Moving to Spain For Members

Can Brits move to Spain with their pets post-Brexit?

The Local Spain
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Can Brits move to Spain with their pets post-Brexit?
Can Brits move to Spain with their pets? Photo: sarandy westfall / Unsplash

For pet owners, leaving a beloved member of their family behind when they move is not an option. Find out if you can take your pet with you when you move from the UK to Spain post-Brexit and what it may involve.


Moving countries is an exciting, yet stressful time when there are so many factors to consider, such as visas, housing, jobs and transporting your belongings. For many Brits, this also includes having to think about their furry friends and wondering whether they can take bring to Spain when they move. 


Luckily the answer is yes, it is still possible to move from the UK to Spain with your pet, however, because of Brexit, the process become a little more complicated and there are several hoops you have to jump through in order to get them here.

Firstly, the rules will depend on what type of pet you have. Most general rules apply to dogs, cats and ferrets.

If you’re trying to move with a bird such as a parrot or a reptile such as a pet snake, lizard or turtle, the process may be even more complicated and more documentation will be needed.

It will also depend on which region of Spain you’re moving to because some regions won’t allow some of these types of animals as pets at all.

Small mammals such as rodents and rabbits are also counted as ‘other types of pets’ in Spain and do not come under the same rules when transporting them into the country.

In the case of birds, they will have to undergo a period of quarantine before being allowed to enter Spain. 

For the purpose of this article, we will talk about the process of moving with your pet dog, cat or ferret.

If you plan on moving with another type of animal, check with your specialised vet about the requirements to transport it into the EU and what separate forms you will need to fill in.

READ ALSO: How can I travel with my pet from Spain to the UK without it going in the hold?

What you need 

The UK has been granted 'part 2 listed status' by the EU, which means that those pet passports issued in the UK will no longer be valid and you won't be able to use them anymore for travel from the UK to Spain. 

Firstly, there are certain rules you must abide by which are listed on both the UK and Spanish government websites.

  • Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old, as this is the minimum age for vaccinating animals.
  • At least 21 days must have elapsed after inoculation for the vaccine to be valid.
  • You are not allowed to travel with more than five pets at a time.
  • You must ensure your dog, cat or ferret is microchipped.
  • The dog, cat or ferret is vaccinated against rabies.
  • Dogs must be treated against tapeworm 24-120 hours before arriving. 
  • You must get an animal health certificate (AHC).


READ ALSO: What are the rules on taking your pets on holiday in Spain?

Getting an AHC

You will need to visit your vet, no less than 10 days before your trip in order to get the certificate. To be granted the AHC, you will need proof of your pet’s microchipping date and vaccination history.

AHCs are available as dual-language certificates, so pet owners should ask the vet for a Spanish language certificate when intending to travel here.

The AHC is valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU and can be used for travel within the EU for a period of four months.

The certificate is only valid for a single trip to the EU, however, so if you are planning on travelling back and forth from Spain to the UK with your pet, you will need to apply for another certificate.

AHCs and all the requirements also apply to assistance dogs.

You will need an AHC for your pet. Photo: Ilona Krijgsman / Pixabay


According to the Spanish government, it’s considered a non-commercial movement of a pet as long as:

  • The maximum number of animals travelling with the owner is up to five.
  • There is no commercial purpose or transfer of ownership.
  • Pets travel with their owner or a person responsible for the animal or animals on their behalf during the trip.
  • The movement of the animals is allowed separately from the owner if it occurs within a period not exceeding five days with respect to the movement of the owner/responsible person.

Those coming from the UK can only enter Spain from one of the appointed Points of Entry. These include airports such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, as well as ports such as Santander and Bilbao. Click here to see the map.


Pets are allowed to fly in the cabin or as checked baggage on flights from the UK to Spain, but many airlines will not allow this, so you'll have to find those who do.

Iberia Express is one that does. Lufthansa, KLM and Air France have been known to in the past, however, this may mean having to change in another European city first before you get to Spain, causing more distress for your pet and possibly more paperwork.


The Eurostar train also doesn’t allow pets (except assistance dogs).



Going by car is one of the best and easiest ways to move to Spain with your pet, even though it is the longest and can be more expensive too (as you'll need to stay overnight).

It will be the most comfortable for your pet and less stressful for you. If you take your car on the Eurotunnel, it will cost an extra €27/£20 per pet. 


If taking the ferry across to France, it will cost around the same price, however, your pet must stay in the car the whole time. 

If you want to travel straight to Spain by ferry with your pet, without all the driving in between, this can also be a good option.

Unfortunately, Brittany Ferries will not allow you to travel with your pet if you're a foot passenger, but will if you have a car.

Many ships sailing to Spain have pet-friendly cabins, that can accommodate a single pet. There are also large and small kennels available, with exercise areas. 


After arriving in Spain

Under Spanish law, pets need to be registered in the Animal Identification Registry or Registro de Animales de Compañía.

Towards the end of 2021, Spain introduced the Ley de Protección y Derechos de los Animales or Animal Rights and Protection Law, which stated that as of 2022 pet owners in Spain will also need to register for the Pet ID scheme and get an Animal Pet ID. 

This will contain basic information relating to the animal, such as its date of birth, the number of vaccines it has had or any mistreatment carried out by its owners. Although the scheme has not yet been introduced, it’s another factor to consider once you arrive in Spain.

If your dog is considered to be a potentially dangerous dog (perros potencialmente peligrosas or PPP) you will also need to get a licence and register your dog separately with your local municipality within one month of arriving in the country.

These breeds include Doberman, Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Rottweiler and Akita Inu, among others, but if in doubt, it’s best to check with the authorities from the region you’re moving to because rules differ between them. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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Anonymous 2022/09/03 21:46
The paragraph 'After arriving in Spain' is probably the one we need most information about, but it has the least detail. For instance - what happens at the airport / ferry port? Can you just walk / drive straight out, oor do you have to do any pet paperwork? How do you register the pet on the Registro de Animales de Compañía? How long do you have after arrival to make the registration?

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