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Brexit and the pet travel scheme reading-time-icon 2 min read

When Britain officially leaves the EU, the process for travelling abroad with your pet may be altered. 

Let's take a look at the potential outcomes, and how to make sure your pet remains fit for travel no matter what is decided between Britain and the European Union. 

The situation from 23rd June 2016:

Potential Outcome 1

The UK becomes a Part 1 listed country.

If the UK ends up as a Part 1 listed country, the set-up with regards to pet passports & rabies vaccinations will remain pretty much as it is at the moment. Very little will change.

Potential Outcome 2

The UK becomes a Part 2 listed country.

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

It is expected that a model health certificate would be issued by an official veterinarian at least 21 days after the Rabies vaccination and within 10 days of travel. The certificate would be valid for 4 months for travel within the EU.

Potential Outcome 3

The UK becomes an Unlisted country.

If the UK became an unlisted country, the following requirements would need to be adhered to:

  • A blood sample would need to be taken 30 days after vaccination with Rabies.
  • Your pet would not be able to travel until they had a certificate with a required antibody titre from an approved laboratory and 3 months had elapsed since the date of blood sampling.
  • Your pet would also require a Model Health Certificate.
  • Your pet would have to enter the EU via a designated traveller's point of entry (as yet, unspecified location).

All of the above outcomes are possible, and should be considered by all pet owners when gaining Pet Passports.

Serious consideration should also be given with regards to Rabies blood sampling if you are determined 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 the 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.

How urgent is this?

In the event that the UK becomes an unlisted country after Brexit, it will take at least 3 and up to 4 months for your pet to be able to travel.

The actions required are not set in stone. However, if you have travel plans for the near future, it’s best to plan for the worst – so your pet will need the following:

  • To be fully vaccinated or boosted
  • To be free of Rabies according to their blood test
  • To get a Health Certificate

The situation from 31st January 2020:

Britain left the EU on 31st January 2020 and entered a transition period, which will end on 31st December 2020. 

During this transition period, there will be no change to the current process for taking your pet abroad. 

As we enter the year 2021, this may differ, and any of the potential outcomes listed above may be correct. But for now until the end of 2020, there's no change. 

Travelling with your pet in 2021?

The UK government is working with the EU to ensure a deal is made, making the pet travel process for 2021 onwards similar to the process already in place. 

Nothing is set in stone however, so if you plan to travel abroad with your dog, cat or ferret in early 2021, we strongly recommend you contact your vet sooner rather than later. Worst case scenario, it can take 4 months to get your pet ready for European travel, so if you planned to travel in January 2021, it's a good idea to consult your vet no later than August or early September 2020.

Need more info?

For advice on The Pet Travel Scheme, contact your local vet.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.