Guidance

Pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021

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

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.

You can also read about the transition period.

This guidance applies to people travelling to the EU with their pet cats, ferrets or dogs, including assistance dogs.

Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) will become a third country from 1 January 2021. The UK government has applied 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 Great Britain becomes on 1 January 2021.

To make sure your pet is able to travel from Great Britain to the EU from 1 January 2021, you should contact your vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.

If the UK does receive Part 1 or 2 listed status, some of these requirements will no longer apply and this guidance will be updated.

If Great Britain becomes an unlisted country

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

Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel to the EU for the first time after 1 January 2021, you’ll need to take the following steps.

  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. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination (from a current series of vaccinations). Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.

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

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

  6. 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.

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

Get 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
  • 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 Great Britain for 4 months after the date of issue

Travelling to Finland, Republic of Ireland, Norway or Malta

If you’re travelling with your dog directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, Norway or Malta, it must have treatment against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) 1 to 5 days before arriving in one of those countries. 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 your pet’s original AHC along with proof of:

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

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. 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 Finland, Republic of Ireland, Norway or Malta.

Pet travel to Northern Ireland

There will be no significant changes to pet movements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They should continue in a very similar way to as they do now. Further guidance will be provided in due course on pet travel to Northern Ireland.

Return to Great Britain

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

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

  • an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or in the UK before 1 January 2021)
  • the AHC issued in Great Britain 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)

Your pet will not need this documentation if it is entering Great Britain from:

  • Northern Ireland
  • the Channel Islands
  • the Isle of Man

Check the routes before you travel. You must travel using approved routes. Your pet’s documents and microchip will be checked when entering Great Britain. Different rules apply in Northern Ireland.

Owners of assistance dogs returning from the EU do not have to travel on approved routes but they must notify the point of entry in advance that they are 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 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 Great Britain, for an approved tapeworm treatment. 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 coming directly to the UK from Finland, Republic of Ireland, 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 Great Britain.

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 its primary rabies vaccination (from a current series of vaccinations).

If the blood sample is taken in Great Britain, 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 in the EU before 1 January 2021 recorded in its pet passport issued by an EU member state.

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 10 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated content on pet travel to Europe.

  2. CTA change

  3. Updated guidance based on user feedback

  4. Added links to stay up to date and clarified rabies vaccinations for part 1 and 2 listed status.

  5. Added a line about Day 1.

  6. EU Exit rewrite to include listed status information.

  7. Removed ref to 12 April from the summary. Sufficient to state in body text of guidance.

  8. First published.