There are usually two lines at a point of entry: "To Declare" and "Nothing to Declare". If you are within the permissible limits of import, you can go through "Nothing to Declare". If you are carrying more than the limits (i.e. have more then the permissible level of cash), you will need to declare and pay the penalties. People are randomly selected out of the "Nothing to Declare" line and their goods are inspected. If found to be importing illegally, harsh fines will be imposed.
Many people want to bring their pet with them on their travels and while that is entirely possible, it does require some planning and preparation. Entry may be refused if the animal is not in good health.
Microchip - to verify pets identity. All microchips conforming to the ISO standards are easily readable.
Vaccination - Every pet older than 3 months must be vaccinated against rabies. The pet must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before arrival. However the vaccination cannot be older than 12 months from the date of arrival to the EU. Dogs must also get full shots for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvo, and DHLPP. Cats must also be vaccinated against Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calcivirus, and Panleukopenia.
Certificate of good health - Issued by a vet after an exam.
For complete information on taking your pet abroad, read EasyExpat's article on "Expat Pets".
U.S. Citizens: The free pamphlet "Know Before You Go" at www.cbp.gov is very helpful. (Click on "Travel" and then click on "Know Before You Go! Online Brochure").
You can also contact:
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
1300 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20229
Canadian Citizens: "I Declare", issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500) is helpful.
U.K. Citizens: HM Customs & Excise at tel. 0845/010-9000 (from outside the U.K., 020/8929-0152) can help.
Australian Citizens: A helpful brochure is available from Australian consulates or Customs offices called "Know Before You Go". Call the Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to http://www.customs.gov.au/.