Pet Passports are no longer valid. Instead you will have to make sure that you pet’s vaccinations are up to date and that they have an Animal Health Certificate signed by an OV vet. This process requires more paperwork than before as well as additional costs. You may also need some more time to get prepared. Don’t worry though, this blog contains all of the information you need to make sure that you and your precious pets are prepared to travel. When the time comes, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience hassle-free, knowing that you are organised well in advance.
From 1st January 2021, new pet travel rules were introduced. Now, when travelling to a EU country or Northern Ireland with your pet, you will need to make sure that your pet has the following:
- An Animal Health Certificate (AHC)
- A Microchip
- A valid rabies vaccination
Your pet may also need tapeworm treatment but this depends on which country you are visiting. If you intend to travel directly to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, Finland or Norway, this is essential. It’s important to know that some countries may have additional requirements. We’d always recommend checking in advance, as you don’t want to face any problems when travelling- it really is best to sort out everything in advance.
These requirements apply to dogs (including assistance dogs), cats and ferrets.
The image below shows everything your pet will need before travelling.
The new pet travel rules state that you will need to get a new Animal Health Certificate for repeat visits. This means that each time you travel to Northern Ireland or a EU country, you will need a new AHC. As long as your pet’s rabies vaccination is up to date, you will not need to get an additional rabies vaccination for each time you travel. However, your pet will need tapeworm treatment each time you travel, if you are making repeat journeys to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, Finland or Norway.
ARRIVING IN A EU COUNTRY
Make sure you carefully plan your route in advance. When arriving in the EU or Northern Ireland with your pet, you will need to go through a travellers’ point of entry. You may be asked to present necessary documents for your pet including:
- Their Animal Health Certificate
- Proof of microchip
- Proof of rabies vaccination
- Proof of tapeworm treatment
Keep these documents easily accessible, so that you can present them easily when requested.
HOW DO I GET AN ANIMAL HEALTH CERTIFICATE?
An Animal Health Certificate is now needed for pet travel to Northern Ireland or a EU country. To do this, you will need to visit your vet no more than 10 days before you intend to travel. The AHC must be signed by an OV- official veterinarian. When booking your appointment, check in advance that your vet can issue Animal Health Certificates. Bring along proof of your pet’s vaccination history and microchip date, when you attend your appointment, as they will need this information to issue the AHC.
Please plan for additional costs, as you will need to pay for the AHC.
HOW LONG IS AN AHC VALID FOR?
An Animal Health Certificate is valid after the date of issue for:
- 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
- 4 months for onward travel within the EU
- 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain
Remember, you’ll need a new AHC each time you travel to the EU or Northern Ireland with your pet!
MORE INFORMATION ON MICROCHIPS:
Your pet must be microchipped either at the same time as receiving their rabies vaccination or before. For the purpose of pet travel, microchipping can only be carried out by a vet. Microchipping can also be carried out by a vet nurse, student vet or student vet nurse if directed and overseen by a vet.
The vet will put your pet’s microchip details on the Animal Health Certificate. Please ensure that they do this for you to avoid any problems when travelling.
MORE INFORMATION ON VACCINATIONS:
Before your pet can travel, it is vital that they are vaccinated against rabies. When travelling to the EU or Northern Ireland, you will need to b able to provide proof that your pet has a valid rabies vaccination.
You can take your pet to the vet to get their rabies vaccination. Your vet will need proof that your pet is at least 12 weeks old before they can vaccinate them. After receiving the initial rabies vaccination, you will need to wait an additional 21 days before you can travel with your pet.
It’s important to know that even if your pet has already had their first rabies vaccination, this may not be enough. Your pet will need to have a valid rabies vaccination, which means keeping up to date with regular rabies booster vaccinations.
If your pet is older, you may want to contact your vet to check when their rabies booster vaccination is due. You don’t want to assume that your pet is covered and later find out that you are not properly prepared for your trip. Your pet’s vaccination record must be in the AHC. If these are incorrect or are in the wrong place, your pet could be stopped from travelling. We’d always suggest seeking advice and double-checking all of your documents in advance, so that you don’t face any problems.
Your dog may also need tapeworm treatment; depending on which country you are visiting. If you are travelling directly to Northern Ireland, Ireland, Malta, Finland or Norway, your dog will need to be treated for tapeworm and this must be recorded in their Animal Health Certificate.
It’s important that the treatment is given no less than 24 hours before you arrive and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before arrival.
RETURNING TO THE UK WITH YOUR PET
When entering or returning to the UK with your pet (from the EU) you must have one of the following documents:
- The Animal Health Certificate you used to travel to the EU
- An EU Pet Passport- this is valid if issued in the EU or if issued in Great Britain before 1st January 2021
- A GB pet health certificate
If you are returning from Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands, you won’t need this documentation.
Please still check the route before you travel, as you will need to travel on approved routes. It’s important to make the correct preparations before travelling. Your pet’s microchip and documents will be checked when re-entering the UK, so have these at hand upon arrival.
If there is anything you are unsure of, or have any questions about travelling with your pet, we’d recommend speaking to your vet for more information and peace of mind.