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? — 28 Comments

  1. Hi Mark – yes, your dog will need a tapeworm treatment administered by a licensed veterinarian in Latvia between one and five days of import. There should be a place on the AHC for the tapeworm (echinococcus) treatment. If not, then have your veterinarian issue proof of treatment, sign and stamp it. Susan

  2. Hi, we are currently in Latvia making our way from UK io Finland. We have a current certified AHC for our dog. We believe we need our dog treated for tapeworm and the AHC stamped by an EU (eg Latvian or Estonian) vet before catching ferry into Finland is this correct? And do what part of the SHC do they stamp/sign?

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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?

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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