Current EU-issued pet passports are no longer valid for travel and the following information is no longer correct for those wishing to travel to the EU or NI for the first time after 1st January 2021.
New rules for pet travel to the EU have now been imposed and instead of obtaining a pet passport, you will need to get an animal health certificate (AHC).
Please see our pet travel to Europe page for the up to date and relevant information.
Often referred to or shown as PETS, the Pet Travel Scheme is a system which means your pet can move between member countries without having to spend time in quarantine. Documentation is provided in the form of a pet passport which contains a description and identification of your pet.
Sadly, the pet travel scheme does not cover all species of pet. Currently, the legislation only applies to dogs, cats and ferrets as they are the most commonly transported animals. Other pets may still be able to travel abroad but will have to be quarantined for a period of time.
Pet passports can be issued within 24 hours Monday to Friday. However, after your pet has received their rabies vaccination, you must wait 21 days to travel. Most people allow ample time to get their pets a passport, but it can be obtained in around 3 weeks to a month if needed.
Your vet will be the best person to help take you through the process of getting your pet a passport. They will be able to schedule your appointments appropriately and answer any queries you have along the way.
Most applicants end up spending around £150 to £250 on the process of getting a pet passport. For dog, cat and ferret owners, this is usually much less than alternative holiday care and is a one-off fee, as opposed to a cost every trip abroad.
Your pet will need to be at least 12 weeks old. Usually, the 21 day wait between rabies vaccination and travel means the youngest pets to travel abroad are 15 weeks old.
Your dog, cat or ferret must be fitted with a microchip before their rabies vaccination. In the UK it is now law to have your dog microchipped, but it is best to have your other pets receive this treatment too in case they become lost or need identifying for another reason.
The microchip number of the animal must match the microchip number present on the pet passport.
Yes, all pets travelling abroad must be vaccinated against rabies. The vaccine name and manufacturer, date and expiry will need to be recorded in the pet passport. A minimum of 21 days is required between the vaccination and day of travel.
A blood test is no longer required for pets travelling between EU countries. Only pets entering the UK from unlisted non-EU countries will be required to undergo a blood test.
Cats and ferrets don not need tapeworm treatment, but any dogs will. Treatment must be given up to 5 days before travelling, and no later than 24 hours before travelling. The tapeworm treatment, date and time must be recorded in the pet passport for your dog.
No, you will only need your pet passport. Everything will be recorded in your pet passport and no other paperwork will be needed.
However, if your pet is flying, you will need to visit your vet for a ‘fit to fly’ letter (sometimes known as a General Health Certificate) no more than 10 days prior to travel. It must be dated and on the veterinary surgery’s headed paper.
For non-EU countries, you will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate.
To make sure you are in the best position to travel abroad with your dog, cat or ferret, we have outlined the key actions to take when obtaining your pet passport.
If you falter on the necessities outlined above your pet will either be denied travel or will have to enter quarantine. This can be costly and stressful so it is best to ensure your pet has received all the required veterinary treatment and this is recorded in their pet passport.
DEFRA and the Animal and Plant Health Agency have been delivering their best advice considering Brexit has not been confirmed. If you have travels with your pet planned, you should get in touch with your vet. If you have a pet passport already your pet may need a rabies blood test as a precautionary action to protect your pet if Brexit occurs pre-travel or whilst you’re overseas. If not, you will need to apply for your pet passport around four months prior to your departure.
If the UK fails to leave the EU following a negotiated deal, the country will be classed as unlisted. This means current pet passports will not allow travel around EU countries. Whilst you will still be able to visit Europe you will need to meet the same criteria for pets visiting countries outside of the EU, this includes:
Once the above has can enter a foreign country, including anywhere in Europe, up to 10 days after the health certificate has been issued. Once you have finished your travels you will be given access back into the UK if you return within 4 months.
Given the likelihood that things with change for the UK in the coming months the majority of vets are advising pet passport applicants and holders to go through the process as if the UK was going to face a no-deal Brexit. This means you are prepared for the worst-case scenario and any plans you have cannot be ruined because you are 100% covered for your holiday.
If and when Article 50 is triggered there will be two possible outcomes for the UK. We will either become a Part 1 Listed country or a Part 2 Listed country.
If the UK becomes a Part 1 country then the following rules will apply if you want to travel with your pet in the EU:
If the UK becomes a Part 2 country then the following rules will apply if you want to travel with your pet in the EU:
If you follow the advice of your vet by preparing for the worst-case scenario in terms of pet travel, a no-deal Brexit, you will be completely fine to continue your travels as normal. Your pet will be medically covered on their passport as if they were travelling from an unlisted country. A no-deal Brexit would mean the UK becomes unlisted, meaning your pet will be able to continue their jaunt without any issues whatsoever. By preparing your pet following the guidance of your vet you will be protected from any political eventuality and you can roam freely and re-enter the UK as normal.