New rules for taking your pets on holiday with you from Jan 1

If ever there was a time we were in need of a holiday it's likely to be 2021 – and when travel is allowed again many of us will choose to bring our four-legged friends along for the adventure.

But with the Brexit transition period coming to an end on December 31, travelling to the EU with our pet is changing.

In the new year you will not be able to use the current pet passport scheme and as such holidaymakers will need to follow a different process.

Here is what you need to know:

1. What animals are affected?

The new guidance applies to anyone travelling with a dog, cat or ferret – and this includes assistant dogs.

2. Why are travel rules changing?

From 1 January 2021 onwards, the UK will have Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, meaning that people travelling from GB with their pets and assistance dogs will need to follow new requirements in order to travel to the EU and Northern Ireland.

3. What do I need to do before I travel with my pet?

Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel to the EU for the first time after 1 January 2021, you’ll need to take the following steps. These steps are similar to the current process for taking your pet to the EU, but you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) instead of a pet passport. For this you must:

     

  • Ensure your dog, cat or ferret is microchipped.
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  • Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated.
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  • Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel.
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  • Visit your vet to get an AHC for your pet, no more than 10 days before travel to the EU.
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4. What's an animal health certificate (AHC)?

An AHC is given no more than ten days before you plan to travel. It is signed by an official vet so you should check beforehand to make sure your surgery is able to issue an AHC.

To get one, you must take proof of your pet’s microchipping date and your pet’s vaccination history.

Your pet’s AHC will allow you travel within the EU for four months after the date of issue.

5. Can I travel anywhere in the EU?

On arrival in the EU, pet owners will need to enter through a designated Travellers' point of entry (TPE) and present your pet's original AHC along with proof of microchipping, vaccinations and tapeworm treatment (if required).

6. What if I need more advice?

Visit www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-from-1-january-2021 for more information.

If you are planning a trip to the EU you can use the simple checker tool on gov.uk/transition for a personalised summary of the actions you need to take.

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