Some animals require a pet passport, or equivalent, to travel abroad. Find out more about the documents you’ll need to legally take your pet abroad.
If you want to take your pets overseas, you’ll need to get them a pet passport and/or an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) – these need to be signed off by a vet. To get one, your pet needs to be microchipped and tested for tapeworms and rabies.
You’ll need to take proof of all these test results and the microchip with you when you travel.
Cats and dogs will need a pet passport, or equivalent documentation, along with ferrets and horses.
The UK is in a transition period up until 31 December 2020. So, if you plan to travel with your pet in 2020, your pet will need an up-to-date passport.
However, there’s currently an indefinite travel ban in place due to Coronavirus, so you might struggle to get a pet passport, or abroad, before the transition period is up.
From 1 January 2021, rules for travelling to the EU with your pet will change – exactly what that means depends on what category of countries the UK falls into after the transition period is up. Contact your vet at least four months before you travel to get the latest advice.
You can find the latest guidelines for travelling to Europe with your pet after Brexit on the government website, though these could change.
Your pet needs a new AHC for each trip, which you’ll need to arrange at least 10 days before you travel. The AHC proves you’ve kept vaccinating your pet against rabies, and that they’re clear of the disease. Your pet passport doesn’t expire as such, so you can keep using this for as long as it’s valid.
It’s not just dogs, cats and horses you can travel with. You’ll need to check the specific regulations of the country you plan to travel to, and have the right documentation and vet records, but you should be able to travel with:
The requirements for your pet to be granted entry usually vary by country. There are extra conditions if you're travelling to an unlisted country – somewhere that’s not on the list of EU and non-EU countries.
For up-to-date information check government guidelines.
When you return to the UK, your pet’s microchip will be scanned and passport checked.
If the right documents are not in place, your pet could be taken into quarantine or sent back to the country you have just travelled from.
The number of pets you can normally travel with is limited to five. If you wish to travel with more than five dogs, cats or ferrets, the group of animals will need an additional health certificate and will be subject to checks at point of entry.
Your journey must also be for non-commercial reasons, which excludes the sale of animals.
You can get insurance that covers your pets while they’re abroad. If you already have pet insurance, your pet may be covered – check your policy before you travel. Most horse, dog and cat insurance will cover trips abroad, assuming all of the paperwork required to travel is in place.