• Age in Spain team

Pet travel after Brexit - from the UK to Spain

Travelling with your pet in Europe has become such a natural thing to do. But with the transition period coming to an end by 31 December 2020, the UK will become what is called a Third Country in relation to the EU and, therefore, the rules on pet travel for UK nationals will change.

We still do not know exactly what will happen. There are currently three scenarios that you might encounter depending on the agreement reached with the EU.The UK could become a Part 1 country or a Part 2 country or, if there is no deal that includes pet travel, an Unlisted country.

In this post, we look at what you can expect under these scenarios as a pet owner who is travelling from the UK to Spain. This information applies irrespective of which EU country you first enter with your pet after leaving the UK. So if you travel from the UK, to France and then on to Spain, the rules are the same as if you travel from the UK to Spain directly by ferry or air for example.

To make sure your pet is able to travel from the UK to the EU from 1 January 2021, the British government recommends that you contact your vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.

Becoming a Part 1 listed country

If the UK becomes a Part 1 listed country, you will need to have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel to the EU from the UK. With a UK pet passport, you and your pet will be able to travel to the EU for the pet’s lifetime as long as its rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.

Becoming a Part 2 listed country

If the UK becomes a Part 2 listed country, you will need to get your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel and dogs have to have the tapeworm treatment. You will also need to visit the vet with your pet, no more than 10 days before travelling to the EU to get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) that confirms that your pet has the required microchip and vaccinations.

You will have to get a new AHC for every trip to the EU. On arrival in the EU country, you will have to enter through the designated Traveller’s Point of Entry (TPE). A TPE is a designated point where your pet’s AHC will be checked to confirm compliance with the PETS regulations (microchip, blood test results and tapeworm treatment if required) You can find the full list of Traveller’s Points of Entry here.

What will happen if there is no deal? Unlisted country status.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal which includes pet travel, the UK will become an unlisted country for the EU Pet Travel Scheme. This will mean that EU pet passports issued in the UK will not be valid for travel to the EU anymore. Instead, you, as the owner, will have to do the following before leaving the UK with your pet.

First, you need to visit an official vet to make sure your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. At least 30 days after the most recent rabies vaccination you will also need to have a blood test done which is verified by an EU-approved laboratory.

Your vet will then have to note the blood sample results on an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) at least 10 days before the trip. The AHC will be valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU, and for 4 months for onward travel within the EU, as well as for re-entry to the UK. A new AHC will be necessary for each trip to the EU.

When you reach your EU destination country from the UK, you will have to go through a Traveller’s Point of Entry (TPE).

UK nationals with pets who live in the EU

If you have an EU pet passport issued by an EU Member State, it can be used to travel to other EU countries or to bring the pet back to the UK. But if the pet has a UK-issued pet passport, you need to check with a vet whether it is compliant with EU Pet Travel Regulations. For most people residing in an EU country the UK Government recommends that you register your pet with an EU pet passport from the EU country where you live before the end of 2020.

Be prepared!

At the time of writing, there is still no certainty about which of the three above scenarios will apply for pet travel after 31 December 2020. If you live in the EU or travel often between the UK and the EU with your pet, one way to be prepared is to get an EU pet passport from your host EU country.

And most importantly, find an official vet that can guide you through the process and give you proper guidance. Check this website for details of official vets.

The UK Government has a useful helpline for pet owners:

  • Email: pettravel@apha.gov.uk

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

And visit this website for regularly updated information.

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