Pet passports will no longer be valid next year - what you need to know

Pet owners wishing to take their dog, cat or ferret to Europe or Northern Ireland will need to get papers from specialist vets once the UK officially leaves the EU next year.

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The changes, which come into place on 1 January 2021, mean that British pet owners will no longer be able to use existing pet passports for travel throughout Europe.

This has come about because the UK will move from part 1 to part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme once it has left the EU, although the government is trying to secure part 1 status in the ongoing negotiations.

However, the rules remain unchanged for travel from Northern Ireland.

The UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said, “Your vet will be able to advise what you need to do in order to obtain the correct documentation to travel.”

What do I need in order to travel outside Britain with pets?

From 1 January, in order to travel out of Britain with pets, you will need an animal health certificate (AHC) dated no more than 10 days prior to travelling.

The AHC will be required instead of the pet passport, which previously allowed travel throughout the EU. This will also apply to people travelling from England, Wales or Scotland to Northern Ireland.

An AHC can only be obtained from vets that are officially allowed to carry out checks for export and travel purposes.

The other rules for taking pets abroad remain unchanged;

  • You must have you dog, cat or ferret microchipped
  • Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies
  • Wait at least 21 days after the primary vaccination to travel

Some countries also require pets to be treated against ringworm.

The full rules around taking pets abroad can be found on the government’s website.