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Pet travel to and from the UK after Brexit

golden retriever sitting in trunk of red car advice
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Pre-Brexit, it was quite easy for UK pet owners to travel to the EU with their four-legged friends. But now, with pet passports no longer valid, things are more complicated.

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the 07/01/2021, 12:00

New year, new laws. From the 1st of January 2021, the United Kingdom has officially left the EU. This implies changes in regards to immigration, trade, education, tourism, and finance - but did you know it will also affect your pets?

Indeed, travelling to the EU with your pet won’t be as easy as it once was with the pet passport. Here’s what you need to know.

What will happen to the pet passport scheme after Brexit?

From the 1st of January 2021, EU pet passports issued in Great Britain will no longer be valid for travel from the UK to the EU. 

This was confirmed by the European Commission who announced that the UK is now considered a Part 2 listed third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. According to this, travelling with your pet to the EU will still be possible, but the procedure to do so will be different.

What do I need to do if I want to travel to the EU or Northern Ireland with my pet in 2021?

Instead of a pet passport, you will need to obtain an Animal Health Certificate from your vet. For your vet to issue this document, your pet must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies (as was required with the pet passport as well).

The main difference between the AHC and the pet passport is that you will need to obtain a new certificate every time you travel. This means you will have to visit your vet within 10 days of the date you travel, every time you take a new trip to the EU with your pet. The certificate will remain valid for a single entry to the EU, onward travel of 4 months maximum, and your return to the UK.

The same is true for travel to Northern Ireland. In addition, when travelling to Northern Ireland, you will need to treat your dog for tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) within 5 days of your trip.

These rules apply for pet dogs, cats, ferrets, and assistance dogs as well.

Just got a puppy? Learn about all the vaccinations they'll need.

Can I still travel to the UK from the EU with an EU pet passport after Brexit?

If you’re living in the EU and taking a trip to the UK with your pet, Brexit may or may not affect your travel, depending on what type of pet passport you have.

If your pet passport was issued by an EU member state, then good news - nothing has changed for you! Your EU issued pet passport will still be valid for travel to the UK. 

If your pet passport was UK issued, however, the government advises that you go visit your vet to ensure you are compliant with the new rules and regulations.

Can I still take the Eurotunnel with my pets after Brexit?

The Eurotunnel may be the best way to travel to Europe with your pet as it allows your dog, cat, or ferret to stay with you during the duration of your trip. This will continue to be possible post-Brexit, as long as you comply to the new rules.

Additionally, Le Shuttle has confirmed that pet paperwork checks will now be mandatory, so expect to be stopped at the border for a little longer than you would have before Brexit.

So to recap: ensure your pet is vaccinated against rabies and microchipped, as well as treated for tapeworm if you’re going to Ireland. Then visit your vet within 10 days of your trip and ask for an Animal Health Certificate. And you’re good to go!