Pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021

How to prepare for travel with your pet to any EU country and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

Published 14 October 2020
Last updated 16 December 2020 — see all updates

From:

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year. This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

For current information, read:

You can also read about the transition period.

Applies to: Wales, England, and Scotland

Contents

  1. Travelling to the EU or NI with your pet
  2. Travelling to NI with your pet
  3. Returning to Great Britain
  4. UK nationals living in the EU
  5. Finding an official vet
  6. Travelling with more than 5 pets
  7. Commercial pet movements
  8. Pet travel helpline

This guidance applies to people travelling to the EU and Northern Ireland (NI) with their pet cats, ferrets or dogs, including assistance dogs.

Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, will become a Part 2 listed third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme from 1 January 2021.

Travelling to the EU or NI with your pet

A current EU pet passport issued in GB will not be valid for travel to the EU or NI from 1 January 2021.

Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel to the EU or NI for the first time after 1 January 2021, you’ll need to take the following steps. These steps are similar to the current process for taking your pet to the EU, but you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) instead of a pet passport.

  1. You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped.
  2. Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated.
  3. Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel.
  4. Visit your vet to get an AHC for your pet, no more than 10 days before travel to the EU.

Find out more about rabies vaccination boosters and blood tests.

As long as you keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date, you will not need to get repeat vaccinations for repeat trips to the EU or NI.

Getting an animal health certificate (AHC)

You must also take your pet to your vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an AHC. The AHC needs to be signed by an official vet. Check with your vet that they can issue AHCs for pets.

You must take proof of:

  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • your pet’s vaccination history

Your pet’s AHC will be valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU or NI
  • onward travel within the EU or NI for 4 months after the date of issue
  • re-entry to GB for 4 months after the date of issue

Travelling to Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta

If you’re travelling with your dog directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta, it must have treatment against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis). Your dog will need to receive treatment 1 to 5 days before arriving in any of these countries. Your vet must enter full details on the AHC following treatment.

Arriving in the EU or NI

On arrival in the EU or NI, pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated travellers’ point of entry (TPE).

At the TPE, you may need to present your pet’s original AHC along with proof of:

  • your pet’s microchip
  • rabies vaccination
  • tapeworm treatment (if required)

Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel. Read the travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance before travelling overseas.

Repeat trips to the EU or NI

Your pet will need a new AHC for each trip to the EU or NI.

To get a new AHC, you must take your pet to an official vet no more than 10 days before you travel. You must show proof of your pet’s:

  • microchipping date
  • rabies vaccination history

If your pet has an up-to-date subsequent rabies vaccination history, it will not need a repeat rabies vaccination before travelling again.

You’ll need tapeworm treatment if you’re travelling to Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta.

Travelling to NI with your pet

The UK government recognises that pet owners and assistance dog users will need time to adjust to these changes. It’s working with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on an enforcement approach that takes these challenges into account. For further information read the pet travel guidance from DAERA.

This approach will be implemented in a way that supports pet owners and assistance dog users while the government seeks a permanent solution.

Returning to Great Britain

There will be no change to the current health preparations for pets entering GB from 1 January 2021.

Your pet must have one of the following documents when returning to GB from the EU:

  • an EU pet passport (issued in the EU, or in GB before 1 January 2021), or a pet passport from a Part 1 listed third country
  • the AHC issued in GB used to travel to the EU – which you can use up to 4 months after it was issued
  • a UK pet health certificate (for travel into GB only)

Your pet will not need this documentation if it’s entering GB from:

  • NI
  • the Channel Islands
  • the Isle of Man
  • the Republic of Ireland

Check the routes before you travel. You must travel using approved routes. Your pet’s documents and microchip will be checked when entering GB.

Owners of assistance dogs returning from the EU do not have to travel on approved routes. You must notify the point of entry in advance that you’re travelling with an assistance dog to ensure the appropriate checks are done.

You do not have to travel on an approved route if you travel to GB from:

  • other UK countries
  • the Channel Islands
  • the Isle of Man
  • the Republic of Ireland

Talk to your vet about what preparations you need to make before you travel from these places.

Travel from countries not free from tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis)

You’ll need to take your dog to a vet for an approved tapeworm treatment. You must do this no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before entering GB. This requirement will not change after 1 January 2021.

The treatment must:

  • be approved for use in the country where the treatment is applied
  • contain praziquantel or an equivalent proven to be effective against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis)

You do not need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re travelling directly to the UK from Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta.

UK nationals living in the EU

If you’re living in the EU and plan to travel with your pet using a UK-issued pet passport, you should speak to your vet. They’ll help to ensure you’re compliant with EU Pet Travel Regulations.

If you have a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you can use it to bring your pet to GB.

Finding an official vet

Speak to your vet to find your nearest official vet. Many veterinary practices will have one in their team.

You can also read guidance on how to find an official vet.

Travelling with more than 5 pets

You cannot take more than 5 pets to an EU country or NI unless you’re attending or training for a:

  • competition
  • show
  • sporting event

You’ll need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel.

All your pets must:

  • be attending the event or training
  • be over 6 months old
  • meet the pet travel rules

Commercial pet movements

Read the Border Operating Model (BOM) guide if you:

  • need information on how to import or export pets for commercial purposes
  • want to travel with more than 5 pets

Pet travel helpline

Contact the pet travel helpline if you need more help:

Email: pettravel@apha.gov.uk
Telephone: 0370 241 1710 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm (closed on bank holidays)

Published 14 October 2020
Last updated 16 December 2020