Brexit has slipped under our radar and is fast approaching! The UK government has just updated their advice on pet travel after the 1st January 2021. It’s important to be aware of this if you intend on travelling with your pet to the EU to avoid getting stuck abroad!

Here is a summarised version of what you need to know:

I am travelling to and returning from the EU before 1st January 2021 with my pet, does this affect me?

Nothing will change currently; you can still travel using the EU Pet Travel Passport Scheme. If you need information on this scheme then please contact our customer support for more advice at [email protected]

I am travelling to or returning from the EU after the 1st January 2021, what about me?

The answer to this depends on whether the UK becomes a ‘listed’ or an ‘unlisted’ country with regards to the EU Pet Travel Scheme when leaving the EU on 1st January 2021. It is advised to prepare for the worst case scenario of the UK becoming an ‘unlisted’ country. Below are the steps you need to take if this is the case:

At least 4 months before travel...

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped.

  • Vaccinate your pet against rabies at least 4 months before travel.

    • 30 days after vaccination you need to have your vet take blood for a rabies test. This must be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory, your vet will have the details.

    • You can then travel 3 months after a successful blood sample was taken. The result must prove a sufficient immune response to rabies was achieved or the process must be repeated.

  • Your vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the date the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC) - see next step for more info.

10 days or less before travel…

  • Get an Animal Health Certificate

    • This is a document signed by an ‘Official Veterinarian’.

    • Not all vets are licensed in this way, so check your local vet can sign these well in advance.

    • You will need your pet's vaccination history, microchipping date and antibody test result on your AHC.

  • Your AHC is valid for 10 days, allowing you entry into the EU for this time. For onward travel within the EU and for re-entry into the UK it is valid for 4 months from the date of issue.

  • Finland, Republic of Ireland, Norway or Malta have specific requirements:

    • Must be treated against tapeworm with a product containing Praziquantel 1 to 5 days before arriving in the country.

    • This will need to be entered onto your AHC.

Day of travel…

  • Pet owners enter through specific Travellers’ Points of Entry (TPE).

  • Here you present your original AHC along with proof of:

    • Your pet’s microchip.

    • Rabies vaccination including blood tests results.

    • Tapeworm treatment (if required).

Returning to the UK

There are no expected changes to current requirements for returning to the UK after 1st January 2021. You must present one of th following documents on return:

  • An EU pet passport (issued in the UK or the EU before the 1st January 2021).

  • An AHC issued in the UK and issued no more than 4 months ago.

  • A UK pet health certificate (only for travel into the UK).

You do not need the above documentation if coming from Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Future repeat trips to the EU

You will need a new AHC for each visit and so need to repeat the above process except for your rabies vaccination and test results, providing these are still in date. Your vet can provide you information to ensure your rabies injections are still in date.

Written by: Dr. Nick Garside BVetMed MRCVS