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UPDATE: New rules on pet travel as UK granted ‘listed status’ by EU

The rules for travellers bringing pets from the UK into the EU will change in January but the decision to grant the UK 'listed status' means things won't be as complicated as they might have been. Here's what we know so far about the new rules.

UPDATE: New rules on pet travel as UK granted 'listed status' by EU
Photo: AFP

Travellers from Britain wanting to take their dogs, cats or ferrets with them on a trip to the EU next year had long been warned that Brexit meant things would get a lot more complicated.

With the end of the UK's participation in the EU pet passport scheme animal owners were warned to contact their vets four months before their trip to take the necessary steps for travel, including getting a blood antibody test for the pet.

But with the EU confirming that it is in favour of granting the UK “part 2 listed status” for the purpose of non-commercial pet travel after the end of the transition period, things should be slightly more straightforward, although travelling with animals won't be as easy as it has been.

READ ALSO What Brits in Europe need to know about travel after January 1st

Being granted “part 2 listed status” means pet owners still need to get hold of an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from an accredited vet prior to travel.

Unlike the old system where pets got a passport, now a new certificate will be required for each trip.

Here's what we know so far about the new rules under part 2 listed status.

  • All pet owners from the UK will need an AHC for travel after January 1st 2021.
  • Vets in the UK can start issuing AHC's from December 22nd 2020.
  • To get an AHC pet owners must take proof of their pet’s microchipping date, pet’s vaccination history.
  • Pets will be need to be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel
  • An AHC is valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
  • The certificate is valid for a single trip to the EU
  • It is valid for onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue
  • The AHC is valid for re-entry to GB for 4 months after the date of issue.
  • AHCs are available as dual-language certificates written in both English and the official language of each EU country, so pet owners should ask the vet for the appropriate language certificate depending on where they are visiting.

Travelling from the EU to the UK will be easier because the UK has stated that for the moment it will continue to accept EU Pet Passports issued before January 2021. Your Pet Passport and microchip information will be checked at the border.

An Animal Health Certificate issued within four months will also be valid for re-entry to the UK.

If you have a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you can use it to bring your pet to Great Britain and to return to the EU, as long as your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.

A UK government spokesperson said: “With the EU granting ‘part 2’ listed third-country status for pet travel between Great Britain and the EU, further guidance on pet travel will be published shortly.”

The Local will update these rules when more information is made available by the British government.

*This article has been amended since it was first published to remove mention that pet owners needed “a rabies antibody blood test result (taken at least 21 days after getting the rabies vaccine)”. This is in fact only the case if the UK were an unlisted country.

 

 

Member comments

  1. We have also done this trip, and like the author found it painless. At Holyhead despite being in a French registered car we were waved through. You do not need any treatment to take a dog from Ireland to the UK, just from France to the UK or from the EU to hte UK.

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BREXIT

Anger grows as no solution found yet for in limbo UK drivers in Spain 

British drivers living in Spain are becoming increasingly disgruntled at the lack of solutions two weeks after they were told their UK licences were no longer valid, with the latest update from the UK Embassy suggesting it could still take "weeks" to reach a deal. 

Anger grows as no solution found yet for in limbo UK drivers in Spain 

There is growing discontent among UK licence holders residing in Spain who are currently in limbo, unable to drive in Spain until they either get a Spanish driving licence or a deal is finally reached between Spanish and UK authorities for the mutual exchange of licences post-Brexit.

Since May 1st 2022, drivers who’ve been residents in Spain for more than six months and who weren’t able to exchange their UK licences for Spanish ones cannot drive in Spain.

There are no official stats on how many Britons of the 407,000 UK nationals who are residents in Spain in 2022 are affected; according to the UK Embassy the “majority exchanged” as advised.

But judging by the amount of negative comments the last two updates from the British Embassy in Madrid have received, hundreds if not thousands are stuck without being able to drive in Spain.  

May 12th’s video message by Ambassador Hugh Elliott left many unhappy with the fact that the forecast for a possible licence exchange agreement will be in the “coming weeks”, when two weeks earlier Elliott had spoken of “rapidly accelerating talks”. 

Dozens of angry responses spoke of the “shocking” and “absolutely ridiculous” holdup in negotiations that have been ongoing for more than at least a year and a half, and which the UK Embassy has put down to the fact that Spain is asking the British government to give them access to DVLA driver data such as road offences, something “not requested by other EU Member States”.

Numerous Britons have explained the setbacks not being able to drive in Spain are causing them, from losing their independence to struggling to go to work, the hospital or the supermarket, especially those in rural areas with little public transport.  

“I know personally from all the messages you’ve sent in, just how incredibly disruptive all of this is for many of you,” Elliott said in response. 

“If you are struggling to get around you may find additional advice or support from your local town hall, or charities or community groups in your area and the Support in Spain website is another very useful source of organisations that can provide general support to residents.

“And if your inability to drive is putting you in a very vulnerable situation, you can always contact your nearest consulate for advice.”

There continue to be disparaging opinions in the British community in Spain over whether any pity should be felt for UK licence holders stuck without driving, as many argue they had enough time to register intent to exchange their licences, whilst others clarify that their particular set of circumstances, such as arriving after the December 2020 ‘intent to exchange’ deadline, made this impossible. 

OPINION: Not all Brits in Spain who didn’t exchange UK driving licences are at fault

So is there any light at the end of the tunnel for drivers whose UK licences aren’t valid anymore in Spain or soon won’t be?

“The agreement we’re working towards now will enable UK licence holders, whenever they arrived in Spain or arrive in the future, to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one without needing to take a practical or a theory test,” Elliott said on Thursday May 12th of the deal they are “fully committed” to achieve.

READ ALSO: How much does it cost to get a Spanish driving licence?

And yet it’s hard for anyone to rest their hopes on this necessarily happening – sooner or later or ever – in part because the embassy advice for those with UK licences for whom it’s imperative to continue driving in Spain is that they should take steps to get their Spanish licence now, while acknowledging that in some places there are “long delays for lessons” and getting your Spanish licence “doesn’t happen overnight”.

READ ALSO: What now for UK licence holders in Spain?

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