Changes to the pet travel scheme have been introduced today.
Read our guidance: pet travel: changes to the EU scheme
The pet travel scheme allows people to take their dog, cat or ferret in and out of the UK without quarantine, as long as they meet the rules of the scheme.
The changes are in line with new European regulations and are designed to improve the security of the scheme and traceability of the pet passport, whilst also clamping down on abuse of the system.
The changes include:
a new minimum age of 12 weeks before a pet can be vaccinated against rabies
new pet passports will include laminated strips and a requirement for more contact details to be provided by the vet issuing the document and certifying the veterinary treatments
a new requirement for all member states in the EU to carry out checks on their borders (the UK already checks all pets coming into the country through approved routes)
a tighter definition of non-commercial movement which will mean owners who cannot travel with a pet when they enter the EU, must do so within 5 days; owners can still authorise another person to travel with their pet, but again the pet and authorised person must travel within 5 days of each other
All pets are still required to have a microchip which confirms the animal’s identity.
Existing passports will remain valid for the lifetime of the pet or until all treatment spaces have been filled on the document.
All pet passports issued by vets from 29 December 2014 will be in the new format.