Taking Your Pet Abroad

Travelling to Europe from 1st January 2021


From 1st January 2021 the rules for travelling to EU countries with your pet will change. You should start the process at least 4 months before you

 travel. The UK will become a third country from 1st January 2021. Third countries can apply to the European Commission to be listed. Pet travel requirements will change depending on what category the UK becomes on 1st January 2021, which hasn’t been decided yet. To make sure your pet is able to travel from the UK to the EU from 1st January 2021, you should check on “” or contact your Vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice. For now, before your dog, cat or ferret can travel, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.
  2. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its last rabies vaccination (whether that’s a booster or initial vaccination). Your Vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.
  3. Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to a to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  4. Wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel.
  5. 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).
You will not be able to travel with your pet if you have not completed these steps. If the blood test result is not successful, you’ll need a repeat vaccination and another blood test taken at least 30 days after the repeat vaccination.
  1. You must also take your pet to your Vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an AHC. (The AHC needs to be signed by an official Vet).
  2. You must take proof of:
    1. your pet’s vaccination history
    2. your pet’s microchipping date
    3. a successful rabies antibody blood test result
    4. your pet’s AHC will be valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
    5. onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue
    6. re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue

Travelling to Finland, Republic of Ireland or Malta

If you’re travelling with your dog directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland or Malta, it must have treatment against tapeworm one to 5 days before arriving in one of those countries (Echinococcus multilocularis). Your Vet must enter full details on the AHC following treatment.

Entry rules for pets entering the UK from unlisted non-EU countries to Europe from 1 January 2021

What has to be doneCurrentlyFrom 1 January 2021
Rabies vaccinationYesYes
DocumentationYes, Pet PassportYes, possible Third Country Certificate (yet to be decided)
Blood test (dogs and cats)NoYes, blood sample taken at least 30 days after vaccination.
Pre-entry waiting periodYesYes
Length of waiting period before entry to the UK21 days after vaccination against rabies3 months from date sample taken for blood test (4 months from vaccination)
Tapeworm treatmentYes (1 to 5 days before embarkation)Yes (1 to 5 days before embarkation)

Arriving in the EU

On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated Travellers’ point of entry (TPE). At the TPE, you may need to present proof of:
  1. your pet’s microchip
  2. rabies vaccination
  3. successful blood test results
  4. tapeworm treatment (if required)
  5. your pet’s health certificate

Repeat trips to the EU

Your pet will need a new health certificate for each trip to the EU. To get a new health certificate, you must take your pet to an official Vet no more than 10 days before you travel. Again, you must show proof of your pet’s:
  1. microchipping date
  2. rabies vaccination history
  3. successful rabies antibody blood test result
  4. Pets do not need a repeat blood test before travelling again if they have:
    1. had a successful blood test
    2. an up-to-date subsequent rabies vaccination history
You’ll need tapeworm treatment if you’re travelling to Malta, Republic of Ireland or Finland.

Return to the UK

There will be no change to the current health preparations for pets entering Great Britain from the EU from 1 January 2021. Your pet must have one of the following documents when returning to the UK:
  1. an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or the UK before 1 January 2021)
  2. the AHC emitted in the UK used to travel to the EU (which you can use up to 4 months after it was issued)
  3.  a UK pet health certificate (for travel into the UK only)
Check the routes before you travel. You must travel using approved roads. Your documents and microchip will be checked when entering England, Scotland or Wales (Great Britain). Different rules apply in Northern Ireland. Owners of assistance animals do not have to travel on approved routes. You do not have to travel on an approved route if you travel to Great Britain from:
  • other UK countries
  • the Channel Islands
  • the Isle of Man
  • the Republic of Ireland
Talk to your Vet about what preparations you need to make before you travel from these places.

Travel from countries not free from tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis)

You need to take your dog to a vet no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before entering the UK, for approved tapeworm treatment. This requirement will not change after 1 January 2021. You do not need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re coming directly to the UK from Finland, Republic of Ireland or Malta.

Other considerations

  • Take your pet for a health check by your vet in advance of your journey. Get advice from your vet on pregnant animals.
  • Speak to the carrier in advance to ascertain the conditions that your pet will travel in and to ensure that you have the required paperwork.
  • Do not use sedatives unless advised by a vet.
  • Give your pet only a light meal about 2 hours before travel.
  • Check with the carrier that your pet will have full and constant access to fresh water.
  • Use a container which enables your pet to stand, sit and lie down in a natural position, and to turn around quickly. The box should contain absorbent bedding and provide ample ventilation. A familiar toy can help your pet get used to the container.
  • Ensure that your pet will not be exposed to extreme temperatures.
  • Try and match your pets sleeping patterns by travelling overnight where possible.

If the UK becomes a listed third country

Third countries can apply to the European Commission to be listed under either Part 1 or Part 2 of EU Pet Travel Regulations. Part 1 listed countries operate under similar rules as EU member states. You’ll need to obtain documents from an official vet that will replace the EU pet passport. The type of paper you need depends on whether the UK becomes a Part 1 or Part 2 listed country.

Pet travel helpline

Contact the pet travel helpline if you need more help:
Email: Telephone: 0370 241 1710 • Monday to Friday • 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (closed on bank holidays)