What does Brexit mean for travelling abroad with our pets?


17 December 2020
Many things will change for us now that 2021 has arrived and, as Brexit concludes, the RSPCA is reminding pet owners to check to see whether the new rules will affect their future holiday plans.

The UK* now has Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme and this means that from January 1, 2021 you’ll need to follow a new set of rules if you want to take your pet abroad to Northern Ireland or countries within the EU.

David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “A lot will change from 1 January including changes to travel rules for people and for pets. Pet passports will no longer be valid and anyone who wants to take their pet abroad from Great Britain to Europe and Northern Ireland will need a new animal health certificate from their vet each time they wish to travel abroad.

“We know a lot of people take their pets abroad to compete in shows and competitions, and others like to include their pet when they go on holiday. It’ll still be possible to do all of these things as you do now, but you will need to apply for different certificates and paperwork so we’d always advise owners to take this into account long before departing.”

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New travel rules for pets at a glance:

  • Pet passports will no longer be valid for pet owners wishing to travel from England, Scotland and Wales;
  • If you want to take your cat, dog or ferret abroad from Great Britain to Northern Ireland or a country within the EU then you’ll need an animal health certificate from your vet (valid for one journey for up to four months);
  • These certificates will include details of a rabies vaccination (taking 21 days) and, if you’re travelling to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, your pet will also need to be treated against Echinococcus;
  • If you’re travelling from the EU into Great Britain then you’ll need a pet passport and there will be no changes until 1 Jul when you’ll have to use a designated point of entry;
  • If you’re travelling from Northern Ireland into the UK then you won’t need a passport or health certificate (as we’re in the same Customs Union) but you will need one to return.

For more information about going on holiday with your pet, visit www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/holiday

*England, Wales and Scotland (excluding Northern Ireland which is part of the EU's SPS area).