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Post covid and post Brexit, the good news for pet owners is it’s possible to take your dog or cat abroad, provided it has been microchipped, has the relevant vaccinations and has a valid Animal Health Certificate (AHC).
Before you travel, remember to check whether the sites you are staying on accept pets, and if there are any restrictions in place about the number or type of pet that’s accepted.
There are different requirements for what you need depending on if you are travelling to an EU or non-EU country, and different guidance when travelling in to the UK. We have put together the key information you should know if you are considering taking your pet abroad.
Since 1 January 2021 onwards, people travelling from GB with their pets and assistance dogs have to follow new requirements in order to travel to the EU and Northern Ireland.
Your pet will need:
These requirements also apply to assistance dogs. Owners will also have to enter the EU through a travellers’ point of entry (TPE) (includes most main ports and airports).
You can no longer use a pet passport issued in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) for travel to an EU country or Northern Ireland. You can still use a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland.
If you have a pet passport issued in Northern Ireland, contact your vet for advice before travelling.
An AHC confirms that your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. The certificate is issued by your vet, and is likely to cost around £100 – £150.
If you’re travelling to a non-EU country, you’ll need to get an export health certificate (EHC). You’ll also need to complete an export application form (EXA) if you’re in England, Scotland or Wales.
The export health certificate and the export application form for each country and pet will tell you how to apply.
An EHC checks that your pet meets the health requirements of the country you’re travelling to. You must nominate an official vet who will be sent the EHC. They’ll check your pet has met the correct health and identification requirements before you travel. Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.
An Animal Health Certificate is required for your pet to travel to the EU or Northern Ireland which must be issued within 10 days of your travel date. Once your pet has the correct vaccinations and has been microchipped, a vet will be able to issue the certificate.
It is not possible to travel to an EU country or N. Ireland unless attending or training for a competition, sow or sporting event. You’ll need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel and the animal must be over 6 months old and meet all the other requirements for pet travel to that country.
If you are a UK citizen who lives in the EU and has a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you will be able to use it to bring your pet to the UK.
You can also use the EU-issued pet passport to return to the EU as well.
If you are a UK citizen who lives in the EU and have a UK-issued pet passport, the government website recommends speaking to your vet to make sure you are following the rules.
Some countries impose restrictions on the type of dog that is allowed to be imported under the Pet Passport Scheme. To see the restrictions for France, Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands a list can be found here.
Your vet will be able to advise what you need to do in order to obtain the correct documentation to travel and you can find the latest pet travel advice on gov.uk.
Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.