Importing Pets into Turkey: Rules, Algorithm of Action

Today’s article explains what rules foreigners should follow when bringing their pets into the Republic of Turkey, what documents to collect and how to prepare a pet for such a trip.

Applicable rules for bringing pets into Turkey

One person can bring two pets (cats, dogs, birds, ferrets) or 10 aquarium fish across the Turkish border. If there are more pets, you have to pay a duty. Alternatively, they may be registered in the name of your travelling companion.

Small puppies and kittens that are less than 10 weeks old may not be brought into the Republic. Pregnant and lactating cats and dogs are also not allowed.

There are also prohibited breeds of dogs that are classed as ‘dangerous’ to bring into Turkey. Among them:

  • pit bull terrier,
  • Rottweiler,
  • Bull Terrier,
  • the Fila Brazileiro,
  • Argentinean and Bordeaux dogs,
  • Tosa Inu (Japanese mastiff),
  • Neapolitan and Spanish Mastiffs,
  • American Staffordshire Terrier,
  • mongrels.

The pets must be free of zoonotic diseases (diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans) and parasites, and the general state of health must be satisfactory.

Zoonotic diseases are diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans.

Birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals may only be brought into the Republic of Turkey with a permit and health certificate. In addition, if you intend to bring a parrot or turtle into the country, you must ensure that the animal does not belong to the status of endangered species. The list is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The agreement has been signed in more than 180 countries around the world. In this case, a supplementary permit must be applied for.

Documents for bringing animals into Turkey

What is required to bring your pet across the border:

  1. Electronic microchip identification
  2. International veterinary passport
  3. Comprehensive immunization
  4. Rabies vaccination and rabies antibody titre test
  5. Veterinary certificate form
  6. Insecticide treatments and dehelminthization


Chipping (or titration) of dogs and cats worldwide began more than 15 years ago. The process is regulated by law in many countries, including Turkey.

The microchip capsule implantation procedure itself is quite easy and painless. The microchip is a small 2×12 mm chip inside a special capsule. Inside the chip there is a transceiver, a transmitter and a memory unit for storing a 15-digit digital code. This code is unique to each animal. It contains all information about the pet:

  1. country and city;
  2. breed,
  3. age,
  4. name,
  5. colour,
  6. health status;
  7. coordinates and contact details of the pet’s owner.

This data can be read with a scanner or an Android 4.4 or higher smartphone that supports NFC technology. The chip information is stored in an electronic database and the barcode is affixed in a designated place on the veterinary passport.

Chipping is done only once, and is valid for the lifetime of the animal.

The microchip used must conform to ISO 11784 or Annex A of ISO 11785. The microchipping is performed at the veterinary clinic by a qualified veterinarian.

Veterinary International Passport

You may only enter Turkey with pets if the owner has an international veterinary passport in English. This document contains all information on the health status of the pet:

  1. A photo of the pet before it reaches the age of 1 year. Left side standing is recommended.
  2. A chipping note stating the date of the procedure and the location of the microchip.
  3. Rabies vaccination (name of vaccine, personal stamp and signature of veterinarian, date of immunization).
  4. A notation of comprehensive vaccination against incurable viral diseases.
  5. Information on treatment against ecto- and endoparasites (worming, fleas).
  6. Results of blood tests FAVN.

It is also worth mentioning that the vaccination booklet, which is registered at the veterinary clinic, does not need to be renewed every year as all previous vaccinations are indicated on it as far as vaccinations are concerned.

Comprehensive vaccinations

There are certain requirements for immunization of cats and dogs.

Vaccinations for dogs include vaccinations such as:

DHLPP (administered to puppies at four-week intervals and annually to adult dogs):

  1. Hepatitis
  2. Canine distemper
  3. Leptospirosis
  4. Parainfluenza
  5. Parvovirus
  6. Bordetellosis
  7. Rabies, administered at least one month before travel

Immunization of cats involves such vaccinations:


  1. Feline viral rhinotracheitis
  2. Calicivirus
  3. Panleukopenia
  4. Rabies (at least one month before travel)

Immunisation should be carried out at least 15 days before travel to Turkey, but no more than six months before the planned date of departure.

Rabies vaccination and rabies virus antigen test

Rabies vaccination is administered by a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic. The immunisation is administered on the date written on the relevant section of the passport. This date must coincide or be later than the date of insertion or application of the chip. If no revaccination has been carried out during the previous dose, this dose is considered to be the first dose.

Immunity to the disease develops by 21 days after the first vaccination. If a booster dose is administered, on the day of vaccination. But note that immunity can be formed individually depending on the breed and age of the animal.

To avoid a three-month house quarantine, no sooner than 30 days after the rabies vaccination, the pet should have a blood test or rabies titer test to ensure that the vaccination has provided a sufficient level of antibodies to the disease.

A rabies antibody test is a test that shows the concentration of antibodies to the rabies virus in the animal’s blood.

This test is carried out at an EU-certified laboratory, at least 90 days before entry into Turkey. The norm is 0.5 IU/ml or higher. If the antibody titre is lower than the established norm, a second rabies vaccination is required.

If your cat or dog has not had a titre test or 90 days from the date of blood sampling, your pet must be placed under house quarantine for 3 months.

Unvaccinated kittens, puppies and other pets under three months of age may only be imported if they comply with the sanitary standards set by the local Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, taking into account the health status of the animals in the country of origin.

Veterinary certificate form No. 1

Livestock owners may obtain a Form No. 1 Veterinary Certificate from a government veterinary clinic or a veterinary station. The certificate will be issued after an animal has been tested for galminthiasis and has been examined by a veterinarian. The certificate is valid for 5 days.

Pet owners may obtain a certificate of veterinary medicine form No.1 from a state veterinary clinic or a veterinary station. The certificate will be issued after your pet is examined by a veterinarian and tested for worms. The certificate is valid for 5 days.

Worming treatment

All entries on the Veterinary Services Passport that an animal is systematically wormed should be recorded on the veterinary health form. Worming treatments must be carried out every 3-4 months. Before setting off on a trip, you must also do a 1-2 day dehelminthization and insecticidal treatment with certified substances.

Algorithm for bringing pets to Turkey

Before the departure for Turkey, the importation of the pet and the health certificate must be prepared by an accredited veterinarian. If several pets are to be brought along, this certificate must be made for each one separately.

A clinical examination of the cat or dog must be carried out no more than 96 hours prior to the flight. The veterinarian must declare the pet healthy, i.e. showing no signs of infectious diseases and posing no threat to humans.

Once your pet has been vaccinated and all the necessary paperwork has been prepared, you should decide how you plan to bring your pet to Turkey.

It is advisable that your pet travels in the same vehicle as the owner.

Transporting pets by air into Turkey

When travelling by air it is worth knowing the applicable regulations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and enquiring about the transport policy of the airline of your choice.

Turkey currently requires pets and their owners to be on the same flight. Small pets can stay with their owners in the cabin. In this case, the pet must be in a carrier that fits under the passenger seat. In this case, the seat must be located near the porthole, except in the rows with emergency exit doors, so as not to obstruct emergency evacuation. It is forbidden to carry a container on the passenger seat.

A ban on transporting a pet by air may be imposed if the pet’s papers are missing or incorrectly completed, or if the dog’s breed is not approved for carriage by the airline.

Prior to the flight, you must go through the check-in procedure. The label affixed to the container should contain the name of the pet owner, the pet’s name, address, and the phone number of the passenger.

The owner must be present at customs clearance or give his representative a power of attorney and either the original passport or a notarised copy indicating that he will arrive in Turkey within 30 days after his pet.

If a dog or cat is being transported unaccompanied, it is important that the animal has an import permit; without this document, entry will be refused. An import permit for animals into Turkey can be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

For reference:

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey

Address: Ankara, Cankaya, Universities District, Dumlupinar Boulevard, 161 06800

Tel: (009) 0312 4174 176

Documents for unaccompanied pets must be legalised by the relevant body of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country of departure after being processed by a veterinarian but before departure.

The comfort of the animals and the preparation of the container to be transported should be handled with particular care. It must conform to IATA international standards.

Standard requirements for container dimensions:

  • Height – determined by the dog’s height at the withers.
  • Length – the length of your pet’s body plus half the length of its legs.
  • Width – equal to twice the pet’s width.

The height-length-width of the container should not exceed 105-135 cm.

The inside of the container itself should have free air flow (minimum 3 ventilation holes). Absorbent material should be placed on the bottom.

There is also a requirement by Turkish Airlines that the weight of the container must not exceed 8 kg. One carrier can hold two small pets weighing up to 8 kg.

If your friend is overweight, he must travel in the hold. This also applies to large birds, including parrots.

Transporting pets to Turkey by air in a carrier bag is not recommended, as it is intended for shorter journeys, especially when travelling around town by public transport or car.

It is advisable to accustom your pet to the container before the flight to avoid stress. We also don’t recommend feeding him before the journey, but only giving him water to drink. If you know that your pet may be vomiting, ask your vet for advice on what medication to take. Offer water to your furry friend during the journey. A favourite treat or toy will also help cheer up your furry friend during the journey.

Your pet should receive a health check from the airport vet upon arrival. If any problems are noted, a more thorough medical examination will be required at an additional charge.

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