As I am sure you’re aware, Brexit has changed travelling to the EU and not just for us but for our pets too! Here is some information I have found about what is required for taking your dog into the EU now.
Are Pet Passports Still Valid?
Pet passports issued in the UK including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are now invalid for any travel to any EU country or Northern Ireland. Even so, don’t throw away those passports just yet as for some of us they are the only proof of vaccinations so could be worth holding onto.
Pet Passports issued in an EU county or Northern Ireland are still valid for travel to another EU country. The passport must have been issued in one of the following places:
- an EU country
- Faroe Islands
- Northern Ireland
- San Marino
- Vatican City State
What you now need to travel to an EU Country or Northern Ireland from the UK
When travelling to and from the UK to the EU or Northern Ireland with your pet they will need:
- A microchip
- A valid rabies vaccination – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old and you must wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before you travel.
- An animal health certificate, or a valid pet passport that’s accepted in the country you’re travelling to, this certificate needs to be issued within 10 days of the date you are set to travel.
- Tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
Let’s look at each of those in a bit more detail.
Your pet needs to be microchipped to be able to travel. This also needs to be done before, or at the same time as, their rabies vaccination. If they are microchipped afterwards, they’ll need to be vaccinated again.
Microchipping for pet travel can only be done by:
- a vet
- a vet nurse, student vet or student vet nurse (directed by a vet)
- someone trained in microchipping before 29 December 2014, and with practical experience
Make sure the microchip number is put in your animal health certificate. The date must be before your pet’s vaccinations.
You must get your dog, cat or ferret vaccinated against rabies before they can travel.
Once your pet is 12 weeks old or older they can have the rabies vaccination. You will then need to wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before you can travel.
Your pet must be microchipped before, or at the same time as, their rabies vaccination. If they are microchipped afterwards, they’ll need to be vaccinated again.
If you are travelling with your pet regularly, you must ensure your pet gets regular boosters, especially rabies boosters to keep the vaccination up to date to be able to travel.
The details of the vaccine need to be put on the animal health certificate.
You will need to get your dog treated for tapeworm if you are travelling directly to:
- Republic of Ireland
- Northern Ireland
The treatment must be administered by a vet and added to your pets animal health certificate.
The treatment must have been given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you arrive.
The treatment must:
- be approved for use in the country it’s being given in
- contain praziquantel or an equivalent proven to be effective against the Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm
Animal Health Certificate
An Animal Health Certificate is the replacement 12-page document for the previously used pet passport. It is a one-time use document that allows your pet entry into the EU and Northern Ireland for up to 5 pets. It allows onwards travel within the EU for up to 4 months and return to the UK. It is only for dogs, cats and ferrets. You will need a new certificate every time you travel.
How do I Get an Animal Health Certificate?
To obtain an Animal Health Certificate, you must take your pet to your vet. You need to do this no more than 10 days before you travel and your pet must be microchipped, be at least 12 weeks old and have had their rabies vaccine.
Your pet will need to be examined and the certificate signed by an “Official Veterinarian” (OV). You will need to provide proof of your pets’ microchipping date and vaccination history.
Once the health check and certificate is completed it will be valid after the date issued for:
- 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
- 4 months for onward travel within the EU
- 4 months for re-entry to the UK
Your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from the UK.
How long does an animal Health Certificate last?
The certificate is valid for 10 days to enter the EU. Then the animal health certificate is valid for one trip of 4 months of travel within the EU. You will also need to travel back to the UK within that 4 month period before the certificate expires.
Travelling in the EU and beyond for More than 4 Months
What do you do if you plan to travel in the EU and beyond for more than 4 months; say you’re going into Croatia to stop the Schengen clock? We wanted to know as we plan to do just that and to our surprise, we received the below email reply from the Animal and Plant Health Agency ([email protected]) stating that you need to get an EU pet passport.
The response from APHA stated “We advise that if you are travelling in the EU for longer than the 4 months validity period of the AHC, that you contact a vet in the EU and get an EU pet passport issued. This should allow you to travel around the EU and reenter Britain“.
We have not attempted this yet and believe it could be somewhat more difficult than some as we have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (classed as a dangerous dog in some countries) but we will update you when we know more.
Repeat trips to an EU country or Northern Ireland
The animal health certificate only covers your pet for one trip to the EU. You will require a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland you take with your pet.
Your pet will not need a repeat rabies vaccination so long as its rabies vaccinations are up to date.
Your dog will need tapeworm treatment for each trip if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway.
Arriving in an EU country or Northern Ireland
On arrival in the EU, you will need to enter through a travellers’ point of entry. Before you can proceed with your travels you will need to show your pets animal health certificate, their microchip will probably need to be scanned and you may be asked to show proof of:
- Rabies vaccination
- Tapeworm treatment (if required)
Reading the microchip
Your pet’s microchip will probably be scanned to ensure it matches the animal health certificate. Airlines, train and ferry companies in the EU can read microchips that meet International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards ISO 11784 and ISO 11785.
You may have to bring your own microchip reader when you travel if your pet’s microchip does not meet ISO standards. You should check with your travel company before you leave.
Returning to the UK from the EU or Northern Ireland
When you return to the UK, you will be required to show proof that your pet:
- has been microchipped (will probably need to be scanned)
- has a valid health certificate (issued within the last 4 months)
- has been vaccinated against rabies
- has had a tapeworm treatment
Your pet may be put into quarantine for up to 4 months if you do not follow these rules – or refused entry if you travelled by sea. You’re responsible for any fees or charges.
Tapeworm for return to the UK from EU or Northern Ireland
Dogs must also have a tapeworm treatment before returning to the UK. This must be done by a registered vet and recorded on the health certificate. The treatment must be given no more than 5 days (120 hours) and no less than 24 hours before you enter the UK.
Research additional requirements
You should research the laws around pets for the country you are travelling to as well as check if there are any parasites or diseases to be aware of or need to protect your pet against.
Make sure you ask your vet about any health risks and advice about protection against ticks, mosquitos and sandflies, which can spread diseases. There may also be other hazards, such as blisters to the feet from hot surfaces or poisonous snakes that you and your pet are not familiar with.
The laws on dog ownership in different countries vary, for instance, in some countries as well as aboard some ferries, dog owners can be asked to muzzle their pet in public and you should ensure your dog is not on the dangerous dog list and if it is what you need to do.
As we have a “Dangerous Dog” we carry all our papers with us in one wallet everywhere we go just in case we are stopped. Our pedigree papers, pet insurance document, UK passport with all our dog’s previous vaccines and will carry the new health certificate all in one wallet.
We have not yet travelled outside the UK since Brexit thanks to the pandemic. However, the above information is the research we have completed in preparation for our trips and is up to date at the time of writing.