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Pet Travel in 2021

Planning to take your dog, cat or ferret to Europe in the New Year?

Now that the UK has been granted Part 2 listed status, a new process for getting your dog, cat or ferret ready for travel to the EU and Northern Ireland will come into effect as of 1st January 2021.


So, what has been decided?

From 1st January 2021, the Brexit transition period will come to an end and Great Britain (GB) will become a Third Country with respect to the EU Pet Travel Scheme. On the 3rd December 2020, the EU voted in favour of granting GB and the Crown Dependencies Part 2 listed status for non-commercial pet travel.

Instead of the current pet passport, your pet will need a new document known as an Animal Health Certificate. This applies to all pets travelling from Great Britain to the EU or Northern Ireland, on or after 1st January 2021. From this date onwards, existing pet passports will no longer be valid if you’re travelling to the EU or Northern Ireland from England, Scotland or Wales.


As of January 2021, what do I need to do to get my dog, cat or ferret ready for travel to the EU?

You’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. Ensure your pet is microchipped
  2. Ensure your pet is vaccinated against Rabies*
  3. Ensure a minimum of 21 days elapses between the date of the Rabies vaccination and the completion of the Animal Health Certificate
  4. Get an Animal Health Certificate signed by an Official Vet within 10 days of travel – the Official Vet will only be able to sign this if you meet the criteria above

*Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old to receive a Rabies vaccination.


What is an Official Vet?

An Official Veterinarian is a vet who performs work on behalf of the government. This work includes making sure animals and animal-based goods (meat, products made of leather etc) are fit to be exported outside of the UK.

Contact us to make an appointment with one of our Official Vets.


How long will the Animal Health Certificate be valid for?

The AHC will be valid for:

  • For entering the EU – 10 days
  • For onward travel within the EU – 4 months after the date of issue
  • For re-entry to Great Britain – 4 months after the date of issue


What will happen when I arrive in the EU?

Once you arrive, you’ll need to enter through a designated point of entry. You’ll also be asked to present your Animal Health Certificate, plus proof of microchip, Rabies vaccination and tapeworm treatment (if required).  


What to do if I’m taking repeat trips to the EU?

Your pet will need a new Animal Health Certificate for each trip to the EU.

So long as you can prove they’ve been microchipped and they’re up to date with their Rabies vaccination, you’ll need to visit your Official Vet no more than 10 days before the date you intend to travel.

Contact us to make an appointment with one of our Official Vets.


What will happen when I return to Great Britain from the EU?

There’ll be no significant changes to the existing process of entering Great Britain from the EU. When you do arrive back in GB with your pet, you’ll need to present one of the following documents:

  • An EU pet passport (issued in the EU or UK before 1st January 2021)
  • The Animal Health Certificate issued in Great Britain (the one you were issued for travel to the EU)
  • A UK Pet Health Certificate (for travel into the UK only)


I’m travelling to the EU/NI before 1st January 2021, but returning afterwards. What happens then?

It’s estimated that a number of travellers will find themselves in this position, but don’t worry. If you travel to the EU or Northern Ireland prior to 1/1/2021, the new rules for returning to GB won’t be enforced until 1st February 2021.

Contact us for more info.


What should I do next?

If you have any concerns about travelling with your dog, cat or ferret in 2021, give us a call today. We’ll be happy to talk you through the process of getting your pet(s) ready for travel.