As the UK has officially now left the EU, rules surrounding the travelling of pets has now changed in light of Brexit.

The UK now has Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme and this means that from January 1, 2021, pet owners will need to follow a new set of rules if they want to take their pet abroad to Northern Ireland or countries within the EU.

David Bowles, head of public affairs at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), said:

"A lot will change after Brexit including changes to travel rules for people and for pets.

Pet passports will no longer be valid and anyone who wants to take their pet abroad from Great Britain to Europe and Northern Ireland will need a new animal health certificate from their vet each time they wish to travel abroad.

"We know a lot of people take their pets abroad to compete in shows and competitions, and others like to include their pet when they go on holiday.

"It’ll still be possible to do all of these things, but you will need to apply for different certificates and paperwork so we’d always advise owners to take this into account long before departing."

The new travel rules for pets include:

  • Pet passports will no longer be valid for pet owners wishing to travel from England, Scotland and Wales;
  • If you want to take your cat, dog or ferret abroad from Great Britain to Northern Ireland or a country within the EU then you’ll need an animal health certificate from your vet (valid for one journey for up to four months);
  • These certificates will include details of a rabies vaccination (taking 21 days) and, if you’re travelling to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, your pet will also need to be treated against Echinococcus;
  • If you’re travelling from the EU into Great Britain then you’ll need a pet passport and there will be no changes until July 1, when you’ll have to use a designated point of entry;
  • If you’re travelling from Northern Ireland into the UK then you won’t need a passport or health certificate but you will need one to return.