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Government outlines post-Brexit pet travel rules

Pet owners have been asked to check the latest government advice about travelling between the UK and EU with their pets after 1 January 2021

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

From 1 January 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.

The only new requirement for travel to the EU is the use of a certificate, rather than a pet passport.

Before taking their dog, cat or ferret to the EU for the first time after 1 January 2021, owners must ensure they are microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel.

Dogs must also be treated against tapeworm 24-120 hours before landing, if they are travelling to a tapeworm free country.

In addition, owners must 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.

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

However, the government said that it recognises these changes will “take time to adjust to”, so is working alongside the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland on an enforcement approach that “takes this challenge into account”. 

It said this approach will be implemented in a way which supports pet owners and assistance dog users while it “pursues a permanent solution”.

There will be no change to the current health preparations or documents for pets entering Great Britain from the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 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 1 January 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 or by searching ‘pet travel’.”

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