Naturally our clients have lots of questions around pet travel between Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI) and the EU. We’re answering some of the more typical queries here.

I’m travelling to GB from my EU home country with a valid EU-issued pet passport for my pet. Do I need to get an animal health certificate (AHC) from a GB vet to take my pet back to my EU home?

An EU-issued pet passport that meets requirements is a valid travel document. A pet with a valid EU pet passport can travel from GB to its EU home country provided that the rabies vaccination doesn’t expire while the pet is visiting the UK.

If, however, the rabies vaccination expires while the pet is visiting GB, you must get an AHC for the pet to return to its EU home.

We’re relocating from the UK to live in Italy. What paperwork do we need to organise for our cat’s journey?

Your cat will need an animal health certificate (AHC) showing a record of a microchip followed by a rabies vaccination, which must be 21 days old at the time of the journey. Travel must take place within 10 days of the AHC being issued. Once resident in Italy your cat will be eligible for an EU-issued pet passport.

We’re going on a three-week holiday with our dog from London to France. What does my dog need to travel?

You dog will need an animal health certificate (AHC) showing a record of a microchip followed by a rabies injection, which must be 21 days old at the time of the journey. Your journey to France must take place within 10 days of the AHC being issued. The AHC is valid for 4 months, so you can use it for your return to the UK after your holiday. Your dog must have an internal parasite treatment carried out by a vet 24–120 hours before entering GB. The vet must record this on the AHC.

We have homes in GB and Spain. What do my dog and cat need to be able to travel between our two homes?

Your dog and cat will each need the following before you set off from GB: an animal health certificate (AHC) showing a record of a microchip followed by a rabies injection, which must be 21 days old at the time of the journey. Your journey to Spain must take place within 10 days of the AHCs being issued. The AHCs are valid for 4 months, so you can use them for a return journey to GB within that period.

Once at your Spanish home, your pets will be entitled to EU-issued pet passports. Provided the rabies vaccinations don’t expire, you can use these passports for your pets’ journeys to and from GB. Your dog must additionally have an internal parasite treatment carried out by a vet 24–120 hours before entering GB. The vet must record this on the dog’s AHC or EU pet passport.

We’re travelling to the US from GB via Frankfurt, Germany. What paperwork does my dog need?

To leave GB, your dog will need an export health certificate (EHC). Your journey to Germany must take place within 10 days of the EHC being issued. Your dog will also need compliant entry paperwork for the US.

I’m moving with my pets from GB to Northern Ireland (NI). Will I need animal health certificates (AHCs)?

Yes, you will need an AHC for each dog, cat and ferret. This will mean increased planning for people who’ve previously moved freely with their pets between GB and NI.

I’m repatriating to GB with my pets who have valid UK pet passports issued before 1 January 2021. We’re flying direct from Madrid to London. Can they enter GB on those passports?

Yes they can. But once in GB, those pet passports will no longer be valid travel documents. So if you subsequently plan a trip to NI or an EU country with your pets, you’ll need to replace those passports with animal health certificates (AHCs) not more than 10 days before your trip. Vets can transfer information from a pet passport to an AHC.

Alternatively, you could organise EU pet passports for your pets before you leave Spain, based on the residential address you’re departing from. This would give you more flexibility for future travel.

I’m repatriating to GB with my pets who have valid UK pet passports issued before 1 January 2021. We’re driving from Germany through the Netherlands, Belgium and France, then by ferry to GB. Can they enter GB on those passports?

No, they can’t, as GB-issued pet passports aren’t valid for journeys that cross EU borders. Your pets will need export health certificates (EHCs) for GB issued by an official vet in the departure country; or new EU pet passports issued in Germany, based on the residential address you’re departing from. The latter will give you more flexibility for future travel.