Here's how Brexit could impact traveling with pets in Europe

Traveling to Europe with your pet used to be easy. Yes, your lovely family member has to get an official passport, which is a bit of a hassle, but, once they get one, they can travel back and forth for life. Until Brexit entered the debate. If the UK does leave the EU, taking your pet on holiday could become an administrative, costly nightmare. Here are the specific impacts of Brexit on pet travel to and from Europe.

It could take up to four months for your cat, dog or ferret (yes, you read that right) to be ready for travel to Europe after Brexit, according to government guidelines. According to The Independent , owners may have to pay up to £150 and pay each time their pet travels. MoneySavingExpert has spoken to pet owners who are bracing themselves for the October Brexit deadline and says the fee could actually be more than £200.

Currently, pets traveling from the UK to the EU must see a veterinarian at least 21 days before their departure date. Under the EU pet travel scheme, they must be vaccinated against rabies and have their microchip checked before they can obtain an EU pet passport. This can provide lifelong benefits to your pet. According to Money Supermarket, a passport alone costs £60, with rabies vaccinations an additional £32.60. (Microchips - usually implanted when pets are young - cost £20.)

In the event of Brexit, the UK will be classified as Unlisted, Part 1 Listed or Part 2 Listed under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. Each will have a different impact on your pet’s travel plans.

What happens if the UK is not included in the EU pet travel scheme?


The government says this is the most likely scenario if a no-deal Brexit occurs. The EU Pet Passport will expire immediately and will be replaced by an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). Dogs, cats and ferrets will still need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, but will also need a blood test at least 30 days after the last rabies vaccination. If the sample is deemed successful, you will have to wait three months from the date of the blood test before traveling.

Your veterinarian must enter this information into a signed AHC, which you will need to take with you when traveling, along with your pet's vaccination history, microchip dates and proof of successful blood test results. (If you are traveling to Finland, Malta or the Republic of Ireland, your pet will also need to be treated for tapeworms one to five days before arrival.) You must collect your AHC more than 10 days before your departure date.

If the blood sample is unsuccessful, your pet will have to be vaccinated again and have another blood test done at least 30 days later. Then the three-month wait began again. In other words, you need to see your veterinarian at least four months before your trip to avoid any unnecessary delays.

AHC is only valid for a certain period of time: 10 days after the issue date for entry into the EU, four months after the issue date for onward travel within the EU, and four months after the issue date for re-entry into the UK. When you enter the EU, you do so through a Traveler Point of Entry (TPE).

What happens if the UK is included in Part 1 of the EU Pet Travel Scheme?


Likewise, your pet needs to be vaccinated against rabies and microchipped at least 21 days before travel. You must also apply for a British Pet Passport, which is good for life as long as your rabies vaccinations are up to date.

What happens if the UK is included in Part 2 of the EU Pet Travel Scheme?

The same rules for microchips and rabies vaccinations apply. Make sure vaccinations are completed at least 21 days before departure date. But you will also need to obtain an AHC signed by your veterinarian no more than 10 days before travel.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes, actually. Each time your pet travels to the EU, you will need a new AHC, which can add up to costs quickly. However, your pet does not need to have a blood test every time - as long as they have had successful past tests and are up to date on their rabies vaccinations.

If the UK reaches a Brexit deal with the EU, there may be a transition period during which current rules will apply. The problem is that no one can predict whether this will happen. Therefore, if you are planning a vacation with your pet after January 31, 2020, it is best to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Slightly different rules detailed here apply in Northern Ireland.

If you're completely confused about the whole thing or need specific advice, contact the government's Pet Travel Helpline by phone or email. For now, it's best to do it in an organized way.