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Pet travel scheme - travel between the UK and the EU

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Wagso - Clevedon Dog Walking Services
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Updated 23/12/20

Disclaimer: This is the situation as I understand it at the current time, but please do check carefully when you arrange your journey - neither I nor the forum can be held responsible for any loss or hardship incurred as a result of incorrect or out of date information.

In recent years, the rules for bringing a dog into Britain have been relaxed, making holidays abroad with your dog much more accessible. The following new rules apply from the 1st January 2021, the end of the transition period for the UK leaving the EU.

Before going to the EU or Northern Ireland with your pet, your dog will need the following:
  • a microchip for identification (puppies must be microchipped by 8 weeks anyway, with a very small number of exceptions on health grounds)
  • an up to date rabies vaccination, with the first vaccination administered at least 21 days before travel
  • an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued by a vet no more than 10 days before travel
The AHC records your dog’s microchipping date and vaccination history, so if you are visiting a vet who doesn’t have this information on record, take evidence with you. The AHC is valid for 4 months for continuous travel in the EU, but a new AHC is needed for each separate trip you make. And, the AHC is prepared specifically for the country you are arriving in, so you cannot change your plans last minute; however it will still be valid for onward travel from that country into another one (e.g. arriving in France then travelling on to Germany).

If you are travelling to Malta, Finland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, your dog will also now need to be given a tapeworm treatment. This has to be given by a vet at least 24 hours before travel and no more than 120 hours before arriving in these countries, and the date and time will be recorded on the AHC.

On arrival, you may be asked to provide the AHC as evidence of your dog’s rabies vaccination record and worming treatment if appropriate.

Before returning after a break in the EU (and a few other countries specified by the UK government), or coming to GB for the first time, your dog must have the following:
  • a microchip for identification
  • an up to date rabies vaccination
  • a valid pet passport, the AHC issued prior to leaving the UK (provided it is still within its 4 month period of validity), or a GB Health Certificate (which is issued for foreign dogs being imported)
Before entering GB your dog needs to see a vet who will scan your dog to make sure the passport / health certificate belongs to him, give a worming tablet (not needed for Finland, Ireland or Malta), and record the date and time on the document you are using. Generally, vets further away from ports are less expensive but also may be less experienced - so double check the information has been recorded correctly. Even using one pen to record the time of the treatment, and a different one to sign the passport, can be challenged by the port staff, so it is really important to make sure this has been done correctly. You may not re-enter GB for at least 24 hours, but you must be back on GB soil before 120 hours have passed.

Before check-in at your port of return, you will visit a pet check-in area. There, your dog's microchip will be scanned and matched against the document you present, to confirm your dog has indeed been vaccinated and wormed within the correct timescales. The port staff will authorise your dog's entry and that's it. It takes very little time, although you will be asked to allow at least 30 minutes before your own check-in in case of queues. It is certainly very straightforward and means that if you want to take your dog on holiday, you no longer need to worry about quarantine.

Please note that while the above information applies to the E.U. and other specified countries, different rules apply to travel from outside Europe.

For full details and further information, visit Pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021 - GOV.UK (
Author: @JoanneF
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