How to Travel to Europe With Your Pet After Brexit

  • A pet dog travelling on a train

There is currently a lot of debate and uncertainty surrounding what will happen to pet travel after Brexit. Like many other matters what will happen after the current transition period ends on 31 December 2020 is unknown.

Despite this, here at Kensington Veterinary Care, we are committed to keeping you and your pet as up to date as possible with the latest news surrounding pet travel and Brexit.

The good news is that for the remainder of 2020, nothing has changed. As long as Covid-19 restrictions allow, you are free to travel to and from Europe with your pet – providing your pet has a valid pet passport.

However, what will happen to your pet passport after Brexit? Well, just like our own, they may be changing. There are currently 3 possible outcomes and the results will depend on if the UK becomes:

  1. A Part 1 Listed Country
  2. A Part 2 Listed County
  3. An Unlisted Country

Part 1 Listed Country

Becoming a Part 1 Listed Country is arguably the best outcome in regard to travelling with your pet to Europe.

Whilst you may still need to reapply for a pet passport, your pet’s new passport will still come under the PETS travel scheme. In other words, travelling with your pet will remain the same as it currently does.

To qualify for a pet passport, your pet has to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. Rabies vaccination can be administered to your dog, cat or ferret from 12 weeks of age. The passport will be valid 3 weeks from the date of vaccination. Once you’ve qualified, you are free to travel to and from Europe with your pet as much as you like.

Part 2 Listed Country

If the UK becomes a Part 2 Listed Country, travelling with your pet to Europe will still be possible but with a few changes.

You will still need to reapply for your pet passport as you would if we became a Part 1 Listed Country, but you will also need to apply for an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).

Whilst your pet passport should technically confirm that your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, an AHC is an extra written confirmation of these two facts. To obtain the certificate, you will need to visit an official vet no more than 10 days before travelling.

Your pet will also need a new AHC for every trip from the UK to an EU country, but is then valid for onward travel within other EU countries for 4 months from the date of issue.

An Unlisted Country

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal it is likely to be treated as an Unlisted Country under PETS, meaning that your UK-issued pet passport will not be valid when travelling to the EU.

In this scenario, qualifying to travel with your pet will become a significantly longer and slightly more complicated process.

In this scenario, we would advise that you will need to leave at least four months between your pet’s primary rabies vaccination and the date of travel. During this time, you will need to:

  • Have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after your pet’s rabies vaccination
  • Allow your vet to send your pet’s blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory
  • Wait 3 months after your (presumed successful) results before travelling
  • Take a copy of your pet’s test results on your travels
  • Request a AHC from us for entry to the EU, again this will be valid for onward travel within the EU for a further 4 months

Following these steps, you must then keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date and request another AHC for each repeat trip to the EU.

Pet Travel Insurance

Regardless on how we will be allowed to travel with our pets post-Brexit, it is always important to contact your pet insurance company to ensure that you are covered for pet travel.

We recommend PetPlan as our preferred provider but you are, of course, free to use any insurance company you wish.

Final Thoughts

The truth is that there is no straightforward answer to what will happen to pet travel post-Brexit. Nevertheless, should any of the above be the outcome, we will make sure to provide you with full information when you book your required appointment with us.

Photo Credit: Egor Gordeev