Advice for pet owners planning to take a pet to any EU country after 29 March 2019 in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
The Government is committed to achieving a deal with the EU. But in the event we do not reach an agreement, we have a duty as a responsible government to plan for every eventuality.
To make sure your pet is able to travel from the UK to the EU after 29 March 2019 in any scenario, you should contact your vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.
Rules for pet travel
The rules for taking your pet to any EU country will change if the UK leaves the EU with no deal and is treated as an unlisted country.
You must get your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies before it can travel.
However, to allow effective contingency planning in the worst case scenario of the UK not being granted third country status, you’ll need to take the following steps to make sure your pet can travel after 29 March 2019:
- You must get your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies before it can travel. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. You’ll need to talk to your vet about whether you need a rabies vaccination or booster before this test.
- Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
- The results of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful (Your pet must have a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).
- You must wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you travel.
- You must take your pet to a Official Veterinarian (OV), no more than 10 days before travel to get a health certificate.
If there’s no deal, pet passports issued in the UK would not be valid for travel to the EU.
You should contact your vet at least 4 months before you plan on travelling to any EU country.
A successful blood test is only required for first time travel to an EU country. This is provided that your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date with boosters before the expiry date of the previous vaccination.
Your pet health certificate would be valid for:
- 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
- 4 months of onward travel within the EU
- re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue
On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with their pets would be required to enter through a designated Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE). At the TPE, the pet owner may be asked to present proof of microchip, rabies vaccination and the blood test result alongside their pet’s health certificate.
Repeat trips to the EU
Pets that have previously had a blood test and have an up-to-date rabies vaccination do not need to repeat the blood test. Your pet will need a health certificate for each trip to the EU.
To get a new health certificate you must take your pet to an OV no more than 10 days before you travel. You must take proof of:
- your pet’s vaccination history
- a successful rabies antibody blood test result
Return to the UK
Your pet must have one of the following documents when returning to the UK:
- an existing EU pet passport (both for UK and EU citizens)
- the EU health certificate issued in the UK used to travel to the EU
- a UK pet health certificate (issued outside the UK for travel into the UK only)
Check the routes before you travel. On existing approved routes your documents and microchip will be checked. If you’re not travelling on an approved route talk to your vet about what preparations you need to make before travel.
There will be no change to the current requirements for pets entering the UK from the EU after 29 March.
Travel from countries that are not free from tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis)
You’ll need to take your dog to a vet between one and five days before returning to the UK for an approved tapeworm treatment.
You do not need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re coming directly to the UK from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway.
UK nationals living abroad
If you’re living in Europe and are planning to travel with your pet using a UK-issued pet passport, you should speak to your local vet. They’ll be able to help you understand the impact of Brexit and 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 the UK.
To return your pet to an EU country from the UK, you’ll need to ensure it has a successful rabies antibody blood test.
If your pet has a successful blood test before leaving the EU you will not need to wait the 3 months before travelling.
Guidance on the new rules
We are seeking technical discussions with the European Commission to allow the UK to become a listed third country on the day we leave the EU. We will continue to press the Commission to discuss this option with us. The technical notice explains the impacts of all three different types of third country status in terms of the EU Pet Travel Scheme.
For information on the Pet Travel Scheme in Northern Ireland, readthe Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) pet travel.
Read about the UK government’s preparations for a no deal scenario.