Last Updated 17th January 2021.
The Brexit transition period ended on 1st of January 2021, which makes taking your pets abroad from the UK involve much more red tape.
On 9th December 2020, The European Union announced that from 1st January 2021, Britain, except Northern Ireland, will have ‘Part 2’ listed status for pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) travelling to the EU.
What this Means
- Your Current UK-issued EU Pet Passport is No Longer Valid – from 1st January 2021, existing Pet Passports issued in England, Wales and Scotland (pictured) are no longer valid for travel to the EU. (If you are already in the EU, the UK passport remains valid for the duration of your trip.)
- Except Northern Ireland – where EU pet passport rules will still apply.
- You Will Need an Animal Health Certificate – any pet travelling to the EU or Northern Ireland (NI) from England, Wales and Scotland after 23:00 GMT on 31st December 2020,will need an ‘Animal Health Certificate’ (AHC) issued by an Official Vet.
- Tapeworm Treatment (Dogs Only) – in addition, treatment against Echinococcus multilocularis will become a requirement for entry into Northern Ireland, Eire, Finland and Malta in the EU. This remains a requirement for entry into the UK and Norway. It must be administered by a vet between 24-hours and 5 days before travel and certified on the AHC. At present, AHCs are not available for Norway, which is in Schengen but not the EU.
What You Need to Know About Animal Health Certificates (AHCs)
- You Must Travel Within 10 Days of Issue – the AHC is valid for entry into the EU & NI for only 10 days from the date of issue.
- You Can’t Change the Country of Entry Once Issued – the AHC is a bilingual document; you can only enter the EU if you hold the correct document for the country where you first arrive in the EU. If you wish to change your country of entry, you need a new AHC.
- They are valid for 4 months from date of issue OR until expiry of the rabies vaccine, whichever is earlier:
- For onward travel in the EU
- For re-entry into the UK
- Valid for One Trip Only – AHCs cover only a single trip for entry to the EU or NI. They cannot be reused for a second or subsequent journey.
- One AHC Can Cover up to Five Pets in normal cirucmstances; more in specific circumstances, such as participating in a competition.
- You must Enter the EU via a designated TPE (Travellers Point of Entry).
- A Declaration Must be Attached – signed and completed by the pet owner, confirming the non-commercial nature of the movement.
When/Where Can I Get An AHC?
- AHCs can only be completed by a certified Official Veterinary Surgeon.
- It must be issued at least 21 days after the initial rabies vaccination.
- AHCs cannot be issued before 22nd December 2020.
- Prices quoted for the issue of AHCs have varied widely; from £70 to £231. Up to 5 pets can travel on one AHC, but how much vets may charge to include each additional pet is unknown. A petition is being launched to standardise or cap charges.
How Long Will It Take to Get an AHC?
- The AHC is a substantial, 10-page document that will require a considerable time to complete and not every vet is authorised to issue them.
- There may be delays in issuing these documents and vets are likely to be limited in the number that they can complete prior to 1st January 2021.
- The AHC cannot be issued before 22nd December 2020, or until 10 days prior to travel.
- The AHPC confirmed that any pet travelling with a UK pet passport to the EU from the UK before 31/12/2020, but returning to the UK after 01/01/2021, will be able to return. Any pet movement after that will require the AHC.
You May NOT Be Able To Take Pet Food Into The EU
- With a few exceptions, you will NOT be permitted to take pet food into the EU, unless required for medical reasons.
- You CAN take NO MORE than 2kg of pet food if required for medical reasons ONLY. The food must be:
- Intended for the pet accompanying the passenger.
- Shelf stable, ie not requiring refrigeration.
- Packaged, proprietory brand products for direct sale to the final consumer.
- In unbroken packaging.
- See Personal Imports and the section on Taking Food and Drink Into EU Countries.
- Animals aged 12 weeks or younger can no longer be exported.
- Travel is not permitted until 21 days after the rabies vaccination.
Pets on EU Passports
- The APHA confirmed when asked that pets with EU passports, other than UK passports, will be able to continue to travel freely to and from the UK in the future.The GOV website was updated on 21st December 2020 to confirm this, “If you have a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you can use it to bring your pet to GB.”
- An AHC or rabies titer test is not required in addition to an EU passport in order to enter the EU from the UK as a Part 2 listed country. This EU document suggests a valid EU passport will be sufficient on its own, subject to additional requirements such as tapeworm treatment in those countries where it is a requirement.
- “Regarding the rabies antibody titration test: The test is not required for pet animals (dogs, cats or ferrets) moved into an EU country from a territory or a third country listed in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 577/2013”
- “Regarding the animal health certificate – The movement into an EU country from a territory or a third country of a pet animal (dog, cat or ferret) accompanied by a passport shall be authorised.if issued in one of the territory or third country listed in Part 1 of Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 577/2013 if completed and issued by an authorised veterinarian before leaving the Union.”
- How to Get an EU Pet Passport – This post from Australian Dog Travel Blog Travelnuity explains the process.
- A UK Vet CANNOT Update an EU-Issued Passport – The APHA (DEFRA) confirmed that an up to date EU passport can be used for travel into EU and return to GB. However, UK vets can only update the tapeworm and clinical examination sections, NOT the rabies vaccine.
For More Information – The Pet Travel Helpline
- Email: email@example.com
- Telephone: 0370 241 1710 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm (closed on bank holidays)
- GOV Website: Pet Travel to Europe from 1st January 2021
- I will keep this blog updated as new information comes available. Please follow my blog to keep updated automatically; click ‘follow’ or enter your email address in the box at the top right hand side of the page.
I have taken the information from primary sources, but while every effort has been made to ensure that it is correct at the time of writing, I urge you to check the most up-to-date requirements before you travel. Please see my Disclaimer for more details.
- GOV Website: Pet Travel to Europe from 1st January 2021 notice of update received 21st December 2020.
- EU document – non commercial movement from non EU countries.
- Here is a link to the Animal and Plant Health Agency briefing note 39/20 to Official Veterinarians, which is the original source of information. The briefing states that detailed guidance for travellers will be published on GOV.UK in due course.
- APHC/DEFRA document on pet passports. The final paragraph of Section 1 confirms that a residential address is not required, just a correspondence address, which need not be in the country of issue.
- DEFRA Guidance on AHCs for non-commercial animal movements to the EU, issued 18th December 2020.
- EU declaration of ‘Part 2’ listed status.
- European Liaison site on Pet Passports.