“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” – Woody Allen
We were supposed to be on a ferry bound for Spain and Portugal this week, but He must have found out. Three days before they were due to move in, our prospective tenants let us down. Two days later, a second set of tenants gave notice. And then last Monday, we went to visit the vet…
If you intend to travel with your pet, you need to prepare several months in advance and, depending on how Britain leaves the EU, expect some additional pet travel costs and red tape.
Brexit has created a great deal of division, but the one thing that we can all agree on is that it will have a major impact on everybody, regardless of how they voted. And one certainty about Brexit is that the term ‘Brexit uncertainty’ should make it into the Oxford English Dictionary this year!
We travel with four dogs. With so much still up in the air and the prospect of the worst case scenario, a ‘No Deal’ looming, we initially put our travel plans on hold. In this blog, I look at the potential impact of Brexit on travelling with pets in terms of planning, paperwork and costs as well as a potential solution.
UK Issued Pet Passports May Be Invalid After Brexit
With a valid EU Pet Passport, pets can travel relatively freely in the EU under the current PETS Travel Scheme, without the need for quarantine. Some countries have additional entry requirements, such as tapeworm treatments, but otherwise, travel in the EU with pets is very straightforward. However, with Brexit, that is set to change.
- If Britain Leaves with a Deal – and there is an implementation period, nothing will change for the duration of the implementation period. You will be able to travel with your pet under the current scheme for the duration of the implementation.
- If there is No Deal – The day that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, all UK-issued EU Pet Passports become invalid. The paperwork that you will require to travel with your pet will depend on what is agreed with the EU and as yet, this is not clear. (This will also come into force at the end of the implementation period, depending on the scope of the deal.)
Three Possible Post-Brexit Pet Travel Scenarios
When Britain leaves the EU, there are three potential outcomes for how the UK will be ‘listed’ with regards to pets travelling abroad. This will affect the tests and paperwork that will be required to travel with your pets.
1. The UK Becomes a Part 1 Listed Country
As a Part 1 listed country, the requirements for a microchip and rabies vaccinations will remain the same as they are now, but your pet’s EU passport will not be valid.
- You will need to apply for a new UK Pet Passport, which is valid for the lifetime of the pet (or until full) so long as your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.
- You can’t apply for a UK Pet Passport at the moment, since it does not exist!
2. The UK Becomes a Part 2 Listed Country
As a Part 2 listed country, the microchip and rabies vaccinations requirements apply, but your pet would require an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to travel.
- The AHC must be issued by an official vet no more than 10 days before travel and at least 21 days after the initial rabies vaccination.
- The AHC is valid for 4 months of travel in the EU.
- If your AHC expires while you are in the EU, you will need a further AHC issued by an Authorised Vet in the country that you are visiting.
- On arrival, you will need to enter through a designated TPE (Travellers Point of Entry).
- You will need a new AHC for each trip to the EU.
3. The UK Becomes an Unlisted Country
In a ‘No Deal’ scenario, the EU is likely to leave as an Unlisted Country. In this case your pet will need:
- A Rabies Titer Test to check the level of rabies antibody in the blood. Note that this can take up to 4 months before you can travel if the test is successful. If the test is not successful, you will have re-vaccinate and wait another 4 months.
- An AHC – as stated above, your pet must arrive in the EU within 10 days of the certificate being issued and is valid for 4 months for further travel in the EU.
- TPE – On arrival, you will need to enter through a designated TPE (Travellers Point of Entry).
The Rabies Titer Test
- A blood sample must be taken 30 days or more after the rabies vaccination. (To increase the chance of passing, take the blood sample as soon as possible after the vaccination or booster.)
- You must then wait 3 months from the date the blood sample was taken before you travel. (You do not need to wait if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to an unlisted country.)
- Please note that there are no guarantees that your pet will pass the titer test. If your pet fails, you will need a re-test. If your pet passes the re-test, you will still need to wait 3 months before you can travel.
- The blood sample must be tested by an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
- To pass, the results must show rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml.
- The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in a third-country official veterinary certificate.
- For most countries, the blood test will continue to be valid as long as your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date. Note that some countries, such as Japan, require the titer test to have been performed within a year of entering the country.
- If you miss the booster and you’re travelling from an unlisted country, your pet will need to be vaccinated and blood tested again and you will have to wait for 3 months before travelling.
Does an EU Passport Avoid the Need for AHC & Titer Testing?
- Rather than acquiring an AHC for each journey, you could get a pet passport while in the EU and use this for entry into the EU.
- However, if the UK becomes an unlisted country after Brexit, a pet with an EU passport issued by an EU member state would still need a rabies titer test to re-enter the EU after visiting Britain. This would need to be administered prior to leaving the EU but there is no requirement for a three month wait period before travel. (Reference Pet Travel Brexit Q & A)
Different vets charge differently, so it is not possible to give exact costs. However, through internet research and a chat with my own vet, here are some ball park figures:
- Microchip – £20 (a legal requirement for all dogs in the UK since 2016)
- Rabies Vaccine or Booster – £33.
- Rabies Titer Test – £120 – £250 in the UK. A booster & re-test is required if your pet fails the test and this will cost the same. We paid €50 per dog in Italy.
- Animal Health Certificate – £60
- UK Pet Passport – unknown. A UK-issued EU Pet Passport currently costs approximately £60.
- Vet Consultation Fee – £30
- To return to the UK (and to enter some EU countries such as Ireland, Norway, Finland & Malta), the requirement for a veterinary examination & Tapeworm Treatment has not changed. This has cost us anywhere between £0 and £25 per dog, depending on the vet.
If you are planning to travel with your pet on or around the date of Brexit, it will pay to be prepared for any of these outcomes, each of which is possible.
With four dogs, the tests will prove expensive and if just one dog fails, we won’t be able to travel anyway. If the UK leaves with a deal, the tests may be unnecessary, so we would prefer to avoid them. We are also not prepared to risk our fur babies being impounded or put into quarantine if we get things wrong,
The cunning plan that we have formulated is to travel to the EU ahead of Brexit on 31st October 2019, get a titer test done and put The Fab Four on Italian passports. That way, our pups can travel freely in the EU regardless of what happens with Brexit.
Once we bring the dogs back to the UK, they will still be able to travel back to the EU because they have had their titer tests. During the 3 month wait, the dogs will still be able to travel freely within the EU, so long as we don’t return to the UK.
This information is for guidance only. Please see my Disclaimer. The situation is changing constantly, so please check for the most up-to-date information on the Government websites via the links below before you travel.
References and Links
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)
Check out my blog looking at the more general impact of Brexit on travel to the EU.
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Image credits, other than the pictures of The Fab Four – Pixabay