The UK has now left the EU. Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, has become a Part 2 listed third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme from 1st January 2021. This means changes to the rules when travelling to the EU from the UK.
This means that current pet passports will no longer be valid. There are also changes around travelling to Northern Ireland with your pet. Read our advice and be prepared.
Leaving the EU
The UK left the EU on 31st December 2020. Ahead of this date, it was confirmed that Great Britain will become a Part 2 listed third country.
This means that your current pet passport will not be valid and instead you will need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for travel into and around the EU. An AHC will also be required for travel from the UK to Northern Ireland. The AHC will only be valid for a single trip.
Will my current UK issued pet passport be valid?
No, your current pet passport will not be valid for travel into or around the EU or Northern Ireland after 31st December 2020.
If you plan to travel with your pet after 1st January 2021, you will need to talk to your vet about an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). You will need to allow at least 21 days before you travel if this is your pet’s first time travelling.
A UK issued passport will be valid for returning to the UK up to its expiry date. Also, if you have an EU passport (not issued by the UK) and are currently in the UK, this passport is valid for you to return to the EU.
What if I am returning to the UK?
There will be no change to the current requirements for pets entering the UK after 1st January 2021. Your pet will need to have at least one of the following documents:
- An EU passport (issued in the EU or in the UK before 1stJanuary 2021)
- An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued in the UK (valid for four months after the date of issue)
- A UK pet health certificate (for travel into the UK only)
What do I need to do?
If you are intending travel with your pet you need to be clear on the new requirements and plan ahead. Please note the following points:
The requirements for a Part 2 listed third country:
- Your dog, cat, or ferret must be microchipped.
- Your pet must be older than 12 weeks of age.
- Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies (your pet will need to be at least 12 weeks of age to have this vaccination).
- An AHC can be issued by your vet three weeks after the initial rabies vaccination.
- An AHC is only valid for travel into the EU or Northern Ireland for 10 days after the date of issue.
- An AHC can only be issued by an ‘Official Vet’ (OV). All Medivet clinics have access to an OV; please call to arrange as far in advance as possible so we can make sure an OV is available.
- You will need a new AHC for each trip that you take, unlike a pet passport the AHC is not valid for multiple uses.
- Once you have entered the EU or Northern Ireland, the AHC is then valid for four months (after the date of issue), permitting travel between other EU countries (not the UK) during the same trip. It is then permitted for entry back into the UK.
The steps above mean that you should start preparing at least three weeks before you travel. If at all possible we recommend a longer period to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Please contact your local Medivet practice and we will be able to advise you on the steps that you need to take and get appointments booked to ensure your travel plans aren’t interrupted.
What else do I need to know?
- An AHC is now required to travel to Northern Ireland. Previously there was no requirement for a pet passport when travelling to Northern Ireland – this changes from the 1st January 2021.
- There is no requirement for a blood test after the rabies vaccination. However, the fact that you need an AHC for each trip means that it’s essential that you keep your rabies vaccinations up to date. Should your rabies vaccination lapse, you will need to re-start and wait 21 days for the AHC.
- If you are travelling with more than five pets, different guidelines apply, and you should speak to your vet.
- Some EU countries may require your pet to have undergone a tapeworm treatment, please talk to your vet and always check before you travel.
Where is the best place to check for up to date information?
We will be keeping this page up to date. The government website is a good source of up to date information https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit