If you would like to take your pet abroad for any reason, you will need either an EU Pet Passport or an export certificate. Several of our vets are registered Official Vets and can both advise and assist you with the necessary documentation and health requirements.
To travel with their pet from a third country to the EU, owners need to prove their animals are effectively vaccinated against rabies, with a blood titre test required to demonstrate sufficient levels of rabies antibody. This needs to be carried out a minimum of 30 days after any initial rabies vaccination. A period of three months must then be allowed to pass before pets can travel to the EU.
This means owners who want to be sure they are able to travel with their pet whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations need to visit the vet at least four months before the date they wish to travel. For example, pet owners who wish to travel on 30 March 2019 would need to visit a vet no later than 28 November 2018.
Whilst Defra states it is confident that the UK will secure a deal with the EU, if there is no deal, it anticipates that, based on the UK’s current health status, it would be able to secure listed status to allow easier movement of pets between the UK and EU.
However, there is chance it will not have secured this status on the day the UK leaves the EU (29 March 2019), meaning a gap of several months when pet owners will need to follow the additional steps listed above to travel.
Defra has also sent a briefing note to Official Veterinarians outlining the pet travel arrangements in a no-deal scenario. This is available to view on the APHA Vet Gateway.
Further information is also available in the Government’s Technical Notice about pet travel if there is no Brexit deal.
- Dogs and cats will need a blood test 30+ days after rabies vaccine
- Cannot enter EU for 3 months from date of blood test demonstrating rabies antibodies
- Therefore IF want to enter EU after 30th March 2019 – will need rabies vaccine no later than 28th Nov and blood test 30 days later
- Pet owners can only enter the EU with a valid ‘EU Model Animal Health Certificate (MHC).
Pet dogs, cats and ferrets
Before 29 March 2019
Under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, owners of dogs, cats and ferrets can travel with their animals to and from EU countries provided they hold a valid EU pet passport. Before a pet can travel from the UK to an EU country for the first time, it must be taken to an OV at least 21 days before travel. The OV will ensure the animal has a microchip and rabies vaccination, before issuing an EU pet passport, which remains valid for travel for the pet’s lifetime or until all of the treatment spaces are filled.
If there are more than five pet dogs/cats/ferrets, these can only be moved under the EU Pet Travel Scheme if they are travelling to take part in a competition, show, sporting event or training for such an event. In these situations the pets must be aged over six months. The owner must provide written evidence of attendance/registration and a declaration. When the movement doesn’t comply with these requirements it will be classified as commercial and certification will be necessary (see below).
Dogs returning to the UK from countries that are not free from Echinococcus multilocularis must have an approved tapeworm treatment administered by a vet between 24 and 120 hours before entering the UK.
For pets travelling after 29 March 2019 if the UK is a listed Third Country
Listed: Part 1
Should the UK become a Part 1 listed country, there would be little change to the current pet travel arrangements, with only minor changes needed to documentation for travel between the UK and EU and no change to health preparations. As currently, before a pet could travel from the UK to an EU country for the first time, it would need to be taken to an OV who would need to ensure the animal has a microchip and has received the primary rabies vaccination on or after the date of microchipping and at least 21 days prior to the date of travel. The OV would also have to ensure that further (“booster”) vaccine doses have been given in accordance with the time intervals set out on the manufacturer’s datasheet. If the vaccinations have lapsed outside of these intervals, a primary dose must be given and the pet may only travel after 21 days have elapsed from this dose.
Listed: Part 2
Should the UK become a Part 2 listed third country, there would be some new requirements. As above, before a pet could travel from the UK to an EU country for the first time, an OV would need to ensure the animal has a microchip and has received the primary rabies vaccination on or after the date of microchipping and at least 21 days prior to the date of travel. The OV would also have to ensure that further (“booster”) vaccine doses have been given in accordance with the time intervals set out on the manufacturer’s datasheet. If the vaccinations have lapsed outside of these intervals, a primary dose must be given and the pet may only travel after 21 days have elapsed from this dose.
OVs would have to issue a Model Health Certificate (MHC) confirming the pet was appropriately identified and vaccinated against rabies and 21 days have elapsed since the date of vaccination. This document would differ from the current EU pet passport. It would be valid for ten days after the date of issue for entry into the EU, and for four months of onward travel within the EU. An MHC would have to be issued for each trip to the EU. Further information on Model Health Certificates is detailed below from section 24 onwards.
On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with their pet would be required to report to a Travellers’ Point of Entry. For pets travelling after 29 March 2019 if the UK is an unlisted Third Country Health Preparations
Should the UK become an unlisted third country
Should the UK become and unlisted third country, pet owners intending to travel with their pet from the UK to EU countries would need to discuss preparations for their pet’s travel with an OV at least four months in advance of the date they wish to travel. This means pet owners intending to travel to the EU on 30 March 2019 would need to discuss requirements with their vet before the end of November 2018. Pets would have to visit their OV to undertake the following order of preparation for travel:
i. Pets would have to be vaccinated against rabies, following the instructions within the manufacturer’s datasheet, as a primary course, on or after the date of microchipping.
ii. Blood would have to be collected from the pet for a rabies antibody titre test at least 30 days after the date of the vaccination described above and sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory, in accordance with Annex IV to Regulation (EU) No 576/2013.
iii. The results of the blood test must demonstrate an antibody titre which is equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml to allow the pet to travel.
iv. Following demonstration of an adequate antibody titre, pets would have to wait at least 3 months from the date of blood collection to the date of travel, so that an animal incubating rabies prior to, or around the time of vaccination, could be identified.
If the results of the blood test show an insufficient antibody titre the pet will not be able to enter the EU and must repeat steps as described in paragraph 20 above.
A pet’s vaccinations will be considered up-to-date provided they have received the primary vaccination on or after the date of microchipping, and in accordance with the manufacturer’s minimum age of vaccination, as defined on the product datasheet. The pet must also have continued to receive further “booster” vaccinations at intervals defined in the manufacturer’s datasheet, without any breaks. Vaccinations given prior to microchipping are not valid for travel and the primary course must be restarted on or after the date of microchipping.
OVs should advise pet owners to start health preparations at least four months before they intend to travel with their pet. EU Model Health certificates (MHCs) for pet cats, dogs and ferrets to travel to the EU
OVs would only issue a MHC once a pet has undergone the necessary health preparations as described in paragraph 20.
The MHC is different from the EU pet passport. It would be valid for ten days after the date of issue for entry into the EU, and for four months of onward travel within the EU. MHCs will be produced and issued by APHA.
A new MHC would have to be signed for each trip to the EU. OVs can sign a new MHC up to ten days before travel as long as there is official proof of identification, vaccination history and a satisfactory antibody titre test result.
On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with their pet would be required to report to a Travellers’ Point of Entry.