The Definitive Guide On Pet Travel After Brexit


Are you a UK based pet parent? Would you need to take your pet cats, ferrets or dogs, including assistance dogs, to the EU in the near future?

Then this is for you.

It’s everything you need to know about pet travel to the EU post brexit.

You may call it the essential guide to pet travel after Brexit. Or your definitive guide to travelling with your pet from the UK to any EU country and Northern Ireland post brexit, i.e. from January 1st, 2021.

Pet Travel to the EU before Brexit: Travel with Dogs, Cats and Ferrets. What’s Changing?

The EU Pet Travel Regulations are designed to make it easy to travel for citizens of the European Union to with their pet dogs, cats or ferrets to another EU country. These rules also cover pet travel to the EU from non EU countries.

The EU Rules state that with a few exceptions, pets can travel with pet parents to another EU country or from a country outside the to an EU country if the pets:

  • Have either been micro chipped or have a clearly legible tattoo if applied before July 3rd, 2011.
  • Have been vaccinated against rabies.
  • Have had treatment against the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, where necessary. Please note that this is not a requirement for dogs travelling directly between Malta, Finland, Norway, and Ireland).
  • Hold a valid and up to date European pet passport, if travelling to another EU country. When travelling from a non-EU country, the pets must have a valid and up to date EU animal health certificate.

And then there was Brexit

The United Kingdom voted to withdraw from the European Union in a referendum on June 23rd 2016.

Following the result of the referendum, the UK formally submitted the notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union on March 29th 2017.

With effect from January 1st, 2021, Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, will become a Part 2 listed third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme.

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Pet Travel to the EU Post Brexit – Everything You Need to Know

This is a simple guide for pet travel to the EU post brexit written for UK based pet parents. You have to be aware that the rule changes also apply to travel to Northern Ireland (NI).

Travelling to the EU or NI with your pet

All current EU pet passports issued in the UK, will no longer be valid for pet travel to the EU post brexit. This also applies to NI, and the effective date is January 1st 2021. The main change is that he EU pet passport will be replaced with an animal health certificate.

For your pet dog, cat or ferret to travel to the EU or NI after January 1st 2021, you must:

  1. Micro-chip your pet.
  2. Vaccinate your pet against rabies. Remember that to vaccinate your pet, it must be at least 12 weeks old.
  3. Wait at least 21 days after the primary vaccination before you can travel.
  4. Obtain an animal health certificate for your pet, no more that 10 days before your travel date. As stated earlier, the animal health certificate replaces the current EU pet passport, and you can get one from your vet.

Be sure to keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date. As long as they are all up to date, you will not need to get repeat vaccinations for repeat trips to the EU or NI.

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Not sure you need a pet? Check out our amazing article: The Amazing Benefits of Pets for Human Health

Pet travel after Brexit – How to get an animal health certificate

As stated earlier, one of the main changes to pet travel to the EU post Brexit is the requirement to have an animal health certificate instead of the EU pet passport.

To get the animal health certificate, you must take your pet to your vet no more than 10 days before your travel date. To be valid, an official vet needs to sign the animal health certificate. So it’s a good idea to check in advance that your vet can issue an animal health certificate for pets.

When you visit your vet, you will need to take the following information along with you

  • The date your pet was micro-chipped.
  • The full vaccination history of your pet.

Your pet’s animal health certificate will be valid for:

  • 10 days for entry into the EU or NI after the date of issue
  • 4 months after the date of issue, for onward travel within the EU or NI 
  • 4 months after the date of issue for re-entry to the UK 

Pet travel to the EU post Brexit: Malta, Finland, Norway, NI or Republic of Ireland

Your pet dog must have treatment against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis), for direct travel with your dog to any of the following countries post Brexit:

  • Finland,
  • Republic of Ireland, 
  • NI,
  • Norway or
  • Malta,

Your dog must receive the treatment one to five days before arriving in any of those countries. Your vet must enter full details of the treatment on the animal health certificate.

Pet travel to the EU post Brexit: Arriving in the EU or NI

Pet parents travelling with their pets into the EU or NI will need to enter through a designated travellers’ point of entry on arrival in the EU or NI.

On arrival at the designated travellers’ point of entry, you would be required present your pet’s original animal health certificate together with proof of the following:

  • Your pet’s micro-chip
  • Your pet’s rabies vaccination
  • Proof of your dog’s tapeworm treatment (where necessary)

Before you travel, we suggest you always check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements.

Repeat trips to the EU or NI

Your pet will require a new animal health certificate for each pet travel to the EU or NI.

To get a new animal health certificate, you must take your pet to an official vet no more than 10 days before your proposed travel date. As usual, you must show proof of:

  • Your pet’s microchipping date
  • Your pet’s rabies vaccination history

Bear in mind that if your pet has an up to date rabies vaccination history, it will not need a repeat rabies vaccination before another travel.

Remember your pet will need tapeworm treatment if you’re travelling together to Malta, Finland, Norway, NI or Republic of Ireland.

Pet travel after Brexit – Returning to the UK

The current health preparations will continue for pets entering the UK from 1 January 2021. There will be no changes.

When returning to the UK from the EU post Brexit, your pet must have one of the following documents:

  • Either an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or in the UK before 1 January 2021) or a pet passport from a Part 1 listed third country
  • An animal health certificate issued in the UK and used to travel to the EU – you are allowed to use the certificate for return up to 4 months after it was issued
  • a Great Britain pet health certificate (for travel into GB only)

Please note that if your pet is entering the UK from:

  • NI
  • the Channel Islands
  • the Isle of Man

it will not need any of these documentation.

Pet travel after Brexit – Approved routes

It is important to check the routes before you travel. And you must travel using approved routes. When entering the UK, your pet’s documents and microchip will be checked.

You do not have to travel on approved routes, if you’re the owner of an assistance dog returning from the EU. However, to ensure the appropriate checks are done before your arrival, you must notify the point of entry in advance that you’re travelling with an assistance dog.

You do not have to travel on an approved route if you travel to GB from:

  • other UK countries
  • the Channel Islands
  • the Isle of Man
  • the Republic of Ireland

It’s important to have a conversation with your vet about what preparations you need to make before you travel from any of these locations.

Travel from countries not free from tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis)

If you’re travelling from a country not free from tapeworm, your dog will need an approved tapeworm treatment from a vet. You must do this no less than 24 hours and no more than 5 days before you enter the UK. This requirement will not change after 1 January 2021.

The tapeworm treatment must:

  • Be approved for use in the country where the treatment is applied; and
  • Contain praziquantel or an equivalent proven to be effective against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis)

You do not need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re travelling directly to the UK from Malta, NI, Norway, Republic of Ireland or Finland.

UK nationals living in the EU

If you’re a UK pet parent living in the EU and planning a pet travel with your pet using a UK-issued pet passport, you should speak to your vet. Your vet will ensure you’re complying with the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

If you have an EU pet passport issued by any of the 27 EU member states, you can use it to bring your pet to the UK.

Pet Travel to the EU Post Brexit – Your Turn

Are you a pet parent? Do you own a dog, cat or ferret? Would you be undertaking pet travel to the EU post brexit?

Were you a brexiteer? What are your thoughts on the new rules on pet travel after brexit?

Why not join our conversation by leaving a comment?

Pedro is Chief Editor of Pet Connection. He is an attorney, an animal rights campaigner, a pro blogger and the CEO of Astute Copy Blogging.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are either offensive or off-topic.

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