Travelling with Pets After Brexit 2020
How will Brexit affect EU travel with pets?
When we leave the EU on the 31st of January, the UK will enter Brexit limbo or what is otherwise known as the ‘Brexit transition period’, until the end of December 2020. This means that previous agreements between the UK and Europe will remain the same for the next year. This applies to travel with pets within the EU after Brexit.
As it stands, nothing will happen until a final deal is confirmed, so those travelling to Europe with their pets must take the following steps:
- Your dog, cat or ferret must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.
- Your pet must have a valid EU pet passport.
- Your pet must be treated for worms.
If you’re planning to travel to Europe after December 2020, it’s wise to contact your vet at least 4 months in advance in consideration of a no-deal Brexit. If a no-deal Brexit is agreed on, these further steps may be required:
- Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its last rabies vaccination. (whether that’s a booster or initial vaccination) to prove your pet is not a carrier of the disease.
- Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory to confirm results before travelling.
- Your pet would need a Model Health Certificate.
- Your pet would need to enter the European Union via a designated point – Travellers’ Point of Entry or TPE. On arrival in the EU, UK owners travelling with their pets would be required to report and present their documentation. These are nominated country by country and have yet to be confirmed, although the TPE’s for current Unlisted countries are listed, here.
“Get Brexit done” – the aftermath
When we exit the EU, the UK will become a third country and will need to apply to the European Commission to become a Part 1 or Part 2 listed country. We will not know what listed categorization the UK falls under until a final deal and partnership have been made with the EU. The UK’s status will probably become known by the end of 2020.
If the UK becomes a Part 1 listed country in a soft Brexit scenario, little will change to what is needed before your travels. You will still need the same, or similar, pet passport documentation, worming treatment and rabies vaccinations.
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In a mid-range Brexit, or Part 2 listed country scenario, all the current passport rules would still apply but there would be additional requirements. For instance, you will need a Model Health Certificate before travelling with your pet. These certificates would need to be issued at least 21 days after suitable rabies vaccination and within 10 days of departure. The Model Health Certificate would allow 4 months of travel within the European Union and must be issued by an OV (which simply stands for Official Veterinarians), but this may not mean all vets.
In this scenario, you’ll need to plan for getting a Model Health Certificate. This will involve checking that your vet can issue a certificate, if not then you’ll need to find the nearest local vet who can issue one – as you’ll need to get it relatively close to your departure date. You don’t want to be dashing around on the day you leave trying to find a suitable vet.
It may seem like a lot of effort for nothing, but with the uncertain nature of Brexit it is best to err on the side of caution, so your future travel plans with your pet aren’t scuppered. Keep talking to your vet over the following year – they will be in the best position to advise you on the requirements of travelling the EU with your pet after Brexit.
This article is for guidance only and if you have any concerns about your pet you should always seek the advice of a qualified vet.
If in doubt contact your veterinary practice
And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!