Whilst Covid-19 and the coronavirus crisis have largely taken the spotlight off Brexit during 2020, Britain did of course formally leave the EU on the 31st January 2020, and is now in what is known as the “transition period,” which will continue until 1st January 2021.
After this date, how UK nationals can travel to and from the EU and the requirements they will have to satisfy to do so will all change; and the same is true for our pets.
A great many British pet owners who have holiday homes abroad, that split their time between the EU and the UK, or that simply like to visit the continent for holidays and take their pets too will find that things will be quite different after the transition period has ended.
As this is of course still a “period of transition,” exactly how things will look after the 1st January 2021 – and even if there might be any extension of the date itself in light of the Covid-19 crisis – are far from set in stone.
However, how the UK is classified by the EU in terms of our agreements with them after this date will dictate the requirements to take a pet abroad after Brexit and when the transition period ends, and there are three potential ways this could go.
This article will outline what will be required to take UK pets to the EU after the Brexit transition, what you need to do to take a pet to the EU right now in the transition period, and how far ahead you’d need to start making plans if you want to take a pet to the EU with you.
Read on to learn more.
Right now, and up until 1st January 2021, we’re still in the Brexit transition period. During this time, the same system applies to take UK pets to the EU as were in place before, which means that this is all covered under the remit of the EU Pet Travel Scheme.
If your pet has already travelled under the pet travel or pet passport scheme and you meet all of the requirements and everything is up to date, nothing has currently changed, and this will all proceed in the same way up until 1st January 2021.
Things will change after 1st January 2021 – but exactly how they will change has yet to be determined, as this will depend on what relationship the UK has negotiated with the EU by that point, as we’ll then be classed as a third-party country, not a member country.
Taking pets into the EU will still be managed under the remit of the EU Pet Travel Scheme that the UK too currently uses, and under the remit of the Pet Travel Scheme, counties outside of the EU are classified in three different ways. These are:
Part 1 listed countries.
Part 2 listed countries.
So how the requirements change for UK pets will depend on which classification we then fall under on the 1st January 2021; which might itself change over time, for instance, if the UK starts off unlisted and then negotiates one of the two listed country options.
However, if the UK leaves the EU with “no deal,” the chances are we will default to being an unlisted country, which will have the most onerous requirements for pet travel in the EU.
Next, we’ll break down the requirements to take a pet to the EU after Brexit depending on what our status turns out to be.
If the UK becomes a Part 1 listed country under the remit of the EU Pet Travel Scheme, your cat, dog or ferret must be microchipped, and have an up-to-date rabies vaccination issued at least 21 days prior to travel.
Dogs will also need tapeworm treatment for trips to Malta, Finland or Ireland, which are classed as tapeworm-free countries.
Pet owners will also need to apply for a new pet passport, the UK Pet Passport, as pets from the UK won’t be able to travel on their former EU Pet Passport.
If we become Part 2 listed, you must fulfil the same requirements outlined above for Part 1 listed countries, and also visit a registered vet 10 days or less before you travel to get an Animal Health Certificate that certifies your dog is microchipped and has had their rabies vaccine.
Every trip to the EU will need a new Animal Health Certificate, plus when you arrive at your EU port, you will need to enter through the appropriate Travellers’ Point of Entry. There, you may be asked for proof of microchipping, rabies vaccination, and if relevant, tapeworm treatment.
This would render pet passports issued here in the UK invalid for use in the EU. The criteria you would have to fulfil instead is:
Microchipping and rabies vaccination for cats, dog and ferrets.
Blood sampling done 30 days or longer since the last rabies shot was given, with the sample sent to an EU-approved lab for rabies testing.
The lab returning an acceptable/rabies clear result.
A three-month wait after the date the sample was taken before your pet can travel.
A certificate issued by your vet to prove that all of this has taken place and that the results are appropriate.
For travel to Malta, Ireland and Finland, which are classed as “tapeworm-free countries,” dogs must also be treated for tapeworms prior to travel.
Finally, you will also need the Animal Health Certificate mentioned above for Part 2 listed countries.
As you can see, depending on our eventual classification, the requirements to take a pet to the EU after Brexit will potentially be quite complex. Whatever happens, it is strongly advisable to contact your vet well in advance of your trip – four to six months, ideally – to get the process started.