VICTOR TEIXEIRA – LMDI
That’s it. The UK has left the European Union. No matter what side of the argument you were on, things will change from now on. To us, not many will have such an impact on our lifestyle than traveling through Europe with our dogs, which we have now been doing for nearly 10 years.
Luckily, we don’t have to do this alone; there are plenty of people in the know, who can hold our hands and guide us through the new processes. One such person is Ben Ward, a Personal Travel Consultant with extensive knowledge and experience in the travel industry; he also happens to be more dog-crazy than I am (arguable…) and he shows us on a regular basis that you don’t have to leave your pooch behind when you travel in Europe.
Here is Ben’s guide to travel with your dogs in Europe post-Brexit!
BEN WARD – PERSONAL TRAVEL CONSULTANT
Are you thinking of taking your dog to Europe in 2021? I know I certainly am, and I can’t wait – but there are some changes to the rules that you definitely need to be aware of, post-Brexit.
Pre-2021, pet travel into mainland Europe was a fairly easy process: microchip, rabies injection, a pet passport and that’s it – your dog can now go on its holidays, repeatedly, for years. While the new pet travel process is also a simple step-by-step, it is new and so it’s good to get acquainted with the changes in good time, before you travel.
Here’s everything you need to know and do before you travel with your pet to Europe from 1st January 2021. (FYI rules for cats and ferrets will be similar, but for them and all other pets please do check with your vet to make sure you’ve done everything you need to.)
Taking a dog to the EU from the UK – In a nutshell
Basically, there are 3 essential things you need in order to travel with your dog from the UK to France or any other European country:
They must be microchipped
They must be vaccinated against rabies
They must have a valid Animal Health Certificate (AHC)
Let’s go into a bit more detail.
I’m assuming the microchipping is self-explanatory, but there is no harm in checking that the address and any other details are up-to-date.
Vaccination against rabies after Brexit:
Once your dog has the rabies jab, you no longer need to wait for a rabies test.
After Brexit, all you need is to wait 21 days after the jab – and then you are ok to travel. Make sure you count correctly – it’s 21 clear days before travel.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your dog must be at least 12 weeks old before they can have the rabies vaccination. They will also need all their other vaccinations too and not all can be given together – you will need to talk to your vet to make sure you have enough time.
What if I already have a UK passport for my dog?
The UK-issued pet passport is now obsolete. You can no longer travel with your pet with it. However, do not throw it away just yet!!
If you currently have a UK pet passport for your dog, that means they have been microchipped and have had a rabies jab in the past. Which means if the rabies vaccinations are still in date – you don’t need another rabies jab; just keep them up-to-date. You should have a certificate to show that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies along with a stamp in the relative page within the Passport. I would advise you take this with you when going to the vet for the AHC.
If, however, the rabies vaccinations have lapsed, you will need to visit your vet to get another rabies jab and then wait 21 days before travel.
You do not need repeat rabies vaccinations for each trip. As long as you keep the rabies vaccinations up-to-date (make sure to check this as they can differ depending on brand and dosage), then you do NOT need a new rabies vaccination for each trip. But make sure you carry the paperwork with you.
Getting an Animal Health Certificate (AHC):
Big change to be aware of!
Every single time you take your dog from the UK to the EU, you will need to visit your vet in order to get an Animal Health Certificate. Even if the last one is still in date (they are valid for up to 4 months).
You need to visit your vet no more than 10 days before travel. You must visit an ‘official’ vet – one who is licensed to issue an AHC – not all of them are, so make sure to book well in advance.
When you go to the vet’s for the appointment, you will be asked to bring with you the following proof of:
– your pet’s microchip
– your pet’s vaccination history
– rabies test
The AHC is valid immediately, but you must leave the UK within 10 days to enter the EU or Northern Ireland (NI). From then, it is valid for onward travel within the EU or NI for 4 months after the date of issue and re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue. You will need an AHC for each individual pet. Our vet has quoted £110 for each AHC they issue; all fine if you are an infrequent traveller, but repeated journeys will add up. Also consider that this doesn’t include the costs of any other jabs or vaccinations which may be needed.
We love to travel with our little dog as often as we can, which could mean that we go over to France at least a few times a year. With the new rules in place, we will have to get a new AHC every time we go even though they are valid for up to 4 months.
If you are travelling with your dog from the UK directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta, they must have treatment against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis). Tapeworm treatment must be given 1 to 5 days before arriving in any of these countries. Your vet must enter full details on the AHC following treatment.
Tapeworm treatment for returning to the UK
As now, you will need to get a tapeworm treatment given to your dog 1-5 days before returning to the UK. This must be marked on the AHC. If you are returning to the UK directly from Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta, you will not need to give your dog a tapeworm treatment before arriving in the UK.
Arriving in the EU or NI
On arrival in the EU or NI, pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE).
Here, you may need to show the following documents:
– a valid AHC for each pet
– microchip details (and scan the pet)
– rabies vaccination proof
– tapeworm treatment (if required)
Always make sure you check the rules of the country you are travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.
Travelling to NI with your pet after Brexit
After the Brexit transition period (which ended on 31 December 2020), you will now need an AHC for each trip in order to take your dog to NI (unless you have an EU pet passport).
EU Pet Passports for NI-based dogs
NI-based pets and assistance dogs can use an NI-issued EU Pet Passport and will not need an Animal Health Certificate. You should contact DAERA or your vet for further information on entrance requirements for returning to NI.
Rules for returning to the UK with your dog
Nothing changes in this process. You will still need an approved tapeworm treatment 1-5 days before travel.
If you already have an EU Pet Passport, keep it! If you travel regularly, you will save yourselves an absolute fortune.
If you are living in the EU and plan to travel with your pet using a UK-issued pet passport, you should speak to your vet.
If you have a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you can use it to bring your pet to GB.
If you wish to enter the UK with an EU-registered pet, you must have:
– an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or in GB before 1 January 2021), or a pet passport from a Part 1-listed third country
– the AHC issued in GB used to travel to the EU – which you can use up to 4 months after it was issued
– a GB pet health certificate (for travel into GB only)
Your pet will NOT need this documentation if it’s entering GB from:
– the Channel Islands
– the Isle of Man
So, you are now armed with all the up-to-date information. There are some big changes but understanding what you need is half the battle.
When you are travelling abroad, there are a million things to think about. If you’re trying to travel abroad with a pet, there are a million more. I can relieve a lot of this stress for you. Granted, I won’t be taking your pet to the vet for you, but I can help navigate you through the new rules, and give you confidence to travel in this post-Brexit world by completely organising your trip from start to finish, whether it is with your pet or not. I am a personal travel expert with years of experience, and I am here to help you get that well-deserved holiday you need.
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