogs and a list of breeds considered dangerous, please click on the button to the right Info from the German Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Transportation regulations for dogs and cats

1. Dogs and cats less than eight weeks of age are not allowed to be transported.

2. Provide a non-skid surface inside the kennel, e.g. a thick cushion or a rubber mat.

3. Securely fasten a water dish to the inside of the kennel, accessible from the outside without opening the door. Caution: Do not provide water dish if the animal has been administered any tranquilizers!

4. Minimum kennel sizes for dogs and cats according to shoulder height:

Shoulder height in centimeters
inches

length
in cm
inches

width
in cm
inches

height
in cm
inches
20
7.87
e.g. Yorkshire Terrier, female cat
40
15.75
30
11.81
30
11.81
30
11.81
e.g. King Charles spaniel, tom cat
55
21.65
40
15.75
40
15.75
40
15.75
e.g. cocker spaniel
75
29.53
50
19.69
55
21.65
55
21.65
e.g. Labrador
95
37.4
60
23.62
70
27.56
70
27.56
e.g. Doberman
130
51.18
75
29.53

95
37.4

85
33.46
e.g. Great Dane
160
62.99
85
33.46
115
45.28

 

·         Parrots and parakeets

The import of a maximum of three animals is allowed for private purposes (i.e., not intended for transfer to third parties). A health certificate from a veterinarian that is no older than 10 days old must be submitted that shows that the animals were found to be healthy and, to the veterinarian’s knowledge, were not exposed at origin to any diseases transferable to parrots and parakeets during the last 30 days. Endangered species legislation may need to be considered (see chapter 4).

 

·         Domestic rabbits, ferrets and birds (except poultry, parrots and parakeets)

The import of a maximum of three animals is allowed for private purposes (i.e., not intended for transfer to third parties).

 

·         Horses

Horses from third countries may be entered into the EU or the Federal Republic only at specific customs border offices. These customs offices work with government veterinarians who carry out the livestock health clearance. Before you import a horse, you must find out which customs offices are authorized to clear live animals. You can find more information in chapter 5 “Customs Information.”

Currently, import permits are required for horses from the United States of America, as are health certificates. The border veterinarians can tell you which documents must be presented on an individual basis.

 

·         Hunting trophies

When importing hunting trophies, different regulations exist according to animal species, country of origin and the trophy’s preservation state. These are subject to change at short notice, for example, if livestock disease breaks out in some part of the world. Again, it is therefore necessary to get in touch with the customs import office or the responsible border veterinarian well in advance of an intended import. Endangered species legislation must also be considered (see chapter 4). More information on hunting trophies is available from the Federal Office for Nature Conservation at bfn.de.

 

3. Plants

The import of plants, plant products and other items that are infested by particularly dangerous pests is fundamentally prohibited. Since every plant has the potential to be infested by pests, plants are generally subject to special inspection.
If you want to bring living plants, plant parts (for example cut flowers), fruits or seeds to Germany, you should consider the following tips and import restrictions. This way you avoid endangering our natural environment and agriculture.

For example, the following plants and vegetable matter may never be imported into Germany from countries outside of the EU:

·         Grapevines, vine leaves

·         Earth and plant substrate, except for pure peat without plants, from most East European and overseas countries.

 

Even plants, plant parts and plant products that are not subject to any general import prohibition often require a plant health certificate from the country of origin even for personal use imports(for example in the case of imports from American, Asiatic and African states or Australia).

 

For the import of plants, plant parts and plant products from member states of the EU, from other European countries as well as Mediterranean countries, no plant health certificate is necessary as a rule if the shipment is for personal use or in household goods.

 

Should you intend to import plants, plant parts or plant products, it is recommended you contact the proper customs office in advance.

 

4. Protected animals and plants (Endangered species)

To prevent the extinction of wild animal and plant species, general import prohibitions exist for many living and dead items, and products manufactured from them.

Specific documents are required to import other protected animal and plant species (living and dead) and products manufactured from them into the EU. These are, as a rule, an export license issued by the proper authority of the exporting country and an import permit issued by the responsible nature conservation office of the importing country.

 

If prohibited items are detected at the time of import or if the required import/export permit is missing, the items are seized and you can receive a hefty fine.

 

That is why you should not import:

·         Skins from all cat, bear and wolf species

·         Elephant and rhinoceros products

·         Live or stuffed birds

·         Crocodiles, caymans and snakes as well as products made from them (for example leather products)

·         Cactuses or cactus-like plants, tillandsia and orchids

·         Corals, mussel and snail shells

 

Special rules apply when importing products for personal use, i.e., items that are entered into the EU for non-commercial purposes. The items must be in your personal possession, be part of your belongings and be in your accompanied baggage. Only trophies you yourself have hunted can be imported or shipped at a later date. For such imports, facilitated document procedures exist.

However, when importing hunting trophies as well as before a planned hunting trip, we recommend you call the Federal Office for Nature Conservation at 0228-84910.

 

If you have questions relating to the import of endangered species, please contact the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).

 

You will find a complete list of all endangered animal and plant species as well as explanations about existing regulations on the Internet at www.bfn.de.

 

5. Customs Information

More information is available on the Internet site of the German Missions to the USA. www.germany.info There is a link to the customs offices which are authorized to customs clear live animals.

For further information, the customs information center is available at the following address http://www1.zoll.de/english_version/customs_info_center/index.html. The page has phone and fax numbers and email links so you can get further information in English. 

 

                                     

 

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