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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

UK driving licences in Spain: When no news is bad news

The UK Ambassador to Spain has given an update on the driving licence debacle, with nothing new to genuinely give hope to the thousands of in-limbo drivers whose increasing frustration has led one group to try and take matters into their own hands.

UK driving licences in Spain: When no news is bad news

It’s been almost five months since UK driving licence holders residing in Spain were told they could no longer drive on Spanish roads. 

Since that fateful May 1st, an unnamed number of the approximately 400,000 UK nationals who are residents in Spain, as well as hundreds if not thousands of Spaniards and foreign nationals who passed their driving test in the UK, have not been able to use their vehicles in Spain or even rent one. 

What adds insult to injury is that British tourists visiting Spain can rent a car without any issue. The fact that Spanish licence holders living in the UK can also continue to exchange their permits in the UK 21 months after Brexit came into force is equally hard to swallow.

READ MORE: ‘An avoidable nightmare’ – How UK licence holders in Spain are affected by driving debacle

The latest update from UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott on September 27th has done little to quell the anger and sense of helplessness felt by those caught in this bureaucratic rabbit hole.

“I wanted to talk to you personally about the driving licences negotiations, which I know are continuing to have a serious impact on many of you,” Elliott began by saying.

“As the government’s representative in Spain, I hear and understand your frustrations. I too am frustrated by the pace.

“We previously thought, we genuinely thought, that we’d have concluded negotiations by the summer. 

“Many of you have quite rightly mentioned that I expressed the hope to you that we’d have you back on the road by the end of July.

“Now the truth is it has taken much longer, as there have been unforeseen issues that we have been working very hard to resolve. 

“And I’m as disappointed as you are by the length of time that this is actually taking. 

“But, please, be assured that we are resolving those issues, one by one. There are only a couple of issues left, but they are complex.”

It has previously been suggested by the UK Embassy that Spain has asked for data provision to form part of the exchange agreement, and that British authorities were reluctant to share said information on British drivers’ records, including possible infractions. 

Whether this is still one of the causes of the holdups is unknown, given how opaque the Embassy is being in this regard. 

“We’re working on this every day, it remains a priority,” the UK Ambassador continued.

“There is a lot going on behind the scenes, even if it doesn’t feel like it to you. 

“I know too that you want a timescale and you want an update after every meeting.

“But I’m afraid I just can’t give you those things in this negotiation.” 

The ambassador’s words are unlikely to appease those who are still unable to drive. 

A few weeks ago, a Facebook group called “Invasion of the British embassy in Madrid for the DL exchange issue” was set up, which so far has more than 400 members. 

The group’s administrator, Pascal Siegmund, is looking to set up a meeting with the British Embassy and Spanish authorities to shed light on the impact that not being allowed to drive is having on the life of thousands of UK licence holders in Spain. 

Many of those affected are sharing their stories online, explaining how, due to administrative errors on the part of Spain’s DGT traffic authority, they were unable to process their licence exchange before the deadline. 

This contrasts with the little sympathy shown by UK licence holders who were able to exchange and other commentators, who accuse those in limbo of not having bothered to complete the process, arguing that it’s essentially their own fault.

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

“Many of you also continue to ask why you can’t drive while the talks are continuing,” Elliott remarked.

“It is not in the gift of the UK government to reinstate the measures which previously allowed you to continue to drive whilst the negotiations were ongoing earlier in the year. 

“As we said previously, we did request the reinstatement of those measures several times, but this wasn’t granted.”

It’s worth noting that since the news broke on May 1st that UK licence holders residing in Spain for more than six months could no longer drive, no Spanish news outlet has covered the story again. 

Pressure from citizen groups such as the one recently set up and increased awareness about the issue in English-language news sites such as The Local Spain is perhaps the best chance in-limbo drivers have of their voices being heard and the driving licence debacle being finally fixed. 

“I’d say we’re genuinely still making progress,” UK Ambassador Elliott concluded, practically the same message as in previous updates.

“I get how frustrating it is to hear that, but we are making progress. We’re in discussions almost daily about outstanding issues. 

“And I remain very optimistic that we will reach an agreement and hope it will be soon. 

“But as I say, I can’t give you a definitive timetable. 

“And so, the advice that we have been giving all along, which is that you should consider taking the Spanish test if you do need to drive urgently, remains valid. Though we appreciate that’s hard.”

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