Brexit and Pet Travel – How will it affect your pet?

Brexit and Pet Travel - how will it affect your pet?
Courtesy of Alian Audet, Pixabay

There is no arguing that Brexit will have a substantial effect on many aspects of British trade and relations with the European Union (EU). Since the inception of the EU in 1993, the United Kingdom (UK) has enjoyed a congenial relationship with the EU in terms of trade and commerce. This includes regulations for pet import and export which are currently set by EU legislation. The UK has left the EU and is currently in the process of negotiations which will cease at the end of 2020. During these negotiations, regulations regarding pet import and export have remained the same as they were before the split. What will happen to Brexit and pet travel once 2021 arrives?

What are the current regulations?

Current regulations regarding the import of live animals between the UK and the EU will preside until the end of 2020. The EU will honor UK Pet Passports issued to UK-resident pets (and visa versa). Pets traveling between the EU and UK will be required to have an EU or UK pet passport. The passport must reflect proof of microchip and current rabies vaccination. For those pets bound for the UK, they must also have a tapeworm test administered by a licensed veterinarian. More details on importing a pet to the United Kingdom.

Things are going to change soon. As the largest animal welfare charity in the UK, the RSPCA, warns, a no-deal scenario (see option 3 below) will cause significant issues when it comes to Brexit and pet travel.

Update (December 2020)

The EU Commission has classified the United Kingdom as a Part 2 Listed Third Country. Option 2 below will apply. No titer test will be required to enter the European Union from the United Kingdom.

What are the possibilities?

Basically, one of three things can happen that will affect pet transport regulations between the UK and EU differently:

  1. The UK will reach a ratified deal with the EU which classifies them as a “Part 1 listed country.” If this is the case, the regulations will remain basically the same to import your pet to the EU from the UK. The UK Pet Passport will remain recognized as an authorized document in the EU. The bad news is that indications are not favorable for this option at the moment.
  2. The UK will reach a ratified deal with the EU which classifies them as a “Part 2 listed country” or “Third country. This classification is similar to other rabies-controlled countries outside of the EU such as the United States or Canada. Pets entering the EU from the UK will require a microchip, rabies vaccination, an EU health certificate. The certificate must be issued by a licensed veterinarian. It must also be endorsed by a government veterinarian in the originating country within 10 days of import. The certificate will be valid to enter any EU Member State for 4 months or until your pet’s rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first*. This option appears likely as negotiations proceed.
    *Note that several EU Member States have additional tapeworm requirements. (UK, Ireland, Norway, Finland and Malta)
  3. The UK withdraws from the EU with no ratified deal. In this case, the UK becomes a “non-listed country.” This is definitely a worst-case scenario for pet owners. All dogs, cats and ferrets entering the EU from the UK will require a rabies titer test (FAVN). The test must be administered more than 30 days after the rabies vaccination. You pet can enter the EU more than 3 months after the blood is drawn for the test. It will take 4 months to prepare if your pet is not currently chipped or vaccinated for rabies.

    One bright bit of good news for EU-resident pets wanting to visit the UK and return to the EU. The 3 month wait will not apply if the FAVN test is done before leaving the EU. Results must be recorded in your pet’s EU Pet Passport.

    Here is another bit if good news. The EU will consider the FAVN test valid for the life of your pet if 3 rules are followed:
  • The test is done according to EU regulations.
  • The blood sample is proessed in an EU-approved laboratory.
  • No rabies vaccinations expire prior to boosters shots being received.

What about importing a pet to the UK?

Regardless of which option occurs, the UK has indicated few changes to their import regulations. The UK will still honor EU Pet Passports. If your pet is entering the UK from outside of the EU, then a GB Health Certificate will be required.

The UK will continue to require FAVN tests for pets entering from high-rabies countries.

Related: Can my pet fly to the UK in the cabin?

Ferry and train travel between the UK and the EU will continue to be an approved method of entering the UK.

How Brexit and pet travel will evolve is anyone’s guess. The only thing that is we know is that changes are coming. As a responsible pet owner, you should be prepared for these changes if your pet will be traveling after December 31, 2020.

Pet import regulations to enter the UK and over 200 countries worldwide can be found at


Brexit and Pet Travel – How will it affect your pet? — 26 Comments

  1. We are travelling to France (Folkestone to Calais) but then into Belgium for the first 5 days and back into France with our 3 year old dog. We know that he will require a rabies vaccination and a health certoficate as qell as a microchip to travel to france but is it any different in Belgium? We are finding it difficult to get clear information on line

  2. Hello Elena – before leaving the UK, you will need to see an Official Veterinarian to have an Animal Health Certificate issued within 10 days of travel. This direction assumes that your pet does not have a current EU Pet Passport issued in the EU. the AHC that that the OV issues will be what you need to enter Switzerland and is valid for 4 months after issuance or until your pet’s rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first, to travel within the EU or return to the UK. Your dog will need a tapeworm treatment administered by a veterinarian in Switzerland or the EU between one and five days before re-entering the UK. You can find regulations for your dog to enter Switzerland here: and to reenter the UK here: Susan

  3. Good morning,
    We going on holiday April this year from United Kingdom to Switczerland(Geneva) by car and taking our dog with us. But we cant find correct information what our dog require to entry Switzerland(we are aware he have to be microchiped, rabbies vaccine and Animal Healty Certificate). As Switzerland not EU do we have to have any other documents? Maybe you have a correct information please?

  4. Ask your ferry company for their requirements. Proof of microchip, rabies vaccination (certificate or UK Pet Passport) and health check is maximum you will need but your ferry company may have other documentation they are expecting. Susan

  5. We want to take our dog with us on a camping holiday from mainland UK to the Isle of Man. What documents will we need for her? We will be sailing by ferry. It’s May now and we want to go early July.

  6. Cyndi – Canada does not require that puppies traveling with their owners under 3 months of age be vaccinated for rabies. That said, you will need to check to see what the export requirements are for your origination country.

  7. The air lines says a young pet 8 weeks and older can travel, with a fit for travel certificate. It does not mention rabies or 21 day quarantine to travel to Canada

  8. James – due to procedures once on the ground in the UK, no commercial airline that is approved to import pets to the UK will fly them in the cabin. If you want to avoid that requirement, then you will need to enter the UK by ferry or on Le Shuttle out of Calais. Know that most ferries will require that you ride in a vehicle when using the ferry or Le Shuttle. DFDS ferry is pet friendly and they may be able to accommodate foot traffic on one or more of their ferries.

  9. We want to take our dog with us from Norway to Scotland as cabin baggage,
    She has a passport
    Certificate of vaccination
    As the UK is not now EU, will this create a problem.
    What airlines will be best to use

  10. Matt – if your pet has an EU Pet Passport, get your pet vaccinated for rabies in the EU. With your pet’s current vaccination recorded in an EU Pet Passport, it will not need an Export Health Certificate to travel between the UK and EU.

  11. Basically, if you are in the UK and you have a valid EU pet passport, a vet can’t put rabies vaccination on it, so you must buy an EU health certificate anyway. But, a vet in EU can add tapeworm vaccination. Interesting.

    And that EU health certificate is being sold at over £250 and it lasts only 4 months!! With all respect, it’s a legalised rip-off. And you still have to pay for rabies vaccination, so just to bring your dog with you in France for some day, you could end up paying over £300, £400 for two and so on. Having a pet is benefit for the riches now.

  12. I intend to drive from home in the UK through Eurotunnel to the French Alps, along with my pet Cockapoo what exactly do i need to do to make the journey safe for my pet.

  13. HI Angela – all commercial airlines that are approved to fly live animals into the UK require that pets enter as air cargo due to handling procedures once on the ground. Air cargo is a more expensive means of transport than checked baggage. There are several alternatives. You can fly into Amsterdam and take DFDS ferry to Newcastle. They have pet friendly cabins to reserve. Or you can fly to Paris and take the train to Calais and take Le Shuttle through the Chunnel to Folkestone. Although this is the faster of the 2 options, you and your cat will need to ride in a vehicle to ride on Le Shuttle. You can have friends/family pick you up in Calais or you can try a service like Folkestone Taxi or Pet Movers to come and pick you up.

  14. Hello, I want to enter to UK with my cat from a EU country. Due to Brexit my cat can?t be with me on the airplane and I was told I that my cat should be on cargo and I should pay 1000?. Is there any other affordable solution?

  15. Athena – likely has something to do with the fact that the UK is no longer an EU Member State? Calais is an approved Border Inspection Post for France. Health certificate is required to enter the EU, so this is a decision implemented by Le Shuttle. How about a ferry?

  16. Hello I’m very confused.ive been using euro le shuttle for four years back and forth to Spain by car via France with my one rabbit.
    I rang Euro tunnel today and I was told devastating news that I could get my rabbit back into UK but not then back to Spain where we this true,as on euro tunnel web page that’s what it says on the carraige of animals .is there any thing I can do ?

  17. Julie – depends on whether all their rabies vaccinations are entered into their Dutch Pet Passports. If not, then they will need EU health certificates for these vaccinations.

  18. If my dogs have Dutch issued passports (as well as UK issued) & and are titre tested, will I still need UK issued health certificates?

  19. I have a Persian cat and I am interested to travel abroad and I want to take my lovely pet with me I looked at the conditions but I want to be sure about the current conditions to follow all of them in a good way I need an advice to know exactly what I should do to take my pet with me

  20. Bernadette – the UK has indicated that no changes will be made to regulations for pets entering the UK after the end of Brexit negotiations except for the health certificate. The new health certificate has not yet been issued. Because agreements between US Military are between the US and the EU and have not, to our knowledge, been renegotiated with the UK, military and government veterinarians in the United States will no longer be authorized to endorse health certificates for the United Kingdom after the end of 2020. All health certificates for pet owners in the military must be endorsed by USDA State Offices when originating in the United States.

  21. Traveling with our dog from the US to the UK on 4 Jan 2021. Will a blood test be required, and will the Official Veterinary Certificate of the US be allowed, or will we have to try to find the UK certificate (provided it is published by then). Also, i read somewhere that the UK was no longer going to take Official Certificates from Military Vets in the US…have you seen this?

  22. Craig – assuming you are located in the UK, if the UK withdraws from the EU with no ratified deal, it may be classified as a high-rabies country. (At this point, no one knows what will happen.) What this means is that a rabies titer test must be done 3 months ahead of travel for pets entering the EU from the UK. The clock starts ticking the day the blood is taken for the test. The waiver of the 3 month wait will be for EU resident pets who get the test done and recorded in an EU Pet Passport. A UK Pet Passport will no longer be accepted in the EU; the EU health certificate will be required, so the waiver of the 3 month wait will not apply to UK pets entering the EU. The waiver can be applied to EU pets entering the UK, then returning to the EU.

  23. My dog requires a rabies booster and after 30 days a blood test.
    This blood test will be done on the 21st October 2019 (10 days before Brexit we are still in the EU) if a blood test is done in an EU country you don’t need to wait 3 months (21st October,2019 UK is still in the EU)
    So does the 3 months begin after the 31st October?
    I have been told no one knows this is the million dollar question???????

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