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Vaccine Passports? Your Dog And Travelling To The EU And Northern Ireland

Did you know your current EU pet passport issued in Great Britain is no longer valid for travel to the EU or NI since 01 January 2021?

You will need to apply for an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).  Find out the ins and outs well ahead of time and remember it’s not your vet’s choice to do the AHC instead of the passport. Here is some helpful information which I have found during my research.

What your dog needs to apply for an animal health certificate

  • Your dog must be microchipped.
  • Your dog needs to be vaccinated against rabies.
  • You will need to wait 21 days after any primary vaccinations before you travel so bear this in mind when you are planning your travel and AHC appointment.

How do I get an animal health certificate?

An animal health certificate (AHC) can only be issued by an Official Veterinarian.

When you apply for an animal health certificate, you will need to take your dog, along with their vaccination and medical records including proof of rabies vaccination, to the issuing vet.

An Animal Health Certificate normally includes details of:

  • Pet owner’s details
  • Your pet’s description
  • Rabies vaccination details (your animal will need to have been vaccinated at least three weeks prior to the AHC appointment and have had a UK Rabies vaccine within the past three years)
  • Rabies blood test (as required)
  • Canine tapeworm treatment (as required)
  • Intended country of entry into the EU. (The AHC has to be issued in the language of the country in which you are entering the EU and NOT your country of destination)

Which countries do I need an animal health certificate for?

You need an animal health certificate for your dog if they’ll be travelling from the UK to an EU country.  If your pet is travelling to a non-EU country then different rules will apply (for example additional documentation or blood samples).  See www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad for government guidelines on which countries this is applicable to.

Why is an animal health certificate necessary?

An Animal Health Certificate, along with any other official documentation, is a legal requirement in order to bring your pet into the UK or take it to a European Union country without quarantine.  The primary purpose is to keep the UK free from rabies, and other foreign diseases such as those transmitted by parasites that do not exist in the UK.

Who can issue an animal health certificate?

Your Animal Health Certificate can only be issued by a vet who has been authorised by the government (an Official Veterinarian).

Who can apply for an animal health certificate?

The owner, as named in on the animal health certificate must be aged over 16.  Pets must be accompanied either by their owner or by a person authorised in writing by the owner.

How much does an animal health certificate cost?

An Animal Health Certificate costs vary from vet to vet.  I called around and it appears £150- £180 is what the going rate is.  One client I spoke to was quoted £250 to be issued a AHC by her vet, she was outraged to say the least (Any vaccinations or medications required in addition will incur additional charges).  A microchip is around £17 and will only need to be implanted once.  A Rabies vaccination around £50 – this will need to be repeated every three years to allow continual travel under the Pet Travel Scheme.

Why are some of the vets charging so much for an AHC?

The application and paperwork is extensive and has to be checked and rechecked. Apparently it only takes one letter being incorrect and they won’t accept it.  This puts a lot on pressure on the practice staff and there are smaller vet practices who simply don’t offer this service due to this reason.

*TIP : If you are travelling with friends why not put all your dogs on one application.


How long does it take to process an animal health certificate?

An animal health certificate can only be issued ten days prior to travel (ie: you will have 10 days to use it to leave this country).  Please bear in mind that travel to some countries require blood tests and additional treatments, and in these cases, travel certification can take significantly longer to prepare and issue.  NB: You must book your AHC appointment for a minimum of 21 days after vaccination, documents cannot be signed earlier than this. The certificate is valid for 10 days after signing.

How long is the animal health certificate valid for?

Animal health certificates can then be used for travel between EU countries (including the UK) for up to four months from the date your animal enters the EU.

How old does my pet have to be to get their animal health certificate?

The EU Regulation requires dogs to be at least 12 weeks old when vaccinated.  Whilst some EU countries will allow young, unvaccinated pets to travel (subject to certain conditions) the UK does not permit this.  This means no pet can enter the UK unless they are 15 weeks old (12 weeks and 21-day wait).

How many pets can one person apply for animal health certificates for?

The owner or authorised person can only be accompanied by a maximum of five pets.  You cannot take more than 5 pets to an EU country or NI unless you’re attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event.  You’ll need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel.

Where can I get pet travel advice from?

Specific requirements for individual countries can be found by contacting the Animal Plant and Health Agency on 0370 241 1710.

You can read more about Animal health certificates and pet travel at www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad

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