Import of animals and animal products from non-EU countries

The requirements pertaining to animal imports vary according to species and country of origin.

In general, animal imports (commercially) or movements (non-commercially) from other EU countries (= internal market trade) are subject to different import requirements from the imports or movements from countries outside the EU. The import regulations are also affected by the zoonose situation of the country of origin. With an animal disease outbreak, the import requirements may change at short notice.

The export regulations are always within the jurisdiction of the destination country. If you want to take your pet with you when travelling, information on the export regulations is available from the Embassy or veterinary authorities of the destination country.

For animals imported from non-EU countries, a veterinary border inspection must always be performed (with certain exceptions).

For infomation about the import non-commercial pets you can contact

We ask everyone importing animals from third countries for commercial purposes to e-mail the veterinary border inspection post at the airport ( well before the import date to ensure that the import conditions are metWe also ask persons to send scanned documents to the email address to verify they are correct. We also especially ask those imported birds for other than commercial purposes to email the above address because the provisions are complex and in many cases the quarantine requirements and other import conditions prevent importation altogether.

Animals imported for commercial purposes = the pets are to be sold, or pets imported without an accompanying person (exceptions are listed in each quidance for the species in question found on the left margin) . Pets here mean the following species:dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, rodents, rabbits, hares, reptiles, amphibians, ornamental aquatic animals including fish (reared in non-commercial aquaria for ornamental purposes) and invertebrates (except bees and bumble bees as well as molluscs of the phylum “Mollusca” and crustaceans in the subphylum “Crustacea” for non-ornamental purposes) kept as pet animals. Contacting Finnish Food Authority is also always particularly advisable for all other animals than those listed as pets.

N.B. Finnish Food Authority has been asked about the import conditions for both exotic pets and ordinary pets from certain countries, but despite considerable upfront payments (even amounting to thousands of euros – there have been several cases) the animal was never received. Before inquiring about the import conditions, we ask persons to ascertain from the seller that the animal for sale actually exists. Finnish-language advertisements on Google offering animals for sale should be treated with great caution. The place name given may be a random location in Finland, but on further inspection it turns out that the seller lives abroad.

Veterinary border inspection for live animals

Dogs, cats and ferrets imported from non-EU countries and travelling without their owner or his representative and which are intended for sale or mediation or similarly for onward movement, are subject to a veterinary border control. More detailed information including the exceptions can be found at the left margin.

For other animals, a veterinary border control is required for animals listed in Commission Decision 2007/275/EC annex I concerning animals and products to be subject to controls at border inspection posts.

In practice, checks under the above decision are required for all live animals, and there are no longer any exceptions for animals imported for research purposes, for example.

The Finnish veterinary border Inspection posts are open from Monday till Friday 8.00-15.45. When importing live animals the check performed by the official veterinarian employed by Finnish Food Authority working regularly at the BIP is only allowed, if the consignment of animals is unloaded before 15.00, because it is required at least 2 hours for checking a live animal consignment. Outside these office hours (after 15.00, nights, weekends etc., only possible in Helsinki-Vantaa airport BIP) the importer is obliged to find him/herself an authorised border control veterinarian to perform the check. The authorised veterinarians are not always available, and the performing of the check is voluntary. Therefore it is sometimes needed to contact many veterinarians. The problems are avoided by importing the consignments so that they are unloaded before 15.00, or contacting the authorised veterinarians in due time before the check.

The list of authorised veterinarians is found on the right margin "Authorised border veterinarians".

EU legislation

The link to EU legislation - EUR-Lex -  in the adjacent column takes you to the European Commission’s website and gives a breakdown of EU legislation on animals and products imported from third countries: live animals; semen, ova and embryos; products of animal origin; there is also information on animal diseases, identification and animal welfare (see the row of links at the top of the webpage).


When importing endangered species, the CITES agreement must be taken into account according to which some species are required to be followed by CITES permit. You can ask about CITES requirements e-mailing to: cites


Safeguard measures must be followed.


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