Brexit and the Pet Travel Scheme (Pet Passport)

When Britain leaves the EU on 31st December 2020 there are three potential outcomes for the UK to be ‘listed’ with regard to pets travelling abroad.

The UK government has applied to the European Commission to be a “listed country“. If we are successful in becoming listed the following outcomes will most likely apply, although full details have not yet been agreed

Part 1 Listed

If the UK ends up as a part 1 listed country then the set up with regard to pet passports and rabies vaccinations will remain as it is at the moment. Very little will change.

Part 2 Listed

If the UK ends up as a part 2 listed country then all the current passport regulations would still apply but pets would also require a Model Health Certificate to travel.

It is expected that a model health certificate would be issued by an official vet at least 21 days post rabies vaccination and within 10 days of travel. The certificate would be valid for 4 months for travel within the EU, although these details have not yet been agreed.

If the government are unsuccessful in becoming listed then the UK will then become an unlisted country


If this is the case the following will apply:

  1. You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped.
  2. Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated.
  3. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination. We may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test if the last vaccination was some months or years ago.
  4. Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  5. You must wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel.
  6. We will give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC).
  7. An AHC must be signed by an official vet no more than 10 days before travel
  8. The AHC will be valid for :
    – 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
    – onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue
    – re-entry to Great Britain for 4 months after the date of issue
  9. 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.
  10. If a pet holds a passport issued within an EU member state and with a successful blood test taken within the EU member state before 1st January 2021, that pet can continue to travel to the EU on this documentation as long as the rabies vaccine is kept within date. For an EU issued passport, with a blood test taken in the UK, 3 months after a successful blood test must elapse before return to the EU.

Return to Great Britain

There will be no change to the current health preparations for pets entering Great Britain from the EU from 1 January 2021.One of the following documents must be presented when returning to Great Britain:

  • an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or in the UK before 1 January 2021)
  • the AHC issued in Great Britain used to travel to the EU (which you can use up to 4 months after it was issued)
  • a UK pet health certificate (for travel into the UK only)

What does this all mean?

All of the above outcomes are possible. If we become unlisted this can take a minimum of 4 months to set up. Serious consideration should also be given to rabies blood sampling if you need to take your pets away with you after Brexit. It may be sensible for you to have the blood test carried out in case the UK becomes unlisted.

The risk of this strategy is that you may have the blood test done and
then find out it was unnecessary if the UK becomes a Part 1 or 2 listed country.