If you're planning on visiting an EU country with your pet after 1 January 2021, new rules are now in place which will affect your travel preparations.
If you have a pet passport issued in the UK, it will no longer be vaild and you will instead need to obtain the animal health certificate (AHC).
Or check our guide to the best pet insurance for dogs.
Will it be harder to travel to Europe with my pet?
The simple answer is yes. Taking your pet abroad will become more complicated as you'll need more paperwork.
The UK has become a Third Country with respect to the EU Pet Travel Scheme. The EU has given the UK Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel.
If you have a current EU pet passport issued in the UK, it will not be valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.
You will need to be issued with an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from an Official Veterinarian (OV) instead of a pet passport. AHCs cost £93.50 and are quite lengthy documents that will take some time to be completed.
Your dog or cat will need to be microchipped before you travel. They must be vaccinated against rabies and be at least 12 weeks old before they are vaccinated. Any vaccination will need to take place at least 21 days before travelling. According to the Royal Veterinary College, rabies vaccinations must be repeated every three years to allow continual travel.
The Animal Health Certificate is only valid for:
- 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU (they cannot be issued more than 10 days before pet owners travel with their pet).
- A single trip for entry to the EU – they cannot be re-issued.
- Onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue.
- Re-entry to UK for 4 months after the date of issue.
AHCs are available as dual-language certificates written in both English and the official language of each EU country. Pet owners should ask the vet for the appropriate language certificate depending on where they are visiting.
Tavelling to Northern Ireland
Pet passports will still be valid for those pet owners travelling from Northern Ireland but if you intend to travel to Northern Ireland from England, Scotland or Wales, you will need to obtain an AHC in the same way as if you were travelling to an EU country.
Will my local vet be an Official Veterinarian?
You should speak with your local vet practice to find out whether it holds Official Veterinary status.
An OV will be a fully qualified vet and member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, but they will hold additional qualifications known as OCO(V)s. This will allow them to complete the required documents and certification needed for you to travel with your pet.
Pet owners should visit their vet to discuss health preparations at least four months before they intend to travel and they will need to ensure rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.
Before travelling from the UK to an EU country with your pet for the first time, it should be taken to an Official Veterinarian (OV) at least 21 days in advance. The OV should ensure the animal has a microchip and rabies vaccination.
What should I do if I’m travelling to Europe with my pet after 1 January 2021?
Plan ahead, and speak to a certified Official Veterinarian at least four months in advance of travelling.
You will need to demonstrate that your pets are free of rabies. This could involve a vaccination followed by at least a 30-day wait before a subsequent blood test, which itself is then followed by a three-month waiting period before travel.
Does my pet insurance policy cover my pet abroad?
Many pet insurance companies will offer cover for your pet while you are abroad, although it is often an optional extra that costs more.
At Bought By Many we offer travel insurance that provides cover for your pet as part of our Complete policy. You can add it to many more of our policies.