Pet travel — the times they are a changing

02 February 2021
3 mins read
Volume 12 · Issue 1


One of the largely overlooked aspects of Brexit was the changes to the pet travel rules. Ian Wright outlines what these changes mean for veterinary professionals and pet owners wishing to take their dog, cat or ferret abroad.

2020 has seen many changes to our lives with COVID's arrival and Brexit finally becoming a reality. One of the largely overlooked aspects of Brexit was change to pet travel rules, with final arrangements only being announced weeks before the transition period was due to expire. The UK has been given Part 2 Listed status which means that pet passports are no longer valid for travel to EU countries. It does however, mean that rabies blood tests are also not required. Current requirements for dogs, cats and ferrets travelling within EU and listed non-EU countries are:

AHCs are issued in English and the language of the country in which they will first enter the EU. Travel must take place within 10 days of issue. In a similar way to the pet passport, the AHC must contain details of rabies vaccination, microchipping and if required, tapeworm treatment. Unlike a pet passport, however, a new AHC is required every time a pet travels to the EU and is valid for 4 months for onward travel in the EU or to return to the UK. AHCs will also now be required for travel from Britain to Northern Ireland, creating a potential pet travel barrier between these parts of the UK for the first time. Each AHC requires a unique identification code and these need to be ordered in advance. This is simple to do via the GOV.UK website and it is important that veterinary practices are prepared for a sudden rise in pet owners wanting to travel once COVID restrictions are relaxed.

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