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Now that the UK is no longer part of the EU, the rules for travelling abroad with your pet have changed. While we may not be able to travel at the moment, this is something that you will need to be aware of for any future trips you take.
The new pet travel rules came into effect on 1st January 2021, making travelling to Europe substantially harder. You may have previously used a Pet Passport when travelling but these are now no longer valid for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland. The new rules require much more paperwork and you should be prepared for additional documents, appointments with your vet and also further costs.
The rules apply to anyone travelling with cats, ferrets or dogs. This also includes assistance dogs. It’s vital that you are fully aware of the new requirements and are organised well in advance to avoid any problems when travelling and to ensure the process is as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
When travelling to a EU country with your pet, you must ensure that your pet has the following:
• A microchip
• A valid rabies vaccination
• An Animal Health Certificate (AHC)
• Tapeworm treatment- for select countries only
It’s a good idea to check the rules specifically for the country you intend to visit just in case there are any additional requirements you need to meet. After all, you’d rather find this out in advance and be prepared.
When you arrive in a EU country (or Northern Ireland) with your pet, you will need to go through a traveller’s point of entry. This will include certain ports and airports. Please check before travelling to make sure that you will pass through an approved point of entry.
At this point, you may be asked to show your pet’s Animal Health Certificate, as well as proof of their rabies vaccination. It’s a good idea to have these important documents on you so that you can present them promptly if requested.
Each time you take your pet to a EU country or to Northern Ireland, you will need to get a new Animal Health Certificate so please bear this in mind. They will also need tapeworm treatment for each trip but this will only be needed if you are visiting certain countries, such as Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Malta and Norway. Your pet won’t need to get repeat rabies vaccinations for each visit, as long as their rabies vaccination is up to date.
Please see more information below for each pet travel requirement:
Your pet must be microchipped before travelling to the EU or Northern Ireland. A vet, a vet nurse or a student vet/nurse- when directed by a vet, can only do Microchipping for pet travel. You must make sure that your vet puts your pet’s microchip number in your Animal Health Certificate. The AHC must be issued by an OV vet.
You must get your pet vaccinated against rabies before they are allowed to travel to the EU or Northern Ireland. Before doing this, you must ensure that your pet is microchipped.
Your vet will need to see proof that your pet is at least 12 weeks old before they are able to vaccinate them against rabies. They will scan your pet’s microchip and then administer the vaccine.
21 days after the rabies vaccination your pet will be eligible to travel to the EU.
An Animal Health Certificate is now needed if you want to travel to the EU or Northern Ireland with your pet. You will need to get this no more than 10 days before travel, so please be mindful of this time frame. This certificate must be signed by an OV vet.
When you visit your vet for the AHC, you will need to provide proof of your pet’s microchipping date and vaccination history. Please contact us in advance if you need help regarding this information.
How long is your pet’s Animal Health Certificate valid for?
An AHC will be valid after the date of issue for:
• 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
• Re-entry to Great Britain for 4 months
• Onward travel within the EU for 4 months
It’s really important to remember that you will need to get a new Animal Health Certificate each time you travel with your pet, so please don’t forget!
Depending on the country you are visiting, your pet may also need to be given tapeworm treatment. This treatment must be given by an OV vet no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you arrive. A record of this treatment must be kept in the Animal Health Certificate.
There are currently no planned changes for after 01/01/2021.
Either a valid PETS passport issued before 01/01/2021 (issued either in GB or EU) or the initial AHC may be used to re-enter the UK. The AHC must be used within 4 months, while the passport will stay valid while the rabies vaccination is in date. If your pet is returning from NI, the Isle of Man, or from the Channel Islands, you do NOT need this documentation.
Pets returning from tapeworm countries will still need tapeworm treatment given by an OV vet 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before landing back on UK soil. Countries exempt from this rule include direct travel from Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta.
There are strict restrictions on permitted routes to enter the EU, NI and the UK. You must check these routes before travelling; they are available on the relevant countries government websites.