Some changes to the EU pet travel scheme come into effect on 29 December 2014. The changes aim to strengthen enforcement across the EU and improve the security and traceability of pet passports.


We’ve outlined the main changes below and given links to more information.

New-style pet passports

A new-style pet passport is being introduced — but if you already have a passport for your pet, you don’t have to get a new one. Existing passports will remain valid for the lifetime of your pet or until all the treatment spaces are filled.

The new passport has laminated strips covering the pages containing your pet’s details, microchip information and rabies vaccination entries, to help prevent anyone tampering with this information once it’s been entered by the vet. There’s also a page for the vet who issued the passport to enter their contact details, to make it easier to contact them if anything goes wrong.

Rabies vaccinations

New minimum age: from 29 December your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated against rabies. This will help prevent very young pets being moved across the EU.

‘Valid from’ date: you must wait 21 days from the date of your pet’s primary rabies vaccination before it can travel (the day of vaccination counts as day 0, not day 1). In a new-style pet passport the vet will enter the ‘valid from’ date in the primary vaccination entry.

More than five pets

If you’re travelling within the EU and have more than five pets you’ll need to comply with some additional rules (known as the Balai Directive):

  • Travel from a registered premises — this can be your home, with evidence (eg vet records) that it’s where you and your pets have been living
  • Use an authorised animal transporter — a Defra Type 2 authorised haulier with Freight Transport Association (FTA) approval, such as Animalcouriers
  • Register the movement on the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES)

Exception: you won’t need to comply with these additional rules if the pets are registered for a show, competition or sporting event, and are more than six months old.

Clearer definition of cat, dog and ferret

The only species of pet animal that can travel under the EU pet travel scheme are:

  • Canis lupis familiaris — domestic dog
  • Felis silvestris catus — domestic cat
  • Mustela putorius furo — ferret

This change is designed to prevent wild animals being moved under rules designed for pet travel, and may affect hybrid animals, such as Bengal and Savannah cats and Wolfdogs. Owners of hybrid animals should get advice from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) (part of Defra) or local in-country equivalent before travel.

More information

For more information, see: