Travelling with your pet? Confused about whether you’ll need a pet passport post-Brexit? Let us give you the lowdown on what you need to know about travelling with your cat or dog.
At the time of publishing, these rules were correct, but always check on the gov.uk website before you travel. You’ll find the latest advice relating to pet travel and you can double-check the rules of the country you’re travelling to, including any additional restrictions or requirements.
As of 1st January 2021, EU-issued pet passports in Great Britain are no longer valid. If your pet was issued a passport from Northern Ireland or the EU then these are still accepted.
Dogs, including assistance dogs, or cats that were issued GB pet passports will now need to meet the following criteria and be in possession of the below:
- Proof of microchip.
- Animal health certificate, no more than 10 days before travel to the EU.
- Proof of rabies vaccination. You must wait 21 days after the rabies vaccination before your pet can travel.
- Dogs only: proof of tapeworm treatment if travelling directly to Finland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta.
Animal health certificates
You’ll need to obtain your pet’s health certificate no more than ten days before you’re planning to travel. This should be issued by an Official Veterinarian (OV) – a vet that’s authorised to issue health certificates. When you do this you’ll need to bring along proof of your pet’s microchip, including the date it was given, and a record of all of your pet’s vaccinations.
This certificate will be valid for:
- Ten days for entry into the EU/Northern Ireland.
- Four months for travelling within the EU from your original destination and returning to Great Britain.
It’s important to note that your pet will need a new health certificate for each trip.
Cost of an animal health certificate
Prices can vary, but you’ll be looking to pay between £110-£150 for the final documents, and this will not include any additional services, like microchipping and vaccinations. The cost will also vary depending on your pet and their specific requirements. If you would like a definitive number, we would advise to consult with your vet.
Your pet’s vaccinations need to be up-to-date before travel, and it’s worth remembering that you pet will need to be at least 12 weeks old to be vaccinated against rabies. If your pet doesn’t have a microchip, this will need to be administered before the rabies vaccination. If they’re not microchipped at the time of the rabies vaccination then you will need to repeat the vaccination process from the beginning.
Travelling to non-EU countries
The rules differ slightly for travelling beyond the EU, for this you will need an Export Heath Certificate (EHC) and you will need to complete an Export Application Form (EXA). Your EHC will prove that your pet meets the necessary conditions to enter countries abroad. To get an EHC you will need to nominate an OV who will perform the checks and confirm your pet meets the country’s requirements. These EHCs and EXAs vary for each country, but each one will explain the process relevant to the destination you’re headed to. If you’re considering travelling with your pet to a non-EU country, it’s best to first check that country's specific requirements and discussing your plans with your vet well in advance.
Flying with pets
As well as an AHC, most airlines will require a letter from your vet, confirming your pet has been examined, doesn’t have a contagious disease and is fit to fly. The time that these certificates are valid differs between airlines, so it's best to check with the airline in advance and book an Fit to Fly consultation with your vet.