Guidance

Pet travel to Europe after Brexit

How to prepare for travel with your pet to any EU country whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.

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The UK will become a third country when it leaves the EU. Third countries can apply to the European Commission to be listed.

In the EU Pet Travel Scheme, there are 3 categorisations of third country:

  • unlisted
  • Part 1 listed
  • Part 2 listed

Pet travel requirements will change depending on what category the UK becomes on exit day.

The UK is likely to be treated as an unlisted country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

To make sure your pet is able to travel from the UK to the EU after Brexit, you should contact your vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.

Pet travel if there’s a no-deal Brexit

A current EU pet passport issued in the UK will not be valid for travel to the EU.

Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and vaccinated against rabies

  2. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its last rabies vaccination. (whether that’s a booster or initial vaccination) Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.

  3. Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to a to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory

  4. Wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel.

  5. The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC).

You will not be able to travel with your pet if you have not completed these steps.

If the blood test result is not successful you’ll need a repeat vaccination and another blood test taken at least 30 days after the repeat vaccination.

Find out more about rabies vaccination boosters and blood tests.

Get an animal health certificate

You must also take your pet to your vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an animal health certificate (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 vaccination history
  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • a successful rabies antibody blood test result

Your pet’s AHC will be valid for:

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

Travelling to Finland, Republic of Ireland or Malta

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

Arriving in the EU

On arrival in the EU, 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 proof of:

  • your pet’s microchip
  • rabies vaccination
  • successful blood test results
  • tapeworm treatment (if required)
  • your pet’s health certificate

Repeat trips to the EU

Your pet will need a new health certificate for each trip to the EU.

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

  • microchipping date
  • rabies vaccination history
  • successful rabies antibody blood test result

Pets do not need a repeat blood test before travelling again if they have:

  • had a successful blood test
  • an up-to-date subsequent rabies vaccination history

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

Return to the UK

There will be no change to the current health preparations for pets entering Great Britain from the EU after Brexit.

Your pet must have one of the following documents when returning to the UK:

  • an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or in the UK prior to Brexit)
  • the AHC issued in the UK 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 the UK only)

Check the routes before you travel. You must travel using approved routes. Your documents and microchip will be checked when entering England, Scotland or Wales (Great Britain). Different rules apply in Northern Ireland. Owners of assistance animals do not have to travel on approved routes.

You do not have to travel on an approved route if you travel to Great Britain 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 need to take your dog to a vet no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before entering the UK, for an approved tapeworm treatment. This requirement will not change after the UK leaves the EU.

You do not need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re coming directly to the UK from Finland, Republic of Ireland 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 you understand the effect 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.

You can also use it to return to the EU, as long as your pet has had a successful rabies antibody blood test. You must make sure the blood sample is taken at least 30 days after the date of rabies vaccination.

If the blood sample is taken in the UK, you must wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you travel back to the EU. You do not have to wait the 3 months before travelling if your pet has a successful blood test before leaving the EU.

If the UK becomes a listed third country

Third countries can apply to the European Commission to be listed under either Part 1 or Part 2 of EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Part 1 listed countries operate under similar rules as EU member states.

You’ll need to obtain documents from an official vet that will replace the EU pet passport. The type of document you need depends on whether the UK becomes a Part 1 or Part 2 listed country.

Part 1 listed country status

If the UK becomes a Part 1 listed country, you must have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. You’ll need to make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date and make sure your dog has tapeworm treatment if needed.

You must also apply for a new document, the UK pet passport. You can use this for travel to the EU for your pet’s lifetime (or until full) as long as your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.

Part 2 listed country status

If the UK becomes a Part 2 listed country, you must have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. You’ll need to make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date and make sure your dog has tapeworm treatment if needed.

You must also visit an official vet no more than 10 days before you travel to get an AHC confirming that your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

Your pet will need a new AHC for each trip to the EU if the UK becomes a Part 2 listed country. On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with pets need to enter through a designated TPE. At the TPE, you may need to present proof of microchip and rabies vaccination and tapeworm treatment if required.

Pet travel during an implementation period

If a deal is agreed and an implementation period is confirmed, you can travel with your pet to the EU under the current pet travel rules using your current UK issued EU pet passport.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you’ll have to visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Find 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

Pet travel from Northern Ireland

For information on the Pet Travel Scheme in Northern Ireland, read pet travel guidance from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

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 6 November 2018
Last updated 21 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. CTA change
  2. Updated guidance based on user feedback
  3. Added links to stay up to date and clarified rabies vaccinations for part 1 and 2 listed status.
  4. Added a line about Day 1.
  5. EU Exit rewrite to include listed status information.
  6. Removed ref to 12 April from the summary. Sufficient to state in body text of guidance.
  7. First published.