Travel Advice

Pet Travel within the EU from 1st January 2021

From 1 January 2021 Great Britain (GB) will become a Third Country with respect to the EU Pet Travel Scheme. The EU has voted in favour of giving the United Kingdom Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the Transition Period. This listed status will be formally adopted by the EU in due course. This means big changes to how we travel with our pets - see below for comprehensive guidance on the rules and what you need to do to comply from January 2021.

Please note, the following is guidance only. Ultimately the responsibility for ensuring that you comply with the regulations lies with the pet owner and it is your responsibility to make sure you are aware of any changes or updates if they occur.

Is my Pet Passport still valid?

  • Unfortunately it means that the Pet Passport is no longer sufficient for travel to the EU and a much more complex system will come into force from 1st January 2021.
  • Instead you will need to obtain an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from a veterinary practice which must be issued by an Official Veterinarian (OV). At Hawthorn Vets, we have four Official Veterinarians - Jonathan and Annelise Underwood, Fabian Kaelin and Vicki Roberts.
  • Pet Passports can still be used to return to the UK from an EU country after 1st January 2021. However, pet passports cannot be used to travel between countries within the EU.
What is an AHC?
  • The AHC is a 10 page document specific to each pet and each specific journey to the EU.
  • Each AHC has a specific reference number and there are different AHC's for each EU country.
  • The AHC that is issued is for the country that you enter after leaving GB, even if another EU country is your final destination. (eg, if you are travelling to Spain via France, a French AHC will be issued).
  • The AHC is valid for 10 days from the date of issue and for a period of 4 months for a SINGLE trip into the EU, onward travel in the EU and return to Great Britain.
  • If your trip lasts longer than 4 months, the AHC will not be valid and you will either need a GB pet health certificate, a valid GB passport or a valid EU passport to return to GB (see below).
  • You can see an example AHC by clicking here.
This sounds very confusing - what do I have to do to to travel with my pet within the EU?
  • Many of the regulations of the original Pet Travel Scheme are still the same - it is the use of the AHC instead of a passport that is the main change.
  • Pets under 12 weeks of age cannot travel.
  • Pets must have a microchip which was inserted before or at the time of rabies vaccination.
  • You will still need a rabies vaccination for your pet and cannot travel for 21 days from the date of the vaccination.
  • A rabies blood test is currently NOT required.
  • Your pet will have to have an appointment with an OV to scan their microchip in order to issue an AHC. We will also perform an examination of your pet at this appointment. You will need to bring proof of the date of microchipping and rabies vaccination history with you (a current pet passport contains this information).
  • This must be done within 10 days of when you wish to travel.
  • If you are travelling to Finland, Malta, Norway, The Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, a tapeworm treatment will need to be administered at the time of this appointment.
  • As above, you can then travel with your pet within the EU and the AHC will be valid for return to GB for 4 months from the date of issue.
  • A health check and new AHC will have to be issued for every journey to the EU.
What do I do on return to Great Britain?
  • The regulations are largely the same.
  • A tapeworm treatment is still required between 1 and 5 days before you return. This will need to be administered by an official veterinary surgeon . (This is NOT required if you are travelling from Finland, Malta, Norway, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland).
  • You will need to present your AHC (or Pet Passport) for inspection at border control.
  • If your trip lasts longer than 4 months, the original AHC that was issued in GB will no longer be valid. A GB passport issued before 1st January 2021 will still be sufficient to return to GB from a single country. If you are planning on travelling between countries within the EU for longer than 4 months, then you have 2 options:
  • Either obtain a a GB pet health certificate or obtain an EU passport for your pet from within the country that you are residing. If you can get an EU passport, this is the more practical solution if you are likely to travel regularly with your pet in multiple EU countries. If it is kept up to date, it will allow you to travel within the EU without the need for an AHC. However, you will still need an AHC everytime you travel from GB to the EU.
Any other important points?
  • The AHC form is 10 pages long and time consuming to complete. We'll endeavour to do this is as quickly as possible, but please allow at least one working day for us to do this.
  • You'll need to book an appointment within 10 days of the date of travel for a an appointment with one of our OV's - they will examine your pet and issue the AHC within one working day. This can either be by email or a printed copy.
  • We charge a standard consult fee for the examination and £50+VAT for completion of the AHC.
For up to date guidance from the government, click here to visit the gov.uk website

Travel outside of the EU

To travel outside of the EU, you will need an export certificate specific to the country you are visiting.

You can get advice on which export certificate you need by clicking here....

Different countries have different requirements when exporting a pet - eg blood tests, health checks at specific times, extra vaccinations and administration of worming and flea treatments. We can take the relevant samples and give treatments. We can also complete the export certificate, although it is sometimes worth outsourcing this to a pet travel company for the more complex exports. If you are planning on travelling outside of the EU, it is best to contact the APHA on 03000 200 301 for initial advice on your specific requirements.