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Pet passports after Brexit

If you’re considering taking your dog on holiday with you to the EU, there are new rules in place that you need to be aware of. 

The old pet passport system allowed pet owners to travel into EU countries without their pet needing to quarantine. 

The new system for travelling from Great Britain to the EU has changed. Read on for everything you need to know about taking your dog abroad.

Travelling from Great Britain to an EU country or Northern Ireland

If you’re travelling from Great Britain (England, Scotland, or Wales) to an EU country or Northern Ireland, you can no longer use a pet passport that has been issued in Great Britain, even if it’s still in date.

From the 1st of January 2021, you’ll need to obtain an animal health certificate (AHC) from an official vet. 

  • Your pet will need a new AHC for each trip to the EU or Northern Ireland, (they will not need additional rabies vaccinations as long as they are up to date)
  • The AHC is valid for entry to the EU or Northern Ireland within 10 days of the date it was issued
  • It’s valid for up to four months for onward travel within the EU
  • It’s valid for up to four months for re-entry into Great Britain

Travelling from an EU country or Northern Ireland to the Great Britain

If you’re travelling from an EU country or Northern Ireland to Great Britain, you can still use a pet passport issued in the EU that was issued before the 1st January 2021, as long as it’s in date.

Alternatively, you’ll need a GB pet health certificate issued by an official vet in the country you are travelling from. It has similar requirements and validity as the AHC – speak to your vet for more information.

Don’t forget – if you’re re-entering the UK, you can do so using an AHC issued in the UK, as long as it’s within four months of the date the certificate was issued.

Animal health certificates (AHC)

To get an animal health certificate you’ll need to visit your vet within 10 days of the date you will be travelling. 

In order for your vet to issue the certificate your pet will need:

  • A microchip with up-to-date details
  • A valid rabies vaccination
  • Tapeworm treatment (if you’re travelling to Northern Ireland, Ireland, Finland, Norway, or Malta) 
  • Other blood tests and treatments required by certain EU member states that you may want to travel to

Don’t forget that your dog will need to be at least 12 weeks old to receive their first rabies vaccination and 21 days need to pass before they can be issued with an AHC, so you won’t be able to travel with them until they are at least 15 weeks old. Additionally, you’ll need to get your dog microchipped before, or at the same time as, their rabies vaccination – otherwise they’ll need to be vaccinated again.


Can I use an in-date pet passport to travel to the EU or Northern Ireland from Great Britain?

If your pet passport was issued in Great Britain (England, Scotland, or Wales) it’s no longer valid, even if it’s in date. 

If your pet passport was issued in the EU or Northern Ireland it’s still in-date so it can still be used for travel.

Do I need an AHC or a pet passport to travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?

If you want to transport your pet between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland you will need a pet passport issued by an official vet in either Northern Ireland or Ireland. Pets travelling from Northern Ireland can continue to travel to any EU country as long as they have a valid pet passport and up-to-date vaccinations. 

How many pets can I travel with?

You can travel to the EU or Northern Ireland with up to five pets. 

Travelling with more than five pets is only permitted if you are attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event. You’ll need to be able to show written evidence of registration for the event when you travel. Your pets must all be over six months old at the time of travelling, be attending the event or training and meet all the other requirements needed, such as having a valid AHC.

There are different rules for pets being transported for commercial purposes.

How much does an AHC cost?

The cost of your AHC will depend on your vets, however you should expect to pay between £90 – £120. This cost should include:

  • Consultation with your vet
  • Reviewing and finalising your documents
  • Issuing documents in the language of the country you intend to enter

However, additional costs could be necessary, such as:

  • Microchipping
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Blood tests
  • Tapeworm treatment
  • Other treatments

You should contact your vet for a full list of costs based on your requirements.

When should I plan to get my AHC?

As soon as you have planned to travel, you should get in touch with your vets. This is because your dog may need blood tests which could take up to three months to process. 

They can inform you of the treatments your dog requires and book an appointment for within 10 days of your departure date so they can issue the certificate itself.

Who can issue an AHC?

An AHC can be issued by an official vet. A list of approved vets can be found on the UK government website.

Is there a minimum age for puppies travelling to the EU?

Puppies must be at least 12 weeks old to receive their first rabies vaccinations, and need to wait at least three weeks after their first rabies vaccination in order to be issued with an AHC. This means that puppies must be at least 15 weeks old before they are able to travel.

Making the decision about whether or not you should take your dog on holiday requires plenty of thought. Whilst it’s natural to want your pup to accompany you on adventures, the fact is that it can be stressful for many dogs.

Before you decide to bring your dog along for the fun, read our guide to travelling with your pet and make sure you consider:

  • The additional cost involved
  • The stress of travelling long distances 
  • The additional stops during travel you’ll need to factor in so that they can exercise and go to the loo

In many cases, your dog will be happier if left with trusted friends or family or a professional dog sitter. Best of all, because their PitPat stores 7 days’ worth of data, you can leave it on their collar, so you can check they’ve had plenty of exercise whilst you’ve been away. If you’re leaving your pup with family, why not share your dog’s profile with them so they can sync their PitPat whilst you’re away?

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