Pet Travel Within The EU Or To Northern Ireland
Requirements for travel to EU countries or Northern Ireland
To travel to an EU country or Northern Ireland, your pet will need:
- To be microchipped
- To be vaccinated against rabies
- To have an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued
- Treatment for tapeworm if travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta
Dogs, cats and ferrets must all be vaccinated against rabies prior to travel. They must be at least 12 weeks (about 3 months) old before the vaccine can be administered and must be microchipped prior to vaccination.
Pets cannot travel or have an AHC issued until 21 days after the rabies vaccination is given; the day of the vaccine is day 0. If booster vaccines are given within 3 years, so immunity does not lapse, this wait period only applies to the first vaccine.
Animal Health Certificate (AHC)
A new AHC must be issued for each trip abroad, however up to five pets can be listed on one certificate. The vet will need to confirm your pet’s microchip and vaccination status before completing the AHC.
From the point of issue, an Animal Health Certificate is valid for:
- 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
- 4 months for onward travel within the EU
- 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain
The AHC is a 6-9 page document in both English and the national language of the country you are travelling to. Each AHC is given a unique number at the point of issue, and your vet must complete each section before stamping and certifying every page. This is time-consuming and must be completed carefully to avoid errors. A long appointment slot is usually set aside, and you may be asked to provide information before the appointment.
Once the AHC is completed, you will be required to sign a declaration to confirm the export is not commercial. This should be signed by the owner who is travelling with the pet. If the pet will not be travelling with the owner, the person travelling with the pet will require written authorisation from the owner.
Tapeworm treatment is only required before leaving Great Britan (GB) if you are travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta with a dog. Treatment must be given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you arrive. This treatment must be signed on to the Animal Health Certificate, so it is usually given at the time the AHC is completed.
For countries other than Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway and Malta, tapeworm treatment must be administered before re-entering GB. This must be given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you arrive and must be administered and recorded by a vet in the country you are returning from.
It is essential to plan well in advance for any travel, and speak to your veterinary practice as soon as possible to ensure appointment availability.