Can I take my pet abroad on holiday?
Does the Pet Passport still exist?
Since Brexit, taking your much-loved family pet to the European Union (EU) or Northern Ireland (NI) is, thankfully, still entirely possible – it just needs planning!
Pet Passports issued in Great Britain (GB) are no longer accepted in the EU or NI and have been replaced by an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).
Only dogs, cats and ferrets can travel on an AHC; for any other species of pet, you must check the entry requirements of the country you are visiting.
Stop press!! On 15 September 2021, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA announced that checks on all pet dogs, cats and ferrets travelling from GB to NI would be suspended indefinitely while negotiations between the UK government and EU continue. Head to the DAERA website for more details.
How long does it take to get an Animal Health certificate?
You need to plan well ahead to do everything necessary before your departure.
You must also plan for your return, since, if you are travelling with a canine companion, you’ll need to visit a vet before you come back to GB from the EU (though not if you are returning from Malta, Finland, Norway, NI or the Republic of Ireland).
See the appropriate section below to work out your timescale.
What do I have to do to get an Animal Health Certificate?
Depending on both your starting point and your destination, select the section(s) that applies to your journey to see the summary of what you’ll need, including correct documentation, Rabies vaccination, microchipping and tapeworm treatment for your pet.
Please note that if you have a pet passport issued in an EU country then you can still use this to take your pet to the EU or NI and you do not need an AHC for your pet.
Travelling from GB to the EU or NI
Make sure that you read all the relevant sections below!
1a) For all dogs, cats and ferrets and all journeys in this category:
If you are heading to NI, see the Stop press announcement at the beginning of our blog and follow the link to check this is still current. Otherwise, these are the rules:
*The primary vaccination for Rabies is a single injection, at or after 12 weeks of age.
Rabies boosters are generally required every 3 years; check on your vaccination certificate or AHC to find out when a booster injection is due.
Blood tests following Rabies vaccination are not now required for the journeys covered in this article.
How long is an Animal Health Certificate valid for?
Your pet’s AHC will be valid for entry into the EU or NI for 10 days from the date of issue (which is classed as Day 1) and onward travel within the EU or NI and re-entry to GB for 4 months after the date of issue.
Can I make multiple trips with my pet on an AHC?
No! Your pet will need a new Animal Health Certificate for each trip to the EU or NI.
1b) For dogs only, travelling directly to NI, the Republic of Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta:
Your dog will require tapeworm treatment (against Echinococcus multilocularis).
This must be done by an Official Vet (OV), no less than 24 hours and no more than 5 days (120 hours) before arriving in any of these countries, and written up on your AHC.
How many pets can I have on one AHC?
You can travel with up to five pets on a single Animal Health Certificate.
To take more, you must either provide written evidence that they are taking part in a competition, exhibition or sporting event or comply with different animal health rules for the commercial import of animals into the EU.
Further information can be found at www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad
What do I need to do for repeat trips to the EU or NI?
Entering or returning to Great Britain from the EU or NI
This section will apply whether you are returning to GB from the EU or NI after your holiday, visiting GB from your home in the EU, or returning to GB permanently.
What documents do I need to return to GB from the EU?
Your pet must have one of the following when returning to GB from the EU. Click here for details of Part 1 and Part 2 listed countries (G.B. itself is Part 2 listed since leaving the EU):
What route can I use to return to G.B?
You can only enter GB via certain travel routes and companies, so check carefully – though all major ferry routes and the Eurotunnel are accepted.
Your pet’s documents and microchip will be checked when entering GB.
Owners of assistance dogs returning from the EU do not have to travel on an approved route but must notify the Traveller’s Point of Entry (TPE) in advance of their journey.
Have I got to visit a vet before returning to GB?
For dogs only, treatment against tapeworms is required before entering GB:
If you are going on a short break, you can have this tapeworm treatment given here, before you leave the UK – as long as you are back in the UK within 120 hours from when it was given!
Note: you don’t need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you are coming directly to the GB from NI, the Republic of Ireland, Finland, Malta or Norway, as these countries do not have the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis.
Do I need documents to enter GB from NI, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man?
No! Though to visit Northern Ireland from GB, you will require an AHC.
For government guidance about travelling with your pet to and from GB, including travel outside of the EU, go to www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad
Travelling to the EU or GB from Northern Ireland
If you live in Northern Ireland and want to travel abroad with your pet, the rules are different, because the EU Pet Travel Regulation continues to apply between NI and EU Member States. So, what does this mean for you and your pet?
Does my dog need tapeworm treatment travelling to NI from the EU?
Yes! Everything in Section 2 under the heading “Have I got to visit a vet before returning to GB?” applies to you.
How do I get a new style UK (NI) Pet Passport?
You can contact your vet in NI to obtain a new style UK (NI) pet passport. This is a full list of veterinary practices that are participating in the Northern Ireland Pet Passport Scheme. Further information and guidance about travelling with your pet or assistance dog from NI to the EU or GB can be found from DAERA here.
A final word for all travellers with their pets….
The Vet on the Net team is more than happy to answer questions and guide you through the preparation for travel, whether you live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.
They will also discuss what other, preventative treatments your pet can have, both before you go and while you are away, helping to protect them from diseases that they don’t usually meet in the UK.