Defra (the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) publishes advice from the UK government about pet travel for dogs, cats and ferrets 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.

pet travel from GB to the EU and Northern Ireland after Brexit (from 1 January 2021)

Under the EU PETS (pet passport) scheme, Great Britain (GB) — England, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man — is a Part 2 listed third country.

This means that a current EU pet passport issued in GB is not valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland (NI). However, the health information and vaccination history recorded in your pet’s passport remains valid.

Instead, your pet (dog, cat or ferret) needs:

  • an animal health certificate (AHC), if it’s travelling within five days of your own journey
  • an export health certificate (EHC), if it’s travelling more than five days before or after your own journey, or is relocating to a new owner

You’ll need to take these steps.

  1. Have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped, if not already done.
  2. Have your dog, cat or ferret vaccinated against rabies — your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated.
  3. Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel.
  4. Visit your vet to get an AHC or EHC for your pet, no more than 10 days before travel to the NI or the EU.

getting an animal health certificate (AHC)

Take your pet to your vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an AHC. The certificate must be signed by an official vet. Check with your vet that they’re authorised to issue AHCs for pets.

Take proof of:

  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • your pet’s vaccination history

The AHC will be valid for:

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

Your pet will need a new AHC for each trip to the EU or NI.

getting an export health certificate (EHC)

If your pet is travelling more than five days before or after you (or relocating to a new owner), it will need an EHC instead of an AHC. The process for getting an EHC is much the same as for getting an AHC (described above).

pet travel from the EU to GB

There are no changes to the current health preparations for pets entering GB from 1 January 2021.

Your pet must have one of the following documents when entering GB from the EU:

  • a pet passport issued in an EU country
  • a pet passport issued in a Part 1 listed third country
  • a pet passport issued in GB before 1 January 2021, provided that your pet’s journey is direct from one EU country to GB (if your pet will travel through more than one EU country, a GB-issued pet passport won’t be valid)
  • the AHC issued in GB used for your pet to travel to the EU — which you can use up to 4 months after the issue date
  • an export health certificate (EHC) for GB (for travel into GB only) issued by an official vet in the departure country; or a TRACES-generated ITAHC if travelling up to 30 September 2021 — see our blog for more information

Your pet won’t need any of the above if it’s entering GB from NI, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Read some guidance about VAT when you bring or import pets into GB.

FAQs on post-Brexit travel

Naturally our clients have lots of questions around pet travel between GB and NI and EU. We’re maintaining a post-Brexit pet travel FAQ page to help with some of the more typical queries.