Brexit: The PETS Travel Scheme
Tuesday 08 October 2019
What are the implications for travelling with pets to and from France as a result of Brexit? Updated May 2022.
UPDATE MAY 2022: This article has been substantially updated and extended in our Guide to Bringing Pets to France.
The EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows residents in EU Member States to travel freely with their cats, dogs and ferrets within the EU as long as they meet the requirements set out in the pet passport scheme.
These include requiring pets to be microchipped and be up to date on rabies vaccinations. Crucially there is no further requirement for blood tests to prove rabies immunity, which can delay travel for up to four months.
Regulations set out that pets must:
- be microchipped before rabies vaccination;
- be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel, pets must be at least 12 weeks old before receiving the rabies vaccination on the scheme;
- have a valid EU pet passport;
- travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route.
Dogs entering the UK (as well as Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta) must have been be treated for tapeworms by a vet with a product containing praziquantel (or equivalent) no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (between 1 and 5 days) before its arrival in the UK.
Leaving the EU
Following Brexit, the ability of both UK and EU resident pet owners to travel between the UK and the EU will be affected.
The UK leaving the EU means it has become a 'third country' for the purposes of pet travel.
The EU has a three-tier system for the movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets from third countries to Member States: Part 1 listed country, Part 2 listed country and Unlisted.
Being a listed country allows for several exemptions from the requirements for animals travelling from non-EU countries to EU Member States.
Part 1 listed country: this requires owners to have a completed third-country pet passport, which must include proof of anti-rabies vaccination. For those travelling to the UK (Finland, Ireland or Malta) from the EU, pet dogs would also have to show proof in their passports of treatment against Echinococcus multilocularis (a tapeworm species).
Part 2 listed country: this requires owners to have a valid certificate for a pet issued for each entry into the EU. This is valid for travel within the EU for four months only. The certificate must include proof of anti-rabies vaccination and the same treatment requirements for Echinococcus multilocularis as for Part 1 listed countries. Pets are only allowed to enter the EU through designated traveller ports of entry.
The EU have granted the UK Part 2 listed country status.
Under the new arrangements, you will need to obtain an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for your pet(s), obtainable from your vet.
An AHC is valid for:
- 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
- A single trip for entry to the EU
- Onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue
- Re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue.
You can read more at Animal Health Certificates.
Unlisted country: In addition to Part 2 listed country requirements the certificate must also show a valid anti-rabies titration test (to show the vaccine has been effective). This requires the vaccination for rabies to have been at least four months before the intended travel date. The test must have been carried out in an EU-approved laboratory or in a laboratory approved by one of the EU-27 Member States on a sample taken at least 30 days after vaccination and not less than three months before movement.
Further information on the detailed requirements are available from the Pet Travel Scheme helpline.