Travelling after Brexit
Travelling after Brexit
Following the UK’s exit from the EU at the end of 2020, the rules applying to travelling with a guide or assistance dog have changed.
These are outlined below, and include a number of useful links, however, always check with your vet before you plan to travel.
The new rules discriminate against persons with disabilities who wish to travel from the UK into Europe with their guide or assistance dog as a new Animal Health Certificate (AHC) must be obtained for each and every trip out of the UK.
For most people travelling with a dog is a choice, for a person with disabilities who relies on their assistance or guide dog, this is an essential.
This means that short notice trips will be impossible to arrange, whether for business, pleasure or family matters. Each trip will incur an additional cost, extra planning and time taken spent in the process involved obtaining the AHC required to travel with a guide or assistance dog.
This is in addition to the current discrimination often experienced when travelling with a guide or assistance dog and highlights the inequalities suffered compared with other travellers.
We, as EGDF, will engage with MEP’s, the European Disability Forum which represents 100 million people with disabilities in Geographical Europe, the European Blind Union who represent over 30million people who are blind or partially sighted and other Assistance Dog Organisations to campaign to create a level playing field.
The rules as they stand today are as follows:
Travellers to Europe or Northern Ireland with their guide or assistance dog will no-longer be able to use a UK issued EU Pet Passport.
Instead dogs will need to be issued with an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from their vet. The AHC is:
- Valid for one single trip only. New AHC must be issued for subsequent trips into the EU.
- Must be used within 10 days of being issued.
- Once entered EU, valid for 4 months OR when dog’s rabies vaccine expires (whichever comes first). Can be used for onward travel through EU only.
- Valid for return to the UK within 4 months of issue.
In order to qualify for an AHC, dogs must:
- Be microchipped (or have a tattoo that was placed before 03/07/2011).
- Vaccinated for rabies a minimum of 21 days prior to travel.
- NO rabies blood test is needed if pet is remaining in the EU for duration of stay and NOT travelling to OR through any unlisted countries.
When returning to the UK:
- Dogs must receive tapeworm treatment 24-120 hours before return, and have the treatment administered by a vet.
In real terms this will be a much costlier and time-consuming process than the previous Pet Passport as explained below:
How does the Animal Health Certificate (AHC) process work through your vet?
- Your dog must be microchipped. This will need to be checked/ inserted prior to any rabies vaccines. This may be done at the same appointment if required.
- Your dog must have a rabies vaccine. Dogs must be over 12 weeks old. The rabies vaccine can NOT be given within 2 weeks of any other vaccination. Generally, rabies vaccines last for THREE years before booster vaccination will be required.
- You do NOT need to have a blood test taken. The regulations do not require a serological blood test to be taken. Some dogs may have already had samples taken but these are now not required.
- You CAN’T travel until 21 days AFTER the rabies vaccine. This is very important as you will need to plan ahead. Dogs risk being quarantined if you travel within this 21 day period.
- You will need to see your vet within 10 days prior to travel. The AHC is only valid for 10 days once it has been issued. You need to plan ahead so you can get your appointment with your vet within the correct time window for your planned entry into the EU.
- Proof will be needed of rabies vaccination. If your dog has a Pet Passport already then this should suffice as proof. However, if you do not have an existing Pet Passport or proof of vaccination then you may require a further rabies vaccine with and a further 21 day wait. You should check well in advance if you are not sure.
- You will need to book an appointment. The new AHC is a complex and time consuming document. Time will be needed to examine your dog, complete and check the documents as well as copy and certify all the other paperwork required.
- Your AHC is valid for 10 days for entry in to the EU and 4 months for onward travel.
- You will require a NEW AHC each time you want to travel to the EU, even if this is within close proximity to a previous AHC being issued.
How much does it cost?
This process is going to cost more than the old Pet Passport System due to the complexity of the documentation and the time taken to complete and finalise the documents.
Each appointment with the vet could be up to 45 mins long and the estimated cost below is inclusive of all the documentation required to travel.
Please remember that this will be required every time that you want to take your dog to the EU.
Prices are quoted as between £100 - £200 per certificate issued
Arriving in an EU country or Northern Ireland
You’ll need to go through a travellers’ point of entry when you arrive in an EU country or Northern Ireland.
You may need to show your dog’s animal health certificate along with proof of their:
- rabies vaccination
- tapeworm treatment (if required)
Repeat trips to an EU country or Northern Ireland
Your dog will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland.
You can still use a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland.
For those travelling from the Europe into the UK however, rules have not changed and remain as follows:
Bringing your guide or assistance dog to
Pet passport and other documents
You’ll need one of the following documents to enter Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) with your dog:
- a pet passport, if you’re travelling from a ‘Part 1’ listed country, or if it was issued in Great Britain before 1 January 2021
- an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued in Great Britain – valid up to 4 months after it was issued
- a Great Britain pet health certificate, if you’re travelling from a ‘Part 2’ or ‘not listed’ country, or a ‘Part 1’ country that does not issue pet passports
You can check the country you’re travelling from to see if it’s Part 1, Part 2, or not listed.
Your dog will not need this documentation if it’s entering Great Britain from:
- Northern Ireland
- the Channel Islands
- the Isle of Man
You must bring originals of all your dog’s documents, not photocopies.
Getting a pet passport
Pet passports list the different treatments your dog has had.
You can get a pet passport from a vet authorised to issue them in Part 1 listed countries. If your vet does not issue pet passports, ask them for the nearest one that does or contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
When you get a pet passport you’ll need to take:
- your dog
- your dog’s identity and vaccination records
- rabies blood test results
The passport is only valid if you meet the entry requirements.
You should travel with previous pet passports in some cases, for example if your dog has had a blood test. Ask your vet if you think this applies to your dog.
Only vets in EU countries can enter rabies vaccination details into an EU pet passport. Any vet in any country can put tapeworm treatment details into a passport.
You’ll need to get a new pet passport when all the treatment spaces are full.
Before you travel
Check that the vet has filled in the following sections in the pet passport:
- details of ownership - you must sign section I if your pet passport was issued on or after 29 December 2014
- description of dog
- marking or identification of dog
- vaccination against rabies
- rabies blood test(if needed)
- details of the vet issuing the passport (for passports issued from 29 December 2014)
- your dog’stapeworm treatment (if needed)
Alternatively, you can ask your vet to complete a Great Britain pet health certificate.
Your dog must arrive in Great Britain within 10 days of this pet health certificate being issued.
Travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland
You can no longer use a pet passport issued in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) for travel to an EU country or Northern Ireland. You can still use a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland.
When travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland, your dog needs:
- a microchip
- a valid rabies vaccination
- an animal health certificateunless you have a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland
- tapeworm treatmentfor dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
These requirements also apply to assistance dogs.
Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.
Travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in early 2021
If you have a pet passport issued in Northern Ireland, contact your vet for advice before travelling.
You can also read about changes to pet travel on the NIDirect website.
Your dog will not need a repeat rabies vaccination so long as it’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
Your dog will need tapeworm treatment for each trip if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway.