The UK has officially left the European Union. Now that the 31st of December, 2020 has passed, the transition period has also come to an end. Starting from January 2021, new rules for PET Travel Scheme to EU countries are set. Here is what you should know about the changes before travelling with pets after Brexit:
Pet Passports – No Longer Valid in the EU
The European Commission has given UK “Part 2 listed status” under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. It is worth noting that before the final verdict, the UK Government had been requesting to acquire Part 1 listed status.
Gaining Part 2 listed status allows pets to travel together with their owners from Great Britain to the EU. However, pet owners are required to follow a different procedure and procure new requirements.
EU Pet Passports issued in the country are no longer valid. Thus, people travelling with pets after Brexit are required to obtain an EU animal health certificate (AHC) instead of a passport. Owners of assistance dogs need to adhere to this new regulation as well.
What is an EU animal health certificate (AHC)?
It is a type of document containing particular information about your pet. These include his identity, health, and rabies vaccinations.
Every time pet owners travel with their cats, ferrets, and dogs to the EU, they need to acquire an AHC. However, it is not necessary if their pets have up-to-date rabies vaccination history.
The validity of AHC lasts for 4 months for re-entry to the UK, a single trip to the EU, or onward travel within the EU. Note that the certificate becomes no longer valid once the antirabies vaccination expires.
EU Pet Passports are issued for cats, ferrets, and dogs only. Before travelling to other EU countries with other pets including amphibians, birds, invertebrates, rabbits, and rodents, check the national rules of the country you are planning to take a trip to. Note that bringing these types of pets to the UK from EU countries do not have any restrictions.
What are the requirements for the EU animal health certificate?
To acquire an AHC, below are the other conditions you must adhere to:
This applies to cats, dogs, and ferrets. Tattoos from any countries are valid provided that it was applied before the 3rd of July, 2011. It should also be visible.
Check the microchip or tattoo number and make sure that it is similar to the one stated on your pet’s documentation. Keep in mind that that microchip should be administered before the rabies vaccination. Otherwise, it does not count.
2. Rabies vaccination record
Cats, ferrets, and dogs should be vaccinated against rabies. They should be at least 12 weeks old before vaccination is allowed. Keep in mind that you need to wait for 21 days after the initial vaccination before you can travel with your pet.
Gathering the requirements of your pet can be time-consuming. Thus, you are advised to contact the vet 4 months before your travel date.
Where can you get an EU animal health certificate?
You can get an AHC from an official state vet in the UK. Ask the vet whom you frequent to find the nearest official vet in your area. The certificate should be signed and dated by them.
Acquiring the certificate should be done no more than 10 days before your pet arrives in the EU. Be sure to bring your pet’s documents containing his vaccination history and microchipping date.
If you are relocating your pet, do not forget to fill out and attach a written declaration on the AHC. Its contents should state that your pet’s relocation is for non-commercial purposes.
The same should be done if your pet is travelling with another person authorised by you. You should be reunited with your pet within 5 days of your relocation.
What pet documentation is needed upon entering the EU border?
When travelling with pets after Brexit, you need to go through a travellers’ point of entry (TPE) to enter the EU. TPE is comprised of the entire major French ports including Dunkirk, Caen, and Calais. Find the complete list of TPEs here.
Once you reach the TPE, you will be required to show your pet’s:
- animal health certificate
- microchip number
- rabies vaccination records
- tapeworm treatment (if required)
How can you travel with your pet to Northern Ireland?
Pet owners need to obtain an AHC if they plan to take their dog, cat, or ferret to Northern Ireland. They need to present the certificate to a TPE for a mandatory compliance inspection.
Pets should also be microchipped and vaccinated before arriving in the country. If your pet’s microchip does not meet ISO standards, make sure to bring your own microchip reader.
If you’re travelling with your dog after Brexit to Northern Ireland, he needs treatment against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) 120 hours or a day before travelling/landing. It is also necessary before you travel to Finland, Malta, Norway, and the Republic of Ireland. This requirement does not apply to cats and ferrets.
The treatment should be administered by the vet 1–5 days before arrival in Northern Ireland. They must document the full details of the treatment in the certificate.
What are the requirements for travelling from the UK to the EU via car?
Before driving through Europe with a dog, cat, or ferret, know that there are new regulations implemented. If you drive your own car, you need to acquire a physical copy of the green card. It is proof that your vehicle is insured when travelling abroad.
The green card can be obtained from the insurer. You have the option of downloading it or posting it out. Note that it takes around 6 weeks for the green card to arrive in the mail. Another requirement is placing a GB sticker on your vehicle when travelling to the EU. However, this is not necessary when going on a trip to Ireland.
For those who have a photo card driving license, there’s no need to get an international driving permit (IDP) required for short visits. However, drivers that only own a paper licence are mandated to obtain an IDP.
If you have a licence issued in Guernsey, Jersey, Gibraltar, or the Isle of Man, acquiring an IDP is compulsory. Most Post Office branches offer over-the-counter IDP of all types. EU driving licence holders do not need IDP. However, they need to provide valid proof of insurance, which can be in a form of a green card.
What if you are a UK citizen residing in the EU?
For UK citizens living in the EU, if you own an EU-issued pet passport, you can use it to travel with your pet to the UK after 2020. You can also return to the EU by using EU-issued pet passport.
However, if you are using a UK-issued pet passport, the government website advises you to contact your local vet. They will help you ensure that you are compliant with EU Pet Travel rules.
What if you plan to travel from the UK to France?
The same rules apply when travelling with your dog, cat, or ferret to France. You will need to secure a dual-language AHC 10 days before travelling. Using a French pet passport after Brexit is accepted. However, if you own an EU passport issued in the UK, it is not valid for travel.
Other requirements to take care of are vaccination and microchipping of cats, ferrets, and dogs. Then wait for 21 days after the initial vaccination before travel. Once you arrive in France, you and your pet will enter through the TPE.
What should you do if you are travelling from France to the UK?
There are no new requirements for pet owners who are going back to the UK from France. Make sure to present any of the following upon arrival in Great Britain:
- an EU pet passport issued in the EU
- a UK health certificate
- the AHC used to travel to France
How about travelling with pets after Brexit from the EU to GB?
There are no changes are applied to the documents or health preparations for pets entering Great Britain. When returning to Great Britain from the EU or North Ireland, you need to present at least one of the following documents:
- A GB pet health certificate (for travel into GB only)
- an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or GB before January 2021)
- a Part 1 listed party pet passport
- the AHC issued in GB that was used for your pet travel to the EU
However, this documentation is not necessary if your pet is entering the UK from the Channel Islands, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, and Northern Ireland. Make sure to travel using approved routes only when going back to Britain. Prepare your pet’s documents and microchip too since this will be checked.
Note that there are a few exemptions from this rule. Pet owners returning to Great Britain with their assistant dogs do not need to use approved routes. Just make sure to inform the TPE ahead of time that you are travelling with an assistant dog. This will allow them to carry out the necessary checks.
If you are travelling to Great Britain from the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, the Republic of Ireland, or other UK countries, travelling using an approved route is not required. You are advised, however, to check with the vet if you plan to travel to these places. They will work with you to figure out the preparations that you need to take.
If you have further inquiries, you may contact the DEFRA Pet Travel helpline:
0370 241 1710 or at their email address [email protected].