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Now that the UK has officially left the EU, we break down the need-to-knows about travelling with your furry loved ones…

To say that Brexit has had its twists and turns would be something of an understatement. Did you know that, among the changes, there are now new rules for pet owners when it comes to travelling with animals?

Once upon a time, before Brexit was splashed across our screens on the daily, we could freely travel to Europe with our four-legged friends without having to quarantine. That is, as long as we had a pet passport and could prove our pet was microchipped.

Following recent announcements, though, pet passports are no longer valid, and there’s a brand-new procedure to be mindful of.

Young miniature schnauzer

Travelling with pets to the EU and Northern Ireland

Instead of a pet passport, if you’re a pet owner within England, Scotland and Wales and you’re travelling to the EU or Northern Ireland, you must now provide what’s known as an Animal Health Certificate.

What does the Animal Health Certificate do?

An Animal Health Certificate (or AHC) serves the same purpose as the pet passport of old. It confirms that your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated against Rabies. Remember, pets must be 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated, and you’ll need to wait 21 days after the vaccination before you can jet off anywhere.

How do I get an AHC?

Your pet’s Animal Health Certificate must be signed and issued by a vet no more than 10 days before you travel. If you’ve just moved to a new practice, you’ll need to show proof of microchipping and previous vaccinations, so that your vet can fill out the relevant paperwork properly.

How long is the certificate valid for?

Your AHC is valid for 10 days after the issue date for entry into the EU and Northern Ireland, and for four months for re-entry into Great Britain. You’ll need to obtain a new certificate each time you want to re-enter the EU and Northern Ireland.

Where do I present the AHC?

When you arrive in the EU and Northern Ireland, you’ll need to pass through a special area known as a TPE – Traveller’s Point of Entry. This will be clearly signposted at all airports, ports and Eurotunnel terminals.

Any exceptions?

Yes. If you have a pet passport that’s been issued in Northern Ireland or the EU (don’t forget, this no longer includes Great Britain!), then you don’t need an AHC to get in and out. Similarly, if you’re a Great Britain national living in the EU or Northern Ireland, you can still use the GB pet passport issued before 1st January 2021.

How many pets can I travel with?

You can travel with up to five pets with an AHC. Any more than that, and you’ll need written proof to say that you’re attending a sports event or competition, and that your pets are more than six months old.

Tapeworm treatment for dogs

If you’re travelling to either the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Malta or Norway with a dog, you’ll also need to have your pup treated for tapeworm between one and five days before your arrival. Your vet will then add this info to your AHC.

Worried about the changes?

If you’ve got any questions or queries, simply drop the official government Pet Travel team a line at pettravel@apha.gov.uk. It may be some time before we can all think about travelling again, too. In the meantime, take a look at the YuMOVE range to see how it could help you and your pet. And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook – we love connecting with you!

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