Expert Info

Posted by nathalie6411
on 20 Aug 2019

Has anyone had any experiences pets into Poland?  We have a small dog and a cat.

KT Barnes on 13 Aug 2020 - 12:32

My wife and I brought three cats into Poland in August 2020 amid the Coronavirus pandemic. It can be a bit challenging & stressful so hope this helps. Here are some step-by-step tips from our experience:

1) Figure out which airline(s) you will be taking your pets on because many airlines have different policies that can have significant effects to your travel plans.

Our experience:

We flew from Denver to Chicago and Chicago to Warsaw. Flight from Denver to Chicago was with United Airlines. United allowed one pet per person/paid seat in the cabin but the "pet in cargo" option known as PetSafe was suspended due to Covid. We called United and told them we had three cats. They allow passengers to book an extra seat and take an additional "pet in cabin" so we were able to fly with three cats in cabin by paying for an extra seat. Dimensions for the "pet in cabin" carry-on are provided on the website as well as allowed weight. The airline did not measure or weigh our pets in their transport bags prior to boarding which had been a concern for us because one of our cats is a little bit on the chunky side.

Flight from Chicago to Warsaw was with LOT. Pets transported with LOT must be reserved ahead of time because LOT only allows a certain number of pets aboard each flight. LOT only allows one pet per person in cabin, you cannot book an extra seat and take an additional pet in cabin. As such, we had to take one of our cats as "pet in cargo". This meant we had to check a kennel with United on the flight from Denver to Chicago and pick up the kennel in Chicago, transfer one of our cats from an in cabin carrying case to the kennel at the LOT check-in. They weighed the kennel with our cat in it at check-in. 

Costs:

United

- $37 for extra seat for 3rd cat in cabin  

- $125 per pet for in cabin travel

LOT

- $100 per pet in cabin

- $360 per pet in cargo

2) Figure out the airline & country pet health exam policy. This can be really confusing FYI.

Our experience: 

United Airlines did not have a requirement for a pet health exam for interstate US travel but they did check our health certificate because they were able to check our bags all the way through to Poland due to LOT being a Star Alliance partner.

LOT did require a pet health exam, however, the information we received was inconsistent and became problematic. When we called LOT to reserve our pets travel on the flight they told us the health exam needed to be completed 48 hours prior to departure per LOT policy. This contradicted the EU's health certificate policy for bringing pets into the EU. The EU pet health certificate is required to be issued within 10 days of entry. The 48 hour policy LOT said they had was problematic because the pet health certificate needs to be acquired per the USDA's APHIS policy, which varies for each EU country. Poland falls into a category called "orange" that allows an accredited veterinarian in the US to download the necessary form and digitally sign it, HOWEVER, the "orange" designation for Poland means the vet must send the form electronically to the USDA authority site (ours was either a CA or WA office) and that authority site must physically sign it and provide an embossed stamp. The document will then need to be mailed to the person taking their pets on the flight into Poland. Due to the 48 hour policy LOT said we had to adhere to we had the health exam done 24 hours prior to departure at which point the vet informed us we had to have the health exam mailed to us. Luckily our vet was awesome and had one of his techs stay on hold with the USDA & FedEx to confirm they could send our pet health certificate via First Overnight (for a cost of $117). We held our breath because the package had to be delivered to our US residence before 8am the next day in order to make our flight. All told, we had the vet health exam at 10am MT, the USDA office sent a notification to the vet they had signed off on the health certificate around 3pm PT, and the package was picked up by FedEx and sent out of WA by 5pm PT. We received it shortly before 8am MT the following morning and made our flight from Denver to Chicago with the health exam certification in hand....stressful just writing about it. My suggestion; find a vet who knows what they are doing and consult with said vet.

LOT did check our pets health certificates at the check-in gate in Chicago. They did not check it upon arrival in Poland.

Costs (bit confusing because it seems to vary depending on vet & country):

- $100 per pet for Pet health certificate

- $79 for vet visit for one cat; $25 per cat for the other two cats (our vet was offering a promotion)

3) Find a vet who has done EU health certifications in the past. Not all vet clinics are accredited and not all accredited vet clinics have a vet who performs the EU health certificate exam. Call ahead of time to schedule (this was a big issue for us because several vets were booked out a month due to Covid)

4) Upon consultation with the vet ask them to prescribe sedatives for the pets. This made a huge difference with two of our cats who tend to be very noisy and uncomfortable with traveling. 

Costs

- Roughly $25 for the mild sedatives if memory serves

5) Get the proper "pet in cabin" and/or "pet in cargo" cases/kennels. Airlines will provide the dimensions & weight policy on their website or over the phone.

Costs

- $28 per pet in cabin carrying case

- Kennel cost N/A because we bought the kennel in China when we moved two of our cats from China to the US

Happy & Safe Travels!

 

Claire on 17 Aug 2020 - 07:35

Hi NATHALIE6411! Many expats with pets face the added stress of paperwork and processes involved with bringing their furry friends with them. Shipping and Removals in Poland gives a brief overview on bringing pets into the country, as well as some basics to customs clearance. Thank you KT Barnes for your info!

I wish you all the best with the move! 

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