Pet Travel – UK

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Pet Travel - A dog looking out of a train window

We examine the new 2021 rules on travelling with your four-legged friends

The dawn of the new year brought with it a fresh set of rules and regulations for how the UK operates and interacts with Europe and the rest of the world, not least including how we travel. However, for our four-legged friends it means a change in rules for them too!

When the UK was a member of the European Union, you were able to take your dog from the UK to the EU and back again without them having to quarantine, provided that certain conditions were met such as getting them microchipped and having a pet passport but since the 1st January 2021 these will no longer be valid and you will have to follow a different procedure in order to whizz off abroad with your tail-wagging best pal. The type of rules you have to abide with also depend on where you choose to go.

Travelling to a non-EU country

When travelling to a non- EU country, you will need to get an export health certificate (EHC) as well as complete an export application form (EXA) if you’re in England, Scotland or Wales. An EHC check that your pet meets the health requirements of the country you’re travelling to and you must choose an official vet who will be sent the EHC for them to check your pet meets the requirements. Be careful to check the rules of the country which you’re travelling to before you leave for any additional or extra requirements.

Travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland

When travelling to an EU Country or Northern Ireland you can no longer use a pet passport.

Instead, your pet will need a microchip, a valid rabies vaccination, an animal health certificate (unless you have a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland) and a tapeworm treatment for each trip for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta. These requirements also apply to assistance dogs and again, as said earlier, check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel so there’s no chance of being caught out! If you do have the travel bug and have several repeat trips to the EU or Northern Ireland planned then your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip but will not need a repeat rabies vaccination so long as they are up to date.

Travelling to GB with your dog

An EU pet passport issued in a member state is still valid to enter GB however before they enter all pets must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

Travellers from the EU and other listed third countries with pets need to wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travelling into GB.

Please note there are different requirements for pets entering from certain third countries such as a rabies blood test.

If you are travelling from countries not free from tapeworm you’ll need to take your dog to a vet for an approved tapeworm treatment.

In terms of documentation your pet must have one of the following documents:

  • an EU pet passport issued in the EU

  • the animal health certificate (AHC) issued in GB used to travel to the EU – which you can use to re-enter GB for up to 4 months after it was issued

  • a GB pet health certificate (for travel into GB only)


Your pet will not need this documentation if it’s entering GB from NI, the Channel

Islands or the Isle of Man.

What are the rules for multiple dogs?

Finally, if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of dogs you cannot take more than five of them to an EU country or Northern Ireland unless you’re attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event.

You will need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel and all your pets must be attending the event or training, be over 6 months old and meet all the other requirements for pet travel to that country.

We hope that the chances to travel easily again come soon enough and when the opportunity does then you’ll be able to be best prepared in every way.

Additional Support & Advice

Pet Travel Helpline


Telephone: 0370 241 1710 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm (closed on bank holidays)

Government Website

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