December 21st 2020

Guidance on Pet Travel to Europe After Brexit

On 1 January 2021 the rules that affect the transport of cats, dogs and ferrets between Britain, the EU and Northern Ireland will change. In today’s blog, we will focus on these changes and what you will need to do as a pet owner to ensure that you can travel with your cat, dog or ferret to the EU and Northern Ireland.

Previously, British pets required only a passport while their country was part of the EU. Announced on Wednesday the 16 December 2020, the new rules affect the transport of pets from England, Scotland or Wales to Northern Ireland and the EU. 

They require those travelling from Britain with pets and assistance dogs to ensure they have an animal health certificate (AHC) instead of a pet passport, and that this has been issued no earlier than 10 days before they travel. Only vets can inspect animals and issue the new AHC.

According to the government’s advice:

Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel to the EU or NI for the first time after 1 January 2021, you’ll need to take the following steps. These steps are similar to the current process for taking your pet to the EU, but you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) instead of a pet passport.

  • You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped
  • Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated
  • Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel
  • Visit your vet to get an AHC for your pet, no more than 10 days before travel to the EU

Applying for the AHC 

The government has stated that the application for an AHC is similar to the steps to apply for a pet passport. To apply for an AHC, you must take your pet to your vet no more than 10 days before travel. The vet will inspect your animal and issue the certificate enabling them to travel with you.

At the consultation, you must provide proof of:

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

Your pet’s AHC will be valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU or NI
  • Onward travel within the EU or NI for 4 months after the date of issue
  • Re-entry to GB for four months after the date of issue

Arriving in the EU or NI

When arriving in the EU or NI, those travelling with pets will have to enter through a designated travellers’ point of entry (TPE).

At the TPE, you may need to present your pet’s original AHC along with proof of:

  • Your pet’s microchip
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Tapeworm treatment (if required)
  • Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel. Read the travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance before travelling overseas.

For more information on the new legislation, please see the official government guidance: Pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021

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