How the Pet Passport Law has Changed

Traveling abroad to EU countries and Northern Ireland (NI) with your pet cat, ferret or dog changed on 1 January 2021. Any pet passports issued in Great Britain, including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, are now invalid for travel to an EU country or NI. 

When traveling to and from Great Britain to the EU with your pet or assistance dog, they will need:

*A microchip

*A valid rabies vaccination – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated

*A tapeworm treatment (if needed)

*An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) – this needs to be issued within 10 days of the date you are set to travel

What is an Animal Health Certificate?

The Animal Health Certificate is not the same as the Pet Passport. The main difference between the two is the length of time that they remain valid for. Pet Passports are valid for as long as you keep them up to date with relevant vaccinations. However, an Animal Health Certificate is only valid for one trip to the EU, therefore you would need a new certificate each time you travel. Whilst the Animal Health Certificate is valid for travel inside of the EU for 4 months, a new AHC would be required if you exit the EU at any point during your trip.

To ensure pets qualify for an Animal Health Certificate they need to meet the following mandatory requirements: they must have been microchipped before or at the same time as their rabies vaccination. Pets must also have been vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days before the Animal Health Certificate appointment, unless it is a booster vaccine. Pets must be at least 12 weeks old to receive this vaccination.

How Long is an Animal Health Certificate valid for?

Animal health certificates are valid for entry to the EU within 10 days of the date of issue and can be used for travel inside of the EU, as well as your return trip to the UK, for 4 months. As soon as you wish to cross back over the border, and out of the EU, the certificate will no longer be valid and you will be required to apply for a new Animal Health Certificate. 

You are required to acquire a new Animal Health Certificate each time you plan to travel to the EU from Great Britain. Animal Health Certificates are valid for one trip across the EU boundary, and for your return to Great Britain. However, if you exit the EU during your trip, a new AHC would be required to return to the EU.

How Old Must a Pet Be to Get an Animal Health Certificate?

In order to qualify for an Animal Health Certificate and travel to the EU from Great Britain, pets are required to be a minimum of 12 weeks old. This is because 12 weeks is the earliest that pets can be vaccinated against rabies, a compulsory requirement of the Animal Health Certificate. There is also a requirement to wait at least 21 days after pets have been vaccinated for rabies before you can book an Animal Health Certificate appointment. 

Do Assistance Dogs Need an Animal Health Certificate?

Assistance dogs are still required to obtain an Animal Health Certificate when traveling outside of Great Britain into an EU country. The paperwork may be slightly more complex for an assistance dog, but if you book your Animal Health Certificate appointment within good time of traveling, there should be no issues with obtaining the certificate in time.

How Old Does a Pet Need to Be Before they Can Travel?

In GB pets cannot travel into or from England, Scotland or Wales unless they are over 15 weeks of age. This includes the 12 weeks it takes to be old enough to get their vaccinations and a 21 day wait afterwards to allow the vaccine to take effect.

How Many Pets Can You Ttravel With?

You can travel with up to five pets to and from GB. The only exceptions to this rule are if you’re taking part or training:

*In a competition

*In a show

*In a sporting event

You must bring written evidence of your participation in the event with you to the Travelers’ Point of Entry. Your pet will need to be over six months old, be actively taking part in the event or training and must meet all the other requirements needed to enter that country.

If you would like further information on the legal requirements for traveling with pets. Contact us today