Pet Travel After Brexit

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This may not be so easy post-Brexit

“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.

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We can all agree that Brexit will have a major impact on everybody, regardless of how they voted

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

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With the uncertainty & costs, The Fab Four are Remainers for the moment. Here they are at Chatsworth

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)

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

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If the UK leaves with No Deal, your pet might be going nowhere fast

In a ‘No Deal’ scenario, the EU is likely to leave as an Unlisted Country. In this case your pet will need:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. TPE – On arrival, you will need to enter through a designated TPE (Travellers Point of Entry).

The Rabies Titer Test

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The Rabies Titer Test checks rabies antibody levels in the blood
  • 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, it will take another four months to get the results for the re-test.
  • 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.
  • The blood test will continue to be valid as long as your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.
  • 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)

Approximate Costs

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To travel with your pet post-Brexit, you might need deep pockets!

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:

  1. Microchip – £20 (a legal requirement for all dogs in the UK since 2016)
  2. Rabies Vaccine or Booster – £33.
  3. Rabies Titer Test – £120 (a booster & re-test is required if your pet fails the test and this will cost the same.)
  4. Animal Health Certificate – £60
  5. UK Pet Passport – unknown. A UK-issued EU Pet Passport currently costs approximately £60.
  6. Vet Consultation Fee – £30
  7. 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,

Our Solution

The cunning plan that we have formulated is to travel to the EU ahead of Brexit and get Italian-issued EU passports for the dogs. This will enable to dogs to travel freely within Europe without the hassle and expense of health certificates.

If we bring the dogs back to the UK, they may not be able to travel back to the EU without a titer test, but we can have the test carried out if necessary in Italy. 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.

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If one dog fails the titer test, we would not be able to travel, so it’s a good job we live in a lovely place!

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

UK Government:

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

12 thoughts on “Pet Travel After Brexit

  1. Brilliant Jackie, very helpful ( although I’m totally confused) for the reasons you mention we’d didn’t go abroad this year with Molly, although with the two postponed Brexit date we could have gone before October. Hopefully things will have clarified by next year. Our vet wasn’t able to give any guidance, Brendan & Jeni

    Sent from my iPad

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    1. Glad that it’s helpful, Brendan. We have been agonising over Brexit for ages. The difficulty is that there is no single, correct answer at the moment. We’re hoping to go skiing later this year or early next year, but even that is in the balance at the moment. xx

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  2. Still amazed that Brexit happened, hope it goes through with a deal, less chaos at least that way. Hope your travel gets back to normal soon.

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    1. Excellent once again Jackie, we are just awaiting the results of the blood test for our elderly, recently retired working collie🤞
      Thank you and keep up your excellent work 👍

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      1. Thank you so much for your kind words. We’re working on a solution; our current thinking is to apply for an Italian Tourist Visa for us and head out before Brexit. Then we can get the dogs Italian passports, which I believe will preclude the need for health certificates. They will need a titer test to re-enter the EU from the UK, but will be able to travel back to the UK on EU Italian passports. I shall keep you posted! We phoned the Italian Embassy this afternoon, but they all went home at lunchtime. I love the Italians!

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  3. We won’t be traveling with our dogs next year regardless as we will be having shorter breaks. We learned a few lessons this year and we realised that we had pets too soon as it really puts a damper on what we want to do. When you only have a short window for a break, it matters. So they will be holidaying at the dog sitters on the farm. The whole idea of what you need to do before travelling stresses me out. I am not retired, so I need to be able to enjoy my holiday as much as possible. I have one great dog and one problem dog, and it is not an option to leave only one behind for a short time. If I was travelling for longer term, it might be different and we would take them, of course. Good luck with everything! 🙂

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  4. Pets do bring a lot of joy into your life, but they do limit your choices. We can’t leave the pups home alone in the caravan, so we take turns for windsurfing or sightseeing, but find it difficult to cycle as much as we would like. We did buy doggie trailers for the bikes, but it is often too hot to use them when we’re abroad. You need your hols when you’re working. I am sure that your pups will enjoy their farm stay. Enjoy!

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