HEIDELBERG, Germany (Jan. 25, 2013) -- Members of the U.S. forces community who bring their pets along when they arrive in Germany for assignment will be charged a fee by German authorities, beginning Feb. 1.
The fee will be charged during arrivals at Ramstein Air Base and Frankfurt International Airport. Owners may pay the fee by credit card only.
Payment of the fee is the responsibility of the pet owner, and cannot be claimed for reimbursement on an official travel voucher, according to officials with the U.S. Army Europe Office of the Judge Advocate, or OJA. However, while OJA experts said the fee is prohibited from reimbursement under the provisions of the DOD Joint Travel Regulations, pet owners may be able to claim the fee as a deduction as a moving expense on their federal income tax returns.
At Ramstein, a examination fee of 55 euros per pet owner will be charged for all on pets imported into Germany from outside the European Union. Kaiserslautern County officials said the fee is being levied in accordance with European Union regulations designed to prevent the introduction and dissemination of rabies.
Upon arrival at Ramstein, pets will be examined by veterinary officials near the passenger terminal's baggage claim area.
Owners arriving with their pets at Frankfurt International Airport will also pay a fee. That fee is 35 euros per accompanied pet, or 55 euros for an unaccompanied pet, and increases by 50 percent if the pet arrives on a weekend or holiday.
While Ramstein and Frankfurt are the only locations currently slated to begin imposing the fee Feb. 1, because it is based on EU regulation, other European Union ports of entry could enact similar fees in the future.