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Travel with Pets to European Countries & Northern Ireland

Travelling with your pet can be a difficult subject to navigate - but here at Vets4Pets, we have the latest advice and information to make sure your adventure with your four-legged friends runs smoothly.

This information we provide is for guidance only, so please contact your vet to discuss travelling with your pet before you book your trip.

Can you travel with pets to Europe and Northern Ireland?

In short, yes, you can travel with your pets to Europe and Northern Ireland, as long as your pet meets certain criteria.

Great Britain is a Part 2 listed country in regards to pet travel to Europe and Northern Ireland. This means that owners travelling to the EU or NI with their dog, cat or ferret are no longer able to use a GB-issued EU Pet Passport. Instead, owners need to obtain an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from your pet's vet for each individual trip you wish to take your dog, cat or ferret on into the EU or NI.

How do I get a pet passport?

Rather than pet owners needing a GB-issued EU Pet Passport, owners need to obtain the AHC (Animal Health Certificate) from their pet's vet for each trip they take to a European country (including Northern Ireland). 

What is the AHC?

When you're applying for an AHC (Animal Health Certificate) with your vet for travel with pets to Europe and Northern Ireland, there are a few restrictions and criteria that apply. This is as follows:

  • The AHC is only valid for one single trip. A new AHC must be issued for all subsequent trips into the EU or NI.
  • You must use the AHC within 10 days of it being issued.
  • Once you use the AHC to enter Europe and Northern Ireland, the document is then valid for four months, or when your pet's rabies vaccine expires - whichever comes first. This means you can spend up to four months in Europe with this EU pet passport variation.
  • This document can only be used for onward travel through EU or NI online - if you're visiting a country outside of the EU, you must obtain the correct documents for that specific country.
  • You must return to the UK with your pet within 4 months of issue.
  • This document is only for the movement/travel of non-commercial dogs, cats or ferrets. 
  • You can use the AHC for a maximum of 5 pets unless you're travelling for competitions/training/shows/sporting events (please contact your vet for these scenarios to receive exact guidance on what to do).

How do I get an AHC for my pet?

In order to qualify for an AHC, pets must:

  • Be microchipped.
  • Be vaccinated for rabies a minimum of 21 days prior to travel.
  • Be a minimum of 12 weeks old.

What do I do when returning home with my pet?

When returning home to the UK from the EU or NI with your pet, you must visit your vet for the following treatment:

  • Dogs must receive tapeworm treatment 24-120 hours before return and have the treatment administered by a vet. Please ensure you have the right documentation to demonstrate a tapeworm treatment has been given. 

Your vet will need to have Official Veterinarian (OV) status from the Animal Plant Health Agency for this to be administered and to provide you with an AHC, so please check with your local vet before booking your appointment for an AHC. Please note, GB OV vets are not permitted to enter any details into an EU pet passport apart from tapeworm treatment.

If you require more information, such as how much a pet passport costs, or what you need to do if you have more than five animals joining you on your trip, you can visit the Government website here.

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