Many pet owners like to travel abroad on vacations. Some even have a second home in another country.  These pet owners can travel with their pets to their preferred destination easily because of the ‘pet passport’ scheme.

The pet scheme allowed pet owners to take their pets to various places in the European Union with minimal bureaucracy and without requiring them to follow stressful quarantine rules. 

However, the advent of Brexit forced Britons to adjust to a lot of changes.

What were the UK pet passport scheme rules before Brexit?

The UK was a part of the European Union until the start of 2021. During that time, the EU Pet Travel Scheme allowed pet owners to travel with their pets to and from any EU country if they had a valid EU passport for their pets that showed that they were up to date with vaccinations and were microchipped. 

How did things change after Brexit?

Old pet passports became invalid in the EU from 1st January 2021. Since we left the European Union, it kept the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme out of its ‘Part One listed’ status, meaning you cannot enter any EU country with a pet that had a passport issued in the UK. 

We are now under the ‘Part Two listed’ status. Although there is still no requirement for quarantine rules, we now have to follow tons of regulations if we want to take our pet abroad.

Under the new rules, you need to bring an Animal Health Certificate for pet travel to the EU or Northern Ireland from the UK.

What is an Animal Health Certificate?

An Animal Health Certificate is a document of proof that your pet has a microchip and has been vaccinated against rabies. Its paperwork involves many details like your pet’s breed, size, and age, information about its microchip, updated vaccination records, and details of tapeworm treatment if your pet previously had a problem with it.

Moreover, you need to keep in mind that your pet must be vaccinated at least 21 days before you travel. Therefore, you should start with the process early instead of hurrying at the last moment. 

You must also remember that the Animal Health Certificate should be in the language of the destination where you are planning to travel.

How to obtain an Animal Health Certificate?

You need to obtain an Animal Health Certificate from a vet at least 10 days before traveling to the EU. This means you need to plan the appointment with a vet carefully if you want to abide by the guidelines. What if your local vet doesn’t issue Animal Health Certificates? In that case, you should ask for references and meet another vet to get the certificate as soon as possible.

How long is the certificate valid?

The Animal Health Certificate is valid for four months and you can use it once for onward travel within the EU, once for a single trip to the EU, and once for returning to the UK.

How much does it cost?

According to the Royal Veterinary College, a new Animal Health Certificate costs approximately £110. Moreover, you need a new certificate every time you travel. The cost is much more compared to the old pet passport where you only had to pay around £60. 

In addition to the £110, you also need to consider the cost of vaccinations and other treatments that your pet may need before traveling. Apart from the cost of treatment and certificate, you also need to pay approximately £15 to £20 for the microchip and an additional £50 to £60 for the rabies injection.

It’s wise to talk to the vet well in advance before your departure if you don’t know the rules properly. This would give you enough time to plan everything and make the necessary appointments to obtain the certificate and complete the vaccination process.

You can also check out the government website to know the latest rules and regulations regarding taking your pet overseas.

Will this situation change?

The government wants the UK to meet the requirements stated in the ‘Part One listed’ status. It is also putting pressure on the European Commission to support its new Pet Travel Scheme. Therefore, things don’t seem bright at the moment, and you have to follow the new rules.

What about pets entering the UK?

Although there are new rules for pets traveling from the UK, there are no changes when it comes to pets entering the UK from one of the EU countries. It still follows the pet passport rule since the EU countries have the ‘Part One listed’ status according to the Pet Travel Scheme.

What about non-EU countries?

What if you want to travel to a non-EU country from the UK? In that case, you will require an Export Health Certificate for your pet that shows that it meets the health requirements of the destination country. This certificate also has to be signed by a licensed vet.

It’s better to go through the government guidelines well in advance and talk to your vet if you want to take your pet to a non-EU country.

Where does pet insurance come in?

Pet insurance policies usually provide coverage for unexpected vet costs when you travel abroad, provided you have all the updated documents. However, it’s better to confirm with the insurance company before traveling.

If the insurance company doesn’t cover vet costs abroad, you can talk to the insurer about policies or plans that can cover unexpected costs for an additional fee.

Pet insurance policies usually don’t provide coverage for vaccinations, microchipping, or costs involved in obtaining an Animal Health Certificate.

A few policies have provisions to reimburse the cost of replacing an Animal Health Certificate if you lose it or cover the cost of installing another microchip if the previous one fails.

You should always talk to your insurer regarding the coverage included in your pet’s insurance policy before traveling overseas.


About the Author: Xavier James is a telecom engineer and a certified marketing trainer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related.