Defra (the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) publishes advice from the UK government about pet travel between the UK and EU countries post Brexit. Key points from Defra’s advice are summarised here. For the latest guidance, please visit the Defra website, whose information takes precedence over the information below.

how it works at the moment

Under the EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), dogs, cats and ferrets with valid EU pet passports issued in the UK and other EU countries can travel with their owners between EU countries, including the UK. At least 21 days before the pet’s first trip, a vet must ensure the pet has a microchip, give it a rabies vaccination, and issue a pet passport.

during the transition period (to end 2020)

Nothing will change until the end of the transition period. Throughout the transition period, you can continue to travel with your pet between the UK and the EU under the current PETS rules, using your pet’s current pet passport issued in the UK or another EU country.

The latest advice we’ve received from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), an executive agency sponsored by Defra and others, is as follows:

“Our current position is that we will continue as we currently operate until the end of the transition period. Export conditions and paperwork requirements are expected to stay the same until either the end of the transition period or a deal is agreed.”

If you don’t have a valid passport for your pet, you’ll need to get one from your vet before you travel, as described above. There is currently no need for a blood test and analysis following the rabies vaccination.

More information:

If you travel regularly between the UK and another EU country with your pet using a UK-issued pet passport, you many want to consider organising a new passport in the other EU country.

pet travel from the UK to the EU after Brexit

If your pet has a UK-issued pet passport, you’ll need to take action as described below.

To make sure your pet can travel from the UK to the EU after the Brexit transition period, contact your vet at least four months before your travel date to get the latest advice.

Assuming the UK leaves the EU with a deal, it will become what’s known under PETS as a third country with a Part 1 or Part 2 listing. You’ll need to obtain documents from an official vet that replace your pet’s UK-issued pet passport — see the next sections.

part 1 listed country

If the UK becomes a Part 1 listed country, it will operate under the same PETS rules as EU member states but with a different type of pet passport — the UK pet passport. You’ll able to use it for repeat travel to the EU as long as you keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date.

part 2 listed country

If the UK becomes a Part 2 listed country, you’ll need to have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel, as with PETS.

In addition, you’ll need to visit an official vet no more than 10 days before the date of travel to get an animal health certificate (AHC) confirming your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

Your pet will need a new AHC for every trip to an EU country. You’ll also need to keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date, and you may have to make sure that dogs have a tapeworm treatment before travel.

More information:

unlisted country (in the event of no-deal Brexit)

In the unlikely event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it will probably be treated as an unlisted country under PETS, and a current UK-issued pet passport won’t be valid for travel to the EU.

You’ll need to allow at least four months between your pet’s rabies vaccination and the date of travel so that there’s time for:

  • Your pet to be microchipped and have a rabies vaccination,
  • A blood test to be taken and analyes
  • A three-month wait to travel after the date of the blood test (assuming a successful result)

More information:

pet travel from the EU to the UK after Brexit

If you live or spend time in the EU and plan to travel with your pet after Brexit using a UK-issued pet passport, you’ll need to speak to your vet to find out about the effect of Brexit and ensure you comply with PETS.

If you have a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you’ll be able to use it to bring your pet to the UK. You’ll also be able to use it to return to the EU, provided your pet has had a successful rabies antibody test.

  • If the blood sample is taken in the UK, you’ll need to wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you travel back to the EU.
  • If you have the blood sample taken and tested in the EU before you travel to the UK, you won’t have to wait out the three months.

More information:

if the UK leaves the customs union at Brexit

If the UK leaves the customs union, there will almost certainly be implications for customs and duty (VAT) on inbound and outbound pets. It’s not yet certain exactly what those implications will be, but below is our understanding based on information currently available.

Members of the Animalcouriers team are training as customs agents so that we are ready to help our clients with customs requirements as soon as it becomes necessary.

outbound (from the UK to the EU)

Outbound pets will probably need to be recorded in the Register for the National Export System (NES). We will ask our clients to provide the required information so that we can make the entry on their behalf as part of our service.

inbound (from the EU to the UK)

Owners may need to pay duty (VAT) on the perceived value of their pets coming into the UK. We believe this will be handled by the Transfer of Residence (ToR) process that already applies to pets coming into the UK from outside the EU. Under ToR, owners must declare their pets and put a notional value on them, which is currently £40 for a cat and £100 for a dog. The duty is calculated at the prevailing VAT rate, currently 20%.