Travelling with your pet in the EU in the wake of Brexit is an uncertain area and it’s looking highly likely that EU pet travel is set to experience a number of changes if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
It’s imperative pet owners wishing to travel with their pets in the EU familiarise themselves with current rules and any changes that may occur after Brexit to ensure compliance with EU pet travel regulations.
Third country classification
When the UK exits the European Union, it will become classed as a third country.
The EU Pet Travel Scheme has 3 categorisations of third country:
- Part 1 listed
- Part 2 listed
Pet travel law in the EU will depend on what category of third country the UK is classified on the day the UK leaves the EU. As a Third country, the UK can apply to the European Commission to be listed.
The outlook if the UK leaves the EU without a deal is that it will be classified as an unlisted country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme.
Pet travel if the UK is an unlisted country
Currently, EU pet passports are issued in the UK; authorising pet travel within the EU. Going forward, once the UK exits Brexit and is classified as an unlisted country, your current EU pet passport won’t be valid for travel to the EU.
Your pet will need to be microchipped.
Pet owners will need to vaccinate their pet against rabies before it can travel. This involves taking a blood sample at least 30 days after its last rabies vaccination. This sample is sent for blood testing to gain EU approval.
The results of the blood test must show a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml. Travel is restricted for 3 months from the date of the blood test and all relevant documents from the test results will need to be taken on the trip.
Dogs travelling from the UK to Finland, Ireland or Malta (EU countries listed as tapeworm free countries) need to be treated for tapeworm before travel.
Pet owners will be required to gain a Health Certificate for their pet, issued by an authorised vet no more than 10 days before your date of travel.
In order to qualify for a health certificate for your pet you will need to satisfy all requirements including providing evidence of:
- your pet’s vaccination history
- your pet’s microchipping date
- a successful rabies antibody blood test result
- tapeworm treatment if travelling to Finland, Ireland or Malta
Your pet’s animal health certificate will be valid for:
- 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
- Onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue
- Re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue
Pets will need a new health certificate for each trip to the EU.
A special entry point is reserved for those travelling with Pets and upon arrival in an EU country, those travelling with pets enter through a designated Travellers’ point of entry (TPE). At the TPE, pet owners may be required to present evidence of microchip, rabies vaccination, blood test results and tapeworm treatment along with the pet’s health certificate.
Pet Travel If the UK becomes a Listed Third Country
If the UK becomes a listed third country it can apply to the European Commission to be listed under either Part 1 or Part 2 of Annex II to EU Pet Travel Regulations.
Part 1 listed country status
Part 1 listed countries function under the same EU Pet Travel Scheme rules as EU member states but have a different type of pet passport.
If the UK becomes a Part 1 listed country, you must have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before travel. You will need to make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date and make sure your dog has tapeworm treatment if needed.
You will need to apply for a new UK pet passport. This will be valid for travel to the EU for your pet’s lifetime provided your pet’s rabies vaccinations are routinely kept up to date.
Part 2 listed country status
Most countries are Part 2 listed, which brings a range of different stipulations for travelling with your pet. If the UK is classified as a Part 2 listed country, the following rules will apply:
- Pets must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before travel.
- Rabies vaccinations must be routinely kept up to date.
- Dogs must be vaccinated against tapeworm where applicable.
- An animal health certificate is required proving your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.
- Pets will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to the EU.
- On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with pets need to enter through a designated TPE. At the TPE, you may need to present proof of microchip and rabies vaccination and tapeworm treatment if required.
If the UK exits the EU with a deal, pet travel during an implementation period will be a lot simpler.
Pet owners will be able to travel with their pet to an EU country under the existing rules for travelling with your pet in the EU, using a current EU pet passport.
The government Pet Travel Scheme Helpline is available for further detailed and specific advice. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 0370 241 1710
To ensure your pet is able to travel from the UK to the EU after the EU Exit, with or without a deal, current government guidance is that you should contact your vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest official advice.
Deal or no deal: pet insurance
Whatever the status of the UK in the EU upon leaving, and however this will affect travelling in the EU with pets, it’s definitely worth ensuring you have a good pet insurance which will help the whole process of handling the situation of needing to use a vet overseas for your beloved pet a whole lot easier in every way.