New rules for pet travel in 2021 for those leaving Britain

Pet owners are being encouraged to check the latest government advice about travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland or the EU with their pets at the end of the transition period.

The government has worked alongside the European Commission to ensure pet travel can continue between Great Britain and the EU and Northern Ireland at the end of the transition period.

From January 1, 2021 onwards, the UK will have Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, meaning that people travelling from Great Britain with their pets and assistance dogs will need to follow new requirements in order to travel to the EU and Northern Ireland.

Before taking their dog, cat or ferret to the EU for the first time after January 1, 2021, pet owners must complete the following steps.

The only new requirement for travel to the EU is the use of a certificate, rather than a pet passport:
  • Ensure their dog, cat or ferret is microchipped;
  • Ensure that their dog, cat or ferret is vaccinated against rabies – pets must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated;
  • Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel;
  • Dogs must be treated against tapeworm 24-120 hours before landing, if they are travelling to a tapeworm-free country;
  • Visit their vet to get an animal health certificate (AHC) for their pet, no more than 10 days before travel to the EU.

Pets and assistance dogs will also need to enter the EU through a travellers’ point of entry (TPE), which includes all the major French ports such as Calais, Caen and Dunkirk.

Who do these requirements affect?

All of these requirements will also apply for movements of pets and assistance dogs from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

However, recognising that these changes will take time to adjust to, the UK government is working with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on an enforcement approach that takes this challenge into account.

There will be no change to the current health preparations or documents for pets entering Great Britain from the EU or Northern Ireland from January 1, 2021.

Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, said

“We have been granted ‘Part 2’ listed third country status by the EU which will ensure that travelling with your pet continues from January 1 onwards.

Your vet will be able to advise what you need to do in order to obtain the correct documentation to travel and you can find the latest pet travel advice on gov.uk or by searching ‘pet travel’.

“Updated guidance on pet travel has been available since November 2018, ensuring that owners will be ready for any future scenario, so many pet owners will already be familiar with that they need to do.

“The UK government is continuing to press the European Commission to secure Part 1 listed status.

“The UK has one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe and currently meets all the requirements for Part 1 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme,” she concluded.