Travelling to the EU with Pets After Brexit

31 DECEMBER 2020

31 December 2020 marks the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period and the full departure of the UK from the EU. This will impact on travel to and from the EU, with implications on pet owners who want to take their pets on holiday to EU countries and back again.

At Battersea, we’ve answered some of the most pressing questions about what this could mean for you.

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What travel arrangements were in force before 31 December 2020?

Before Brexit, UK pet owners could travel abroad with their pet using the EU Pets Travel Scheme (PETS). This scheme allows you to travel without the need for your dog or cat to be quarantined, so long as it has a microchip, up to date rabies vaccination, pet passport, and has been treated for tapeworm.

It’s a scheme used frequently by holiday makers who want all members of the family, furry or otherwise, to enjoy trips with them, and it’s also used by pet owners who have homes in both the UK and the EU. However, as it’s an EU scheme, when regulations cease in the UK it will no longer apply.

How are the travel arrangements for pets changing?

The European Commission has classed the UK as what is known as a Part 2 listed third country under the Pet Travel Scheme. This takes effect on 1 January 2021 and changes the requirements for pet travel between the UK and EU countries.

The largest change for UK pet owners will be that they can no longer use EU pet passports issued in the Great Britain to travel to EU countries, although you can still use one issued in Northern Ireland or the EU. This change requires pet owners to take extra preparations before they travel.

What is the latest advice for pet owners?

The Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has created guidance for all pet owners.

Pet owners are advised to prepare at least one month in advance of when they want to travel with their pet. You should ensure you contact your vet who will be able to check the status of your pet’s rabies vaccination (your pet must be at least 12 weeks old for this vaccination), booster vaccinations, blood tests, and a microchip. For more information on how you can make sure your pet has a valid microchip, you can read our advice.

No more than ten days before travel, you will have to obtain an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from your vet, to certify your pet is healthy to travel and does not have any transmissible diseases. This AHC is used in place of a pet passport and is valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into EU countries. You will be able to continue using an EU pet passport for return into the UK, provided it is still valid, or use your AHC if you are coming back within 4 months of its issue.

Will this advice for pet owners change?

This information is correct at the time of publishing and should be used as a guide. However, as the UK reviews its cross-border pet travel requirements, the advice is liable to change.

Battersea highly recommends checking the UK Government website and consulting your vet to find the latest rules and advice for taking your pet to an EU country. We will provide updates on our Campaigns and Views webpage.

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