The final rules for pet travel have been the subject of ongoing discussions.
A Defra press release published on 16 December 2020, the Government announced that the UK will have part 2 listed status from 1 January 2021 which means new rules will apply for pets travelling to Europe. The Government also stated that it is continuing to press the European Commission to secure Part 1 listed status.

Further details of the new requirements and the different options available during the negotiation process are set out in this briefing paper. For the latest updates on current requirements please refer to section 2.

  1. The PETS travel scheme
    The EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows residents in EU Member States to travel freely with their cats, dogs and ferrets within the EU as long as they meet the requirements set out in the pet passport scheme. These include requiring pets to be microchipped and be up to date on rabies vaccinations. Crucially there is no further requirement for blood tests to prove rabies immunity, which can delay travel for up to four months.
  2. Regulations set out that pets must:
    • be microchipped before rabies vaccination;
    • be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel, pets must be at least 12 weeks old before receiving the rabies vaccination on the scheme;
    • have a valid EU pet passport;
    • travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route;
    • Dogs entering the UK, Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta must be treated for tapeworms by a vet with a product containing praziquantel (or equivalent) no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (between 1 and 5 days) before its arrival in the UK.
    Further information on the detailed requirements are available from the Pet Travel Scheme helpline.
  3. Leaving the EU
    Following Brexit, the ability of both UK and EU resident pet owners to travel between the UK and the EU will be affected.
    The UK leaving the EU means it will at some stage become a “third country” for the purposes of pet travel. The EU has a three-tier system for the movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets from third countries to Member States: Part 1 listed country, Part 2 listed country and Unlisted. Being a listed country allows for several exemptions from the requirements for animals travelling from non-EU countries to EU Member States.

    Part 1 listed country: this requires owners to have a completed third-country pet passport, which must include proof of anti-rabies vaccination. For those travelling to Finland, Ireland or
    Malta, pet dogs will also have to show proof in their passports of treatment against Echinococcus multilocularis (a tapeworm species). Currently this is also a requirement for entry into the UK from the EU. There are 11 Part 1 listed countries, including countries such as Switzerland and Norway.
    Part 2 listed country: this requires owners to have a valid certificate for a pet issued for each entry into the EU. This is valid for travel within the EU for four months only. The certificate must include proof of anti-rabies vaccination and the same treatment requirements for Echinococcus multilocularis as for Part 1 listed countries. Pets are only allowed to enter the EU through designated traveller ports of entry. There are 44 Part 2 listed countries, including countries such as Canada and Argentina.
    Unlisted country: In addition to Part 2 listed country requirements the certificate must also show a valid anti-rabies titration test (to show the vaccine has been effective). This requires the vaccination for rabies to have been at least four months before the intended travel date:
    The test must have been carried out in an EU-approved laboratory or in a laboratory approved by one of the EU-27 Member States on a sample taken at least 30 days after vaccination and not less than three months before movement.
    1 British Veterinary Association, Pet Travel [website visited 23 July 2019] 2 EU Commission, Notice on travelling between the EU and the United Kingdom following withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, 13 November 2018.
  4. Part 2 listed Status Agreed
    On 16 December 2020, the Government announced that the UK would have Part 2 listed status from 1 January 2020 and outlined the new rules for pet travel. The Government has also stated its intention to continue to press the European Commission for Part 1 listed status.
    3.1 Travel to the EU
    The agreement means that people travelling with pets from Great Britain to the EU and Northern Ireland will have to follow new requirements. However, in the announcement, the Government stated that the only new requirement for travel to the EU will be the use of a certificate instead of a passport.
    Before taking their dog, cat or ferret to the EU for the first time after 1 January 2021, pet owners must complete the following steps. The only new requirement for travel to the EU is the use of a certificate, rather than a pet passport:
    • Ensure their dog, cat or ferret is microchipped.
    • Ensure that their dog, cat or ferret is vaccinated against rabies – pets must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated.
    • Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel
    • Dogs must be treated against tapeworm 24-120 hours before landing, if they are travelling to a tapeworm free country.
    • Visit their vet to get an animal health certificate (AHC) for their pet, no more than 10 days before travel to the EU.
    Pets and assistance dogs will also need to enter the EU through a travellers’ point of entry (TPE), which includes all the major French ports such as Calais, Caen and Dunkirk.3

    Further Government guidance on pet travel to the EU and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021 is available online.
  5. Anyone with any concerns about how any changes due to Brexit may affect them should contact the helpline or ask their veterinary surgeon for advice.
    Pet Travel Scheme helpline, [email protected] , Telephone: 0370 241 1710.