Planning on taking your pet dogs, cat or ferret to the EU or Northern Island?
For many years now, since the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme, travelling abroad with your pet has been relatively simple.
Since the UK left the EU on 31st December 2020 a pet passport issued in the UK are no longer valid for travel the EU or Northern Ireland.
Great Britain has become a Part 2 Listed Status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. Which means if you wish to travel into and around the EU including travel from the UK to Northern Island you will need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued in the UK.
What do I need to do?
If you are intending to travel with your pet, you will need to be clear on the new requirements and plan well ahead of your travel date.
When travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland, your pet will need:
- Your dog, cat, or ferret must be microchipped.
- Your pet must be older than 12 weeks of age.
- Rabies Vaccination – your pet will need to be at least 12 weeks of age and microchipped to have this vaccination. UK rabies vaccinations are valid for three years after vaccination, be aware that some vaccinations given in other countries may be valid for only one year.
- An Animal Heath Certificate (AHC) – These are lengthy documents which must be completed by an ‘Official Veterinary Surgeon’ (OV). An AHC can only be issued by the vet at least three weeks after their initial rabies vaccination. This also applies if your pet’s last rabies vaccine is out of date, you must have a booster vaccine at least three weeks before you apply for an AHC.
These requirements also apply to assistance dogs.
Make sure you check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.
What else do I need to know?
- An AHC is only valid for travel into the EU or Northern Ireland for 10 days after the date of issue.
- An AHC can only be issued by an ‘Official Vet’ (OV). Please call us to arrange your appointment as far in advance as possible so we can make sure an OV is available.
- You will need a new AHC for each trip that you take, unlike a pet passport the AHC is not valid for multiple uses.
- Once you have entered the EU or Northern Ireland, the AHC is then valid for four months (after the date of issue), permitting travel between other EU countries (not the UK) during the same trip. It is then permitted for entry back into the UK.
- There is no requirement for a blood test after the rabies vaccination. However, the fact that you need an AHC for each trip means that it’s essential that you keep your rabies vaccinations up to date. Should your rabies vaccination lapse, you will need to re-start and wait 21 days for the AHC.
- If you are travelling with more than five pets, different guidelines apply, and you should speak to your vet.
- Some EU countries may require your pet to have undergone a tapeworm treatment. These include Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland and Norway. Please talk to your vet and always check before you travel.
- You should start preparing at least 4 weeks before you travel. Although we recommend a longer period to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Planning on taking your pet dogs, cat or ferret to a non-EU country?
The requirements for pet travel to a non-EU country are more complex and more rigorous than EU travel. Export requirements are different for each country. Always check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for restrictions or requirements before you travel.
Please call or email us and we will be able to advise you on the steps that you need to take and get you appointments booked in to ensure your travel plans aren’t interrupted.
For the most up-to-date information on pet travel please visit:
If you need further information about pet travel you can contact the Government’s Pet travel helpline on firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 0370 241 1710.