Like it or not, Brexit impacted many aspects of life in the United Kingdom, and pet travel doesn’t escape. Since the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of 2020, pet travel between the UK and Europe has changed.
So, if you’re travelling from the UK to Europe (or even Northern Ireland) or from Europe to the UK with your dog or cat for the first time since Brexit, what do you need to prepare?
Summary of Pet Travel Changes Since Brexit
Prior to Brexit, the United Kingdom was part of the European Union and pets from the UK that travelled abroad required an EU pet passport, in addition to a microchip and a valid rabies vaccination.
However, since the end of the Brexit transition period, Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, Channel Islands, Isle of Man) have become a Part 2 listed third country for the purposes of pet travel to the EU. While pets will not require a rabies titre test to travel to the EU, they will require an animal health certificate and possibly a worming treatment.
However, this only applies to Great Britain. For the purposes of pet travel, Northern Ireland still technically remains in the EU, due to its land border with the Republic of Ireland. This complicates pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, though the new checks are on hold indefinitely for now.
What Has Changed When Travelling to the European Union with a Pet?
When travelling to the European Union with your pet, your dog or cat will still require a microchip and a valid rabies vaccination (at least 21 days before the date of travel, unless a booster shot given prior to the previous vaccine expired).
However, instead of travelling with your old GB-issued EU pet passport, you will now need to visit the vet to get an EU animal health certificate completed. This will need to be done within 10 days before every trip to the EU and doesn’t come cheap.
Alternatively, if you have an EU pet passport issued in another country, including the new-style Northern Ireland pet passport, you can use this instead. Not surprisingly, many GB residents are now attempting to get an EU pet passport abroad for their pets.
The second change is that if you are travelling to a country that requires a tapeworm treatment for dogs (Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland, Norway), this treatment is now required for dogs travelling from Great Britain.
Previously, this was not required if you were travelling directly from the UK, but unfortunately this exemption no longer applies. This will now need to be done by a vet between 24 hours and 5 days of arriving in your destination.
What About Travelling to Northern Ireland with a Pet?
Since the end of the Brexit transition period, while Great Britain is no longer part of the EU for pet travel, Northern Ireland is still counted as being part of the EU.
This means that pets in Northern Ireland can still be issued EU pet passports, they don’t require an animal health certificate to travel into the EU (including across the land border to the Republic of Ireland) and they don’t require a tapeworm treatment to travel to selected EU countries (including the Republic of Ireland).
However, the complicating factor is that pets travelling to Northern Ireland from Great Britain, including on the ferries from England and Scotland, now technically need to prepare as if they are travelling to the EU, including a microchip, valid rabies vaccination, tapeworm treatment and animal health certificate.
During the early days after the end of the Brexit transition period, it was announced that checks at the border would be delayed. However, then in September 2021 it was announced that enforcement of the new requirements would be delayed indefinitely.
This means that no changes are required to travel with your pet to Northern Ireland, including the tapeworm treatment and animal health certificate before every trip.
It is not clear what will happen long term, though the UK is campaigning for their status to be changed so these steps are not required, ideally to a Part 1 listed third country.
What Has Changed When Travelling to Great Britain with a Pet?
Essentially no changes have occurred for travelling to Great Britain with a pet. Pets will still require a microchip, a valid rabies vaccination and a tapeworm treatment, unless they are directly travelling from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway, plus Northern Ireland. If a rabies titre test was previously required, it is still required.
However, there is a change to the accepted documents required for your pet. The following documents are now accepted:
- An EU pet passport or pet passport issued by a “related” country (Part 1 listed country), including EU pet passports issued in Great Britain prior to 2021
- An animal health certificate issued in Great Britain (such as for travel to the EU) – this is valid for return to GB up to 4 months after it was issued
- A new GB pet health certificate
If you are returning to Great Britain using your EU animal health certificate issued in GB within the last 4 months, have it amended by the EU vet you visit to complete the tapeworm treatment, to certify that this has been completed.
For pets travelling from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, no pet passport or animal health certificate is required – there is no change to travelling from Northern Ireland to Great Britain compared to pre-Brexit.
What About Travelling to Great Britain through Europe?
Many people travelling to Great Britain with pets from outside of Europe, choose to travel through Continental Europe, so that their pets can travel in the cabin or as checked baggage, rather than as cargo. Then it’s a matter of travelling on to Great Britain with your pet through options including pet-friendly ferries or taxis through the Eurotunnel.
When the UK was part of the European Union, including during the Brexit transition period, pets only require a single animal health certificate for this route, the EU animal health certificate. However, since 2021, this is no longer the case. Your pet will require two certificates – the GB pet health certificate because it is your final destination and the EU animal health certificate for the transit of the EU.
The easiest solution is to be issued both pet health certificates in your export country. However, there are some countries and government departments that are reluctant to issue and endorse two pet health certificates, at least for now. (Try explaining that the EU certificate is just for transit – it is not your final destination.)
The alternative is to visit a vet in the EU, before continuing onto Great Britain. There you can request an EU pet passport for your pet or ask to be issued the new GB pet health certificate. This is easiest if you spend at least a day or two in Europe before continuing onwards. At the same time, the worming treatment for the UK can be completed.
One complicating factor – since Brexit, French vets have started to restrict issuing EU pet passports to only pets that are registered in France.
You May Also Like
- How to Travel with a Dog Between the UK and Europe
- Can I Take My Dog to France?
- How to Get an EU Pet Passport for Your Dog
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