What happens to pet travel after Brexit?

This article concerns pet travel from the UK to the EU. Right now, at the date of this article, nobody knows what will happen to pet travel after Brexit because there is yet to be an entire agreement between the EU and UK negotiators on the relationship between the UK and the EU from 1 January 2021. Basically, you’ll just have to wait until either an agreement is reached or it isn’t. Without an agreement pet travel from 1st Jan 2021 will be much more troublesome.

Pet passport
Pet passport. Picture in the public domain.
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Agreement is reached

If an agreement is reached it is likely that the UK would become a “part 1 listed” country. In which case the current Pet Passport rules apply with a different type of passport. The system would be similar to the one enjoyed at present. It would allow dogs, cats and ferrets to cross borders without quarantine. Other non-EU countries of the same status in respect of pet ownership had been granted “part 1 listed” status such as Switzerland and Iceland and therefore I would expect the UK to be in this category.

The problem is that in the Brexit negotiations everything has to be agreed or nothing is agreed. The UK has been waiting for a decision about pet passports for at least two years. But I would expect a positive outcome and the UK to be a part 1 listed country. To be clear, I would expect and hope that the current system would more or less apply unchanged from 1 January 2021 but watch this space.

Agreement is not reached

If the Brexit negotiations do not end with a full agreement the UK would not be a part 1 listed country, which would mean the UK becoming an ‘unlisted country’ and the current EU pet passport issued in the UK would not be valid for travel to the EU from 1 January 2021. You would have to complete a list of six steps as set out on the UK government’s website in which I have republished below:

  1. You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped.
  2. Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated.
  3. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination (from a current series of vaccinations). Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.
  4. Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  5. Wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel.
  6. The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC).

In addition you would have to take your cat, dog or ferret to your veterinarian no more than ten days before travel to get an AHC. You’d need proof of your companion animal’s micro-chipping date, vaccination history and a successful rabies antibody blood test results. It would be valid for ten days after the date of issue into the EU. I would advise people to go to the government website for further details on this.

I think it’s unhelpful to write further on the topic until we know the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. It is going down to the wire as expected. Fishing rights are the primary stubbling block apparently. The EU want a lot of access to British waters from 1st January 2021 and Britain wants to exercise their rights over those waters in the usual way. It is a chance to rebuild British fishing which has been decimated by being an EU member. There is a lot of lobbying on both sides.

Personally, I expect an agreement to be reached because it is in the interests of both parties in which case pet travel will be pretty much the same as it is now.

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