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

How it works at the moment

Under the EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), dogs, cats and ferrets with valid EU pet passports can travel with their owners between EU countries. 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.

Pet travel post Brexit

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

The UK will become a third country when it leaves the EU. Under PETS, there are three categories of third country:

  • unlisted
  • Part 1 listed
  • Part 2 listed

Requirements for pet travel to the EU will change depending on what category the UK becomes on exit day.

Unlisted

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it’s likely to be treated as an unlisted country under PETS.

That means a current EU pet passport issued in the UK won’t be valid for travel to the EU. You’ll need to allow four months between your pet’s rabies vaccination and the date of travel.

More information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit#pet-travel-if-the-uk-is-an-unlisted-country

Animalcouriers at Portsmouth harbour

Part 1 or Part 2 listed

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

  • Part 1 listed. The UK will operate under the same PETS rules as EU member states but with a different type of pet passport — the UK pet passport — which you can use for travel to the EU as long as you keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date.
  • Part 2 listed. You’ll need to have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. You’ll also need to visit an official vet no more than 10 days before the date of travel to get an animal health certificate confirming your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. Your pet will need a new animal health certificate for every trip to an EU country. You’ll also need to keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date. You may also need to make sure that dogs have a tapeworm treatment.

More information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit#if-the-uk-becomes-a-listed-third-country

If a deal is agreed and an implementation period is confirmed, you’ll be able to travel with your pet to the EU under the current PETS rules, using your pet’s current EU pet passport. If you don’t have a passport for your pet, you’ll need to get one from your vet before you travel.

More information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit#pet-travel-during-an-implementation-period

UK nationals living in the EU

If you’re a UK national living in the EU and plan to travel with your pet after Brexit using a UK-issued pet passport, 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.

More information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit#uk-nationals-living-in-the-eu

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 that’s currently available.

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%.