As it currently stands the UK has left the EU and is currently in a transition period. During this time there will be no changes to pet travel. This period will come to an end on December 31st 2020.
From Janaury 1st 2021 the UK will be considered a third country. There are three categories of third country: unlisted, listed part 1 and listed part 2. UK issued EU pet passports will no longer be valid.
Unlisted is the worst case scenario. If the UK becomes an unlisted country it can take up to 4 months to prepare your pet for travel to the EU. You will need to get an Animal Health Certificate before travel, issued by your vet subject to the following requirements. Your pet will need a:
- Rabies vaccination
- Titre test to check for rabies antibodies. A blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after the date of the rabies vaccination. The blood is sent to an EU-approved laboratory. If the results are successful (levels of 0.5 IU/ml or higher) you then need to wait a further 3 months from the date of the blood test to travel.
The results will be given to you as a certificate. They will also need to be entered onto the Animal Health Certificate. The Animal Health Certificate will be valid for 10 days from being issued to enter the EU. So long as you enter the EU within that 10 day time frame the certificate will remain valid for 4 months of onward travel. It will also allow you to return to the UK so long as your return is within 4 months of the date the certificate was issued.
So long as the rabies vaccines are kept up to date a repeat blood test won’t need to be performed. For subsequent visits to the EU you will just need to visit your vet to get the Animal Health Certificate reissued.
I would advise all pet owners planning to travel with their pet to get the titre test done now. So long as you get the blood sample drawn before October 31st 2020 (and get a pass result) you will be able to continue travelling to the EU for definite. There is potential the UK will become a listed country, in which case you won’t need the titre test. But, for the cost (the lab cost is £60 excluding VAT and your vet will charge a fee for collecting the sample) it’s worth the peace of mind.
We got Pebbles’ titre test done as soon as we could after her first rabies vaccine. We knew we’d likely need it in the future to travel to third countries. We got the results back within a fortnight on a certificate. Our vet also entered the information onto the designated page in her pet passport.
This is what a rabies serology certificate looks like:
Part 1 Listed
The process will remain similar to what it is now. Instead of an EU pet passport you will be issued a UK pet passport. The requirements to get a UK pet passport will be the same as to get an EU pet passport.
Part 2 Listed
Again, the requirements will remain the same as those needed to get an EU pet passport. In this scenario though the information will need to be entered onto an Animal Health Certificate, not into a pet passport. Like I mentioned above, the AHC will be valid for 10 days. Each new trip to the EU will require a new AHC.
Returning to the UK/Entering the UK from the EU
The saving grace of everything is that there will be no change to the current regulations on pets entering the UK. An EU pet passport will be a valid to enter the UK from any EU country. UK issued pet passports will also be a valid form of entry so long as they are issued prior to January 1st 2021.
When you return to the UK your pet will need an anti-Echinococcus treatment. This needs to be given no more than 5 days and no less than 24 hours before entering. The treatment also needs to be given If you visit Ireland, Malta or Finland (unless travelling there directly from the UK).
Regardless of what category the UK comes under this will need to be done and documented.
EU Pet Passport
Document issued to allow pets to move freely around the EU. UK issued pet passports remain valid until January 1st 2021.
UK Pet Passport
The alternative to the EU pet passport. These will be issued if the UK becomes a part 1 listed country. They will work in the same way as an EU pet passport.
Animal Health Certificate (AHC)
The document you will need to travel should the UK become a part 2 listed country or an unlisted country. Depending on the UK’s status the rules will differ as to what’s needed to get the AHC. Once issued it is valid for 10 days to enter the EU, 4 months of EU travel and a return to the UK within 4 months.
Here’s to keeping our fingers and paws crossed for part 1 listed status!