Brexit and Pet Travel – URGENT Update for Pet Owners


As part of the planning process before Brexit next spring, the government has been releasing a series of “advisory” notices for businesses, professions, and the public. Today (6th November), the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency, the part of DEFRA responsible for, among other things, Pet Passports) has issued their update. In this blog, we’re going to explore what they’ve said – but the bottom line is that if you want to be certain of your pet’s ability to travel to Europe after 28th March 2019, you need to take action this month.

 

What’s the current situation?

If you’ve been tuning out of the constant babble of news reports about Brexit – and I certainly wouldn’t blame you for doing so! – the EU and UK are trying to negotiate an agreement over how the UK will leave the EU (which is scheduled for 29th March 2019). This is not the same as any future relationship between the UK and the EU, but should “sketch out” outline of any future agreement.

However, no such agreement has yet been reached, and there is a possibility that no withdrawal agreement will be signed before the cut-off date. We have discussed in a previous blog concerns around how a no deal Brexit might affect pet owners, farmers and vets. While much can change in the next four and a half months, the UK government has decided to warn people about the “worst case” situation, so that they can prepare, whatever happens with the Brexit negotiations. This is what the update from APHA is about, and what we’re going to look at here – what the situation will be if no deal is agreed.

 

In the event of a “no-deal Brexit”…

Will I be allowed to travel?

There seems to be no doubt about that – your passport will still be valid, and no country has any plans to ban UK citizens from entering on 29th March. You may require a visa, however, this is beyond the scope of this blog!

 

Will my pet be allowed to visit EU countries?

Yes – the government states that there will be no ban on travelling. However, you may need to take extra steps to ensure they will be permitted entry if the UK is no longer part of the EU-wide Pet Travel Scheme.

 

What will the rules be?

The UK will be treated by EU countries as an “unlisted country”, and so pets will have to abide by stricter rules than they do at the moment.

 

What will I have to do?

As now, your dog, cat or ferret will need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. However (unlike now) they will need a blood test to prove that they are immune to rabies (actually this is a really good thing – some studies suggest that as many as 10% of vaccinated dogs aren’t actually protected against rabies after a single dose of the vaccine!). This blood test will have to take place no less than 30 days after the vaccination. If your dog was vaccinated some time ago, they may need a booster dose.

The blood test will be sent to an official lab that will certify whether they have enough rabies antibodies to protect them (more than 0.5IU/ml). If they do meet this safe level, this will be recorded in your pet’s passport. That said, your pet still cannot travel for at least 3 months after the successful blood test.

Before travelling, your pet must be certified as healthy and fit enough to travel by an OV (a vet who is licensed to do so by the government – usually the same one who gave your dog their rabies jab). This has to happen no more than 10 days before travelling, and you will be issued with a Health Certificate.

 

What about coming back to the UK?

At the moment, it looks like that isn’t going to change at all!

 

Will my pet need a new booster and blood test before travelling each time?

No – once they have had a successful blood test, as long as their rabies cover doesn’t expire (in other words, that they get their boosters within the interval set by the EU and the manufacturers), then they don’t need additional vaccines or further blood tests. The blood test will prove that your pet has responded to the vaccine, and if they’ve responded once, the assumption is that they will continue to do so.

 

So why is this urgent?

Because getting certified for travel under the new rules will take at least 3, and possibly 4 or more months.

So if you want to travel on 29th March, you will need to…

  • Get vaccinated or boosted (if needed) by 28th November
  • Get a successful rabies blood test by 27th December
  • Get a Health Certificate between 19th and 28th March.

 

Is it certain this is going to be needed?

No it isn’t – the government is hoping to getting a deal; however, it is useful to be prepared in case the Brexit negotiations break down.

If you need any more advice, see the APHA Guidance, or talk to your vet!

But if you definitely need to be travelling with your pet, see your vet urgently to make sure you’re in a position to tick all the boxes.

103

103 thoughts on “Brexit and Pet Travel – URGENT Update for Pet Owners

    1. Hi Yan, very good question. The answer is if there is a no deal Brexit then this advice would also apply to Southern Ireland, if you want to be absolutely sure you can travel with your pet after March it is best to see your vet before 28th November.

  1. Our dog came from France originally so his passport is French. Not sure if this makes a difference or not. We Live in the UK but are frequent travelers with the dog to France. Thanks

    1. Dear Anne, I think it’s unlikely to make a difference, as it’s the act of crossing the border into the EU that might become a problem. The question would be whether the appropriate paperwork has been filled in in the passport, rather than where the passport was originally issued. David Harris MRCVS.

  2. Do we yet know which laboratories will be able to certify the rabies titres? Will UK labs (VLA, biobest?) qualify or will we have to send samples to an EU lab?

    1. Dear Roland, we do not yet know for certain – however, it seems likely that a U.K. lab would be acceptable in the short term at least, as at the time the test was run (prior to March 2019), the lab would have been EU accredited. David Harris MRCVS.

  3. We live in Guernsey Channel Islands we are non EU.we have pet passports and need a vet visit in France before our return does this mean we now need a health certificate each time we go to France.we travel regular with dogs and motor home. Kevin

    1. Dear Kevin, if the U.K. becomes an unlisted third country, I suspect that the regulations would apply to the Channel Islands as well – but this is, I think, still unconfirmed because of the unique legal status the Channel Islands have. David Harris MRCVS.

    1. Dear Jane, I think it’s unlikely to make a difference, as it’s the act of crossing the border into the EU that might become a problem. The question would then be whether the appropriate paperwork has been filled in in the passport, rather than where the passport was originally issued. David Harris MRCVS.

  4. So a compete turnaround. At the moment there is no rabies in the UK, so you are saying dogs leaving the UK have to be vaccinated and blood tested for rabies, despite there being none in the UK. Currently rabies vaccination required to enter UK not leave.
    Surely this is also purely speculation anyway.

    1. As you say, this is all speculative – it would only apply in a no-deal Brexit AND if no agreement on Listed Country status were reached. You are right that it’s medically unnecessary – however, we feel people should be aware of the advice coming out of DEFRA in case they do need to travel and want peace of mind that their plans won’t be interrupted. David Harris MRCVS.

  5. Just so I am sure I understand . The dogs current rabies shot is not valid ? It has to be recent and tested with in 30 days ….so dogs would have to have a boster they may not need ?
    I am already worried about over vaccinating but now they need even more ?
    Also if this is all done how long will the new test be valid for? Only ask as this reads as though they may need a vaccine and test every time they travel ….for mine that could be 4 or 5 times a year . I hope that is my misunderstanding.
    Is this a one of re vaccine and test or a requirement every time ?
    One of mine was only vaccinated a few months ago filling them with these chemicals can’t be good for them

    1. I understand your concern! However, the guidelines we’ve had state that “A successful blood test is only required for first time travel to an EU country. This is provided that your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date with boosters before the expiry date of the previous vaccination.” In other words, once you’ve proved that your dog (or cat, or ferret) had mounted a protective immune response to the vaccine (i.e. has reached 0.5IU/ml), another booster is not required before an subsequent travel, until the usual booster date arrives. Likewise, as long as the vaccination doesn’t lapse, a second blood test is not required. I’m sorry if the blog didn’t make that clear – I’ll add it in now!

    1. That’s probably the case yes, as long as your vaccination hasn’t lapsed and the titre test was run in an EU accredited lab (which I think they all were, but it’s worth double checking!). It might also be worth double checking the booster dates to make sure there aren’t any small gaps in rabies vaccine coverage that don’t matter now, but might invalidate the 2011 blood test. Your vet will be able to check your pet’s passport to make sure.

    1. At the moment, it looks like probably not; however, there is a good chance that they will be unable to cross any EU borders without it. So if you were, for example, going to France on 27th March, there shouldn’t be a problem, but if you then wanted to go from France to Spain on 30th, there might be. We do not yet know how this will be applied, unfortunately – it depends to a certain extent on how each EU state chooses to implement the regulations. Personally, I think that if you know you’re going to be in an EU member state after 29th March, then getting the blood test done and certified is probably the safest option to avoid problems.

  6. My dog is a rescue from Cyprus. Every week many rescue dogs travel to new homes in the UK from all over Europe. What impact do you think there may be on this ? Will it become even more difficult and expensive ? Thank you.

    1. Hi Tess,

      At the moment, it doesn’t look like there will be any changes in the regulations covering dogs coming into the UK – it’s more an issue of travelling from the UK to the EU, and the UK government has so far said that even in the event of a “no-deal” there won’t be any changes to the import requirements.
      In the longer term, I would hope that more stringent health checks will be enforced on imported dogs – just as the reputable and responsible rescue organisations are doing already, but on a compulsory rather than optional basis.

    1. Hi Jill,

      At the moment, it looks likely that there wouldn’t be an issue with that (as long as you weren’t crossing any borders within the EU). However, it would depend on exactly how the French government implements the regulations in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit – it isn’t impossible that there would be restrictions placed on any UK dogs present within the EU without a rabies blood test before arrival. I think it’s unlikely, but it is a possibility.

  7. My cat is about to leave UK next month and won’t come back. Cat is microchiped but does not have vaccinations. What are my steps if I want to take cat abroad to other EU country, do I need to vaccinate for rabbies?

    1. Strictly speaking yes – Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 577/2013 makes it a legal requirement for dogs cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies before being moved from one EU member state to another in almost all circumstances. You can read the full text here. If you’re not sure whether this applies to your pet or not, I suggest you speak to your vet and to the official veterinary agency in the country your cat is moving to, as well as any EU states you will be passing through en route.

  8. We are driving through France to Spain mid march and returning end April. We will have two dogs. One will have had all the necessary vaccinations and blood test carried out, he is a very well travelled dog. The other will be only 4 months old so will have had its rabies vaccine and blood test but will not have waited the 3 months. Will we be able to cross the French border into Spain, driving a UK car, and what happens when we want to return to UK. Will the puppy be able to enter the UK?

    1. Dear Anne,

      At the moment, the situation is very fluid – we don’t know what’s going to happen for sure. From what you’ve said, I THINK, based on what you say, that getting back into the UK shouldn’t be a problem (at least initially, it isn’t expected that the UK’s import laws will change). The biggest problem seems likely to be entering the EU in the first place without the paperwork – in this case, your younger dog would almost certainly have to go into quarantine as they won’t meet the legal requirements for import.
      Crossing an intra-EU border in a UK registered car is somewhere in between – it might be an issue, or it might not, as it will depend exactly how strictly the French and Spanish officials decide to enforce the regulations. Whether or not that would be picked up, and if so, how they would respond on the French/Spanish border is the big question – and it’s one I don’t think anyone knows the answer to for certain. Logically, of course, if the dog was legally in the EU the day before Brexit, it doesn’t instantly become a risk the day after, but the import regulations do not seem to take that into account.
      Of course, this is all assuming that there is a no-deal Brexit, which of course may not occur; if it does, though, I personally would be cautious about travelling with a dog that doesn’t meet all the EU import regulations. While I think it is unlikely that there would be a problem in the situation you describe, I don’t think we can rule it out.

      David

  9. My dog was given the booster rabies this evening 21st December, after having her first rabies the beginning of February 2018, blood test is booked in for January 21st, we are booked to travel to France on April 13th, if there is a no brexit deal and we are listed as a third country, does this mean we are too late to travel?

    1. Technically yes – strictly speaking, your dog should not be permitted entry until 3 months after the successful blood test (so about 21st April, assuming they pass). Of course, this depends how strictly the French customs authorities choose to enforce the regulations; there are some indications that they might allow a short informal transition period of a few weeks or so for some regulations; however, we do not know that this would happen, and it might not apply to the animal travel regulations.
      Hopefully some sort of arrangements will be made before the deadline!

  10. We have been traveling into France and Spain for eight years with our dog
    She has got a rabies certificate which was issued to us in 2010 she also has her booster every year will she be ok to go back without doing it all over again as we have had no problem in the past the dates on her certificate are 10/9/10 to 6/10/10 reading is 1.44 could you please help as we are going back after 29 March thank you

    1. Once they’re proven to have responded to a vaccine, they don’t need a repeat blood test every time AS LONG AS their vaccines have been kept fully up to date, without any gaps, in the meantime. So I don’t think there should be a problem – however, it would probably be worth double checking that with your vet or with APHA.

    1. Reputable rescue organisations usually use TRACES, the commercial import system, and we don’t yet know exactly how that is going to be affected. However, by and large, the UK government has said that import regulations (i.e. coming into the UK) will not be changing in the short term, so I would expect that in the case of a No Deal Brexit, it will still be possible to do so, but there may well be more paperwork involved.

  11. Our 14 year old dog has travelled back and forth from France since 2008. He had his first rabies vaccination in Sep 2007 and a successful serological test in Nov 2007. He has had his three yearly boosters every year, within date. He is due his next booster in 2019, actually in March as we have always done his boosters early to make sure we never miss the date. I seems that we should be ok, given your comments earlier, but I am a little concerned that French dogs must be vaccinated every year and ours has been every three years, in line with UK requirements. Could this be an issue re requiring a further serological test, if the French consider him NOT to have been kept “up to date”? We are due to travel in April and clearly, given his age, I would hate to have any issues delaying his return.

    1. To be honest, I don’t think anyone knows for certain. The government guidance is that as long as vaccinations are up to date on UK guidance, there shouldn’t be a problem – I suppose it would depend on exactly how the French authorities chose to interpret the regulations! The good news is that there shouldn’t be any problems in returning to the UK, it’s getting from the UK (a rabies free zone) into France (where the disease is present) that, ironically, is going to change in the event of a no-deal.

      1. Thank you. It certainly is ironic, given our “cleaner” status than most if not all of the places we would wish to visit! I may ask my vet to do another serological test anyway, to be on the safe side (and hope that his levels are still ok…)

  12. My dog has been travelling back & forth France for 8 years. All jabs are up to date.
    I’m confused about the paragraph to which you’re saying – Before travelling, your pet must be certified as healthy and fit enough to travel by an OV (a vet who is licensed to do so by the government – usually the same one who gave your dog their rabies jab). This has to happen no more than 10 days before travelling, and you will be issued with a Health Certificate.
    So, are we to visit our vet in the UK before travelling abroad?

    1. Yes, that’s right – under a no-deal scenario, your pet will need to be examined by your vet (or indeed any UK vet with an OV qualification). This is because you need a Health Certificate issued in the 10 days before entering an EU country, to certify that your pet is healthy enough to travel and is not showing signs of any infections or illness that might pose a threat to animal health in your destination country.

  13. I have 2 red setters and have been traveling to UK from Spain (where i live ) twice a year for 10 years using Pet Passport because the dogs are vaccinated in Spain they have a rabies jab each year (Spanish rules)
    i am going to UK 18th march 2019 returning to Spain 3rd June 2019
    So before i leave Spain I could get my Spanish Vet to arrange the blood test in January some 4 months before I return to Spain getting a UK vet to certify they are fit to travel in June 2019
    Would the above satisfy the rules?
    Colin

    1. Yes, I can’t see any reason why that wouldn’t be acceptable. As long as the test is done in an approved lab, the dogs pass it, and the time periods are right, there shouldn’t be an issue.

  14. Hi, I’m not sure you can help me as I don’t live in the UK but you may be able to guide me. I live in Turkey [a high rabies country]. My cat is 5 years old, has been microchipped and gets a rabies vaccination each year. I am looking at moving to Spain in the near future. Does my cat need to have another rabies injection, then wait 21 days to have the blood test taken? Or as he has already had the rabies injection, can we just skip directly to the blood test? I then understand my cat cannot move for another 3 months. Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. I’m afraid I don’t know that much about movement between Turkey and the EU… However, the regulations are all detailed here: https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/pet-movement/eu-legislation/non-commercial-non-eu_en
      Essentially, the vaccines that have been given need to have been certified by an authorised or official veterinarian (we would call them Official Veterinarians or OVs). In addition, the blood test would have to be conducted by an authorised vet, and run in an EU-certified laboratory.
      I hope that helps; for more details, it might be worth contacting the Spanish customs authorities?

  15. Hi Our dog has been travelling to spain by ferry every year and her last rabies vaccine was August 2018 (3rd one regularly since 6 months of age over 9 years). She also has her other innoculations on time. We leave on the 5th February and I am having a health check 8 days before we leave. Will this conform? We come back the day after Brexit, it it happens?!

    1. That’s a really good question – unfortunately, at the moment, we don’t know for certain. It seems likely that animals would only be checked for their compliance with the import regulations at entry points into the EU; within the EU itself, it shouldn’t be an issue. However, assuming there is a no-deal Brexit, it will be strictly incorrect for an animal to be present inside the EU without the blood test certificate. Ultimately, it will depend on exactly how the Spanish authorities choose to enforce the regulations – I think it is very unlikely that your cat would be looked for, found, inspected, and removed to quarantine after being legally in the country for 3 months, but I cannot say that it’s impossible. Perhaps you could also the local authorities how they are intending to address the issue, if it occurs?
      The good news is that no certificate other than a Pet Passport will be required to re-enter the UK, so getting back into the UK shouldn’t be any different to the situation now.

  16. Hi , my dog is living in Portugal with me . We travel to the Uk on the 10th April and return 30th April . I am only just later today seeing the vet in Portugal about our travel . Will I need to get a blood test today , are we too late ? And will I definitely need the health check ten days before we return to Portugal ? Thank you .

    1. OK, it will depend on exactly what happens – if a deal is signed or Article 50 is postponed, this doesn’t apply. If, however, a no-deal occurs, then all the regulations about entering the EU will theoretically come into play. This means that any dog or cat entering the EU from a third state must abide by the regulations. So, there must be a positive blood test 3 months before entry, and a health certificate within 10 days of entry. If you get a blood test today, and it is positive, then technically, the earliest you could reenter the EU from the UK would be 29th April – so yes I would advise getting one sooner rather than later!
      Of course, we don’t know what will happen – or how the Portuguese authorities will interpret the regulation, and this may be unnecessary – but I think it’s worth being prepared.

  17. Hi, we travel to Spain with our dog on 19 April, I realise now I need a blood test! If we leave the Eu with a deal do I still need a blood test?
    Thank you

  18. Really useful stuff. Just a quick question – flying into the UK from Canada with my cat in a couple of months time. We have an EU Pet Passport and will get a rabies booster (before the expiry of the original vaccine issued and tested three years ago). Can I confirm that We do not need another blood test to enter the UK and that the booster vaccine is enough?

    1. Good point! There’s no change to import rules into the UK in the near future, whatever happens over Brexit, so coming into the UK shouldn’t be any different from now.

  19. We live in Spain and our 10 year old dog has a couple of instances where we were stupidly late getting the booster. He is currently up to date with the boosters. If we travel to the UK before 29th March would he be allowed entry under the current laws or will these gaps in his record mean he needs to do the blood test?

    1. Entry into the UK won’t be a problem – a single documented rabies vaccination in the correct timeframe will still be accepted, just as it is now, and before March 29th there will be no change, whatever happens. The issue will be returning to Spain from the UK after March 29th if a no-deal Brexit occurs; that’s when you would need a positive blood test and health certificate.

  20. I am currently in Portugal with my dog who has EU passport and currently up to date rabies inoculations.

    We are traveling to U.K. on the 4th April via ferry, then on the same day traveling on the same ferry to France. We do not disembark In U.K. however there is a possability that one may have to.

    Under a no deal scenario what do I need to put into place re my pets travel requirements

    1. Strictly speaking, if your dog doesn’t leave the ferry, it’s arguable that they do not need to reenter the EU. However, persuading a customs official of this when you step off a ferry from the UK might not be straightforward! Also, if they have left the ferry, then they definitely will need to abide by all the import regulations.
      I think the best option would be to get a blood test taken 3 months in advance (which probably means today!) to demonstrate that they are immune, and arrange for a health certificate to be issued by your vet in Portugal before you travel; that way (assuming they pass the rabies test), there shouldn’t be any problems even if you are deemed to be re-entering the EU.

  21. Hello, I asked my vet this morning but she couldn’t think of an answer: in case of no-deal, what is the logic behind the 3 months waiting time after the rabies titre test before being allowed to travel?

    1. In most cats and dogs, the incubation period of the virus is less than 3 months. In the initial phases of infection, the animal may appear normal, but will often have a high rabies titre. The three month wait is to make sure that the titre is due to the vaccine, not actual rabies infection.
      This is of course nonsense when applied to animals in the UK (where classical rabies is extinct), but the rules are intended to cover the whole world, including animals coming into the EU from areas where rabies is common.

  22. What exactly is the health certificate?

    We have the passport which is up to date with vaccinations for rabbies plus the laboratory document.

    Where do we find a copy of the health certificate that is required to be completed within the 10 days prior to travel, and is the laboratory document good enough or is there some other document required.

    I think we are up to date with everything ( except health certificate )

    I ask because even the vets are not sure about requirements

    Thank
    John

  23. Hi, I live in Spain and have just had my dogs’ rabies antibodies checked and they both passed. Many years ago when we first moved here our dogs had the test and I remember that I had to take the certificate for an official stamp to make it valid. I think it was the dept of agriculture or something similar. Do you know if this is still, or will be, a requirement please.
    Thanks

    1. Yes, the blood test results will need to be certified with an official stamp – in the UK, most practices have one or more vet who can do this (Official Veterinarians, the same ones who fill in the passport for the rabies vaccines), but I don’t know if that’s the same in Spain.

  24. Hi, I have two dogs who regularly have travelled between France and the uk on uk pet passports. Both had their rabies booster a year ago, having had their first rabies vaccine now 4years ago (which last 3yrs). My vet has just suggested that in addition to the blood test it is quite possible my dogs would fail the test due to time since their last booster. I was wondering firstly whether the fact they have had 3 vaccines in their lifetime would likely make their chances of passing the blood test higher? Secondly whether I could give the dogs a (unnecessary paperwork wise) booster, and have the blood test done after just a couple of days rather than waiting 30 days. The reason being we need to travel mid May so don’t have time to vaccinate and then wait 4 months. Thirdly whether you are aware how real the chance is of failing the blood test, or whether this is a tiny, remote risk? Many thanks, very helpful answers I’ve seen so far!

    1. There’s not a lot of data on this; however, some papers suggest that it may be up to 11% of dogs are failing to seroconvert after a single vaccination, and some of my colleagues are reporting much higher numbers unofficially. It is a very real risk – although it does seem that the more boosters the dog’s had, the better their chances.
      Regarding the timings, the test MUST be no LESS than 30 days after the vaccination, or it is invalid. This is for 2 reasons – firstly, it can take about 2 weeks for the titres to rise following an initial vaccine; but secondly some dogs will mount a weak response (titres rise) but the immune system doesn’t “remember” it properly, and the titres then drop off again within a month. These dogs probably don’t have any real protection against rabies.

  25. We have 2 dogs on Spanish passports for the last 4 years rabies booster carried out by Spanish vet..We travel between Spain and Uk twice a year were currently in uk and they require their next booster 2nd March which I have booked to have done by UK vet do we have to get blood test…to travel back to Spain which would be April

    1. To be honest, I don’t know given that they’ll be travelling on a Spanish passport! I think you’d be best off asking the Spanish authorities, because although technically they should need a blood test, it might be that in this particular situation that they decide they don’t need to enforce the regulations that strictly.

  26. Hi, what in situaton if I need to travel from Ireland to France via UK?
    Do I need a blood test for my cat?
    I’m not sure if there’s enough sufficient time as I haven’t rabbis vaccination done yet, and I’m planning to leave Ireland at the end of May.

    1. I think it likely you would need to abide by the full regulations because your cat will have left Ireland (a rabies free EU state) and entered the UK (a rabies free non-EU state) before re-entering France (a rabies-endemic EU state) and therefore the EU is worried that the cat might be carrying rabies contracted in the UK as a non-EU state. However, as they’re travelling on an Irish passport, it might be worth checking with the French authorities whether they are intending to enforce the regulations that strictly or not – because if they are, your cat cannot enter France until 3 months after a positive blood test.

  27. I have a English passport for my dog which states his rabies injection expires in 2020 if I leave the uk before 29th March to go to Italy and get an Italian passport for him to return would this be valid?

    1. Getting back into the UK won’t be the problem – the UK intends to maintain the current regulations. The trouble is that the Pet Passport will not longer be sufficient to get your pet into the EU without the blood test result, and cannot enter until 3 months after a positive blood test has been certified.

  28. Hi, I’m supposed to be travelling with my dog to France on 29 March – I understand present ‘pet passport’ arrangements will apply. However, I’m not sure what happens on 30th, in France, and with an invalid pet passport! Should I just have the passport completed as normal for the return to UK on 7 April? Or, do I also need a vet health certificate for our time in France post brexit? Which should the French vet complete for our return journey?
    I’m worried about the health certificate not being correct because we will not have completed the point of entry checks, having travelled to France on the 29 March .
    Also, my dog has been rabies vaccinated since 2010 & blood tested at that time. Is the existing UK pet passport sufficient proof to accompany new health certificates? Advice appreciated!

    1. This is the problem – we do not know how the French authorities will choose to interpret the regulations! Strictly speaking, if they have a blood test certified on the passport, and their vaccines are in date since then, there shouldn’t be a problem. However, I would recommend getting a Health Certificate signed before travelling anyway, at which point you should be compliant with all EU regulations.
      Of course, it will depend how this is interpreted, but I think that is likely to be sufficient. For more information, I’d advise you to contact the French authorities in the department in which you will be staying, plus at the ports of entry and departure. Hopefully, they will be able to give you more specific advice as to how they intend to enforce the regulations.

  29. Hi
    I know it’s uncertain what the next few months will bring, but if it’s the case of only 4 months onward travel in the EU how long after you return to the UK can you return to the EU ? as we are hoping to be full time motorhoming around Europe and Uk.
    Also my wife has an Irish passport although we currently live in the UK would she be able to get a new pet passport in Ireland for our dog to travel freely in the EU on her passport status
    Many thanks

    1. At this point, I’m afraid to say that we don’t know exactly how it’s going to pan out! It is likely that an Irish issued Pet-Passport will still be honoured as now; however, as far as we know, there will still be the requirement for a (one off) blood test, and a health certificate whenever you leave the UK to reenter the EU.

  30. We are planning to adopt a dog from a French rescue and bring it back to Jersey which will be after 29th March. The dog will have a new French pet passport, so am I correct in guessing that there won’t be any problem bringing it back into Jersey, however once here (where it will be resident) we will need to get a blood test in order to return to France on holiday in the future? We have French friends who regularly bring their dog on holiday so will they not need to have the additional blood test to return to France as that is their place of residence?

    1. Getting into the UK isn’t going to change, whatever happens with Brexit, because the Government has said that they intend to recognise Pet Passports as valid. The trouble is, we do not know how the French authorities will interpret the regulations. I would expect that only a Health Certificate will be needed to re-enter France, if the dog is on a French passport, but I do not know for certain. Your best bet might be to ask the local authorities at the expected ports of entry what their plans are, because we simply do not know yet!

  31. Hi there

    I have booked a GSD puppy from a litter in Holland and he will have his rabies shots and pet passport etc, and also health certificate. He was born 29th December and I plan to collect him on 15th April and return to the U.K. by car via the Eurotunnel . The breeder has spoken to his vet in Holland who advises that if there is a no-deal Brexit, there is a potential 4 month quarantine period for the puppy? Everything I have read however indicates that there will be no change on current paperwork for dogs entering the U.K. Is there a likelihood of this quarantine period?

    Apologies if similar questions have been answered, I’m not sure if this is different as the puppy is essentially an import as opposed to travelling with an existing pet?

    1. That’s fine! As far as we know at the moment, the non-commercial import (i.e. the dog is already a pet, travelling with you), the regulations for entering the UK will not change. However, if it is a commercial import (the dog is being sent to you for sale), then the quarantine laws may apply. I hope that makes sense! If in doubt, contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency for advice.

  32. Hi there. We want to travel to France at the beginning of July with our 13 week old puppy and so feel we need to start rabies and pet passport now due to the timescales ie blood test 30 days later (end of March) then 3 month wait (end of June). My vet keeps trying to put me off saying “wait and see” but I don’t want to be caught out and have to leave her behind. Can I insist that it’s done or should I just find another vet?

    1. Legally, you cannot insist that your vet carries out a diagnostic procedure; however, if you say you definitely want it, then I doubt they will actually refuse! You might find it interesting to know that some studies suggest that somewhere between 11% and 17% of dogs do not mount a long-lasting immune response to a single rabies vaccination – which is why I actually think the blood testing rules change (while really annoying!) is actually a really good thing.

  33. Hello
    I have 3 cats in Portugal. They are chipped and had the rabies vaccine and blood tests in 2011. Unfortunately, I let the rabies vaccination expire on 6/1/2017. They had new vaccinations 26/2/2019. My question is, to enter the UK in October 2019 will they need to do blood tests again. DEFRA site and I telephoned them were confusing?

    1. To enter the UK, probably not, as the Government has said that the import regs will not be changing (although you might need a Health Certificate for the ferry or Eurotunnel). At the moment, you would just need an up to date rabies vaccine, so it seems likely that that will stay the same in the short term. Of course, to go back to Portugal, or any other EU state, you would need the blood test.

  34. Hello
    I have 3 cats in Portugal. They are chipped and had the rabies vaccine and blood tests in 2011. Unfortunately, I let the rabies vaccination expire on 6/1/2017. They had new vaccinations 26/2/2019. My question is, to enter the UK in October 2019 will they need to do blood tests again. DEFRA site and I telephoned them were confusing? I will only be entering the UK and will not be returning to the EU.

  35. What happens if my dog fails the blood test? He had a rabies injection or booster on 2nd feb and is due to have blood test on 4th march for travel on 22nd june. I am thinking of postponing test until 18th march though to see what government votes on but am worried about him failing and me having no time?

    1. If they fail the blood test, then we must assume that they have no significant immunity against rabies. A booster vaccination is needed, then another blood test 30 days later.

  36. We are residents of Germany (not UK citizens) planning a trip next month via car: Germany to France, ferry to UK, ferry to Ireland, ferry back to UK and ferry back to France and then back home to Germany. Our dog has a German EU pet passport. His rabies shot is up to date. We have not had the blood test though. If there is a “no deal” situation, am I to understand that as tourists to the UK, our dog will get in to the UK (with the tapeworm treatment, we understand that), but then will he not get into Ireland without the blood test? I’ve seem some information online stating that as EU pet passport holders, we can get the blood test before we leave for travel into a non-listed country and NOT have the 4 month wait as long as the test comes back correctly. Anything thoughts? Also, regarding the tapeworm treatment. If we get it for entry into the UK, I see that Ireland requires it as well. Does the treatment for the UK count for travel into Ireland (and back in the other direction)? Or will we have to find a vet in the UK to give him another tapeworm treatment before we go to Ireland and then get yet another one when we return from Ireland to the UK on our return trip? That’s a lot of tapeworm treatment!

    1. Dear Kerry,

      Thanks for the message! It’s a complex issue, and the trouble is that we do not know for certain how every country will enforce the regulations in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It will also depend on whether the UK becomes a Listed third state (given the degree of existing harmonisation of regulations) or a non-Listed state. If the former, the regulations will not change dramatically, but if the latter, the existing Pet Passport scheme seems unlikely to be accepted by the EU-27 (although the UK intends to continue to honour it).
      In theory, even travelling on an EU Pet Passport, you do need a blood test, but as you say, there are some reports that the 3 month wait may not be enforced. I’ve not seen anything official to that end, so I would suggest you contact the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (https://www.bmel.de/DE/Tier/HausUndZootiere/HausUndZootiere_node.html) to see if Germany is intending to allow this.
      Regarding the tapeworm treatment, it appears at the moment that fresh Echinococcus multilocularis treatment will be needed before entering Ireland (despite the fact that the UK is free of this parasite), in addition to the treatment required by the UK when coming from Germany (which is not free of it). However, as the UK is not intending to alter its import regulations at this point, tapeworm treatment when travelling from Ireland to the UK will probably not be required.
      I hope that helps… at the moment we’re in the situation where although we know what the regulations state, it isn’t clear how it is going to be interpreted and enforced.

  37. Hi
    We are travelling to France/Belgium/Holland on the 25th July with our dog. Today she had her usual booster and her rabies jab. It is my understanding that if we leave the EU without a deal at the end of March, she will need to have a blood test on the 4th April then wait 3 months before travel which is cutting it fine, I know. However, what will happen if Brexit is delayed then we still end up leaving the EU without a deal before our holiday? Would it be wise to get her blood tested anyway at a cost of £250? !!!

    1. Unfortunately, I can’t advise you on how the politics will play out (I wish!), but I think the worst case scenario for you would be assuming something will happen, and then the talks fall through and your dog can’t go with you. You could leave the bloods until mid April, and see what happens, but I don’t think there are any guarantees at the moment.

  38. My dogs were both vaccinated for rabies in September 2018.
    I’m travelling to Italy from the UK in June with both of them.
    I had blood tests taken for their rabies last month and they both failed the test.
    If they are given the rabies shot again this month do they need to wait 3 months for the rabies to be valid and do the blood test or can we do the blood test after 30 days?
    If they pass will they be fully vaccinated to travel in June?
    Many thanks

    1. We’re seeing a lot of dogs failing the blood test since the rabies initial vaccine programme rules were relaxed a few years ago – some studies suggest as many as 11-17% of dogs, so you’re not alone!
      However, a failed blood test means that they don’t have any antibodies (so almost certainly aren’t immune) to rabies, and so you must proceed as if they weren’t vaccinated at all. This means revaccinate, blood test after 30 days, then entry into the EU from a third party state 3 months after the blood test. As a result, I think you will struggle to make a June deadline. However, all this is assuming we leave before June, and assuming we do so on a “no-deal” basis, which does look much less likely now.

  39. Very helpful info, all of it, thank you. Am about to acquire a puppy (in the UK); my question really is does anyone yet have any idea as to the likelihood of quarantine being applied to animals travelling out to France with us and returning a few weeks later? I can’t do that to a young dog (or even an older one).

    Oh and I imagine we would pay for quarantine?

    1. Quarantine on the UK side is not going to be reintroduced; however, we do not yet know how the French officials will interpret the regulations. They may institute quarantine procedures – which yes, you would have to pay for – or simply refuse entry meaning that your puppy would have to be returned to the UK, with or without you.
      However, this is all assuming that the UK does leave the EU on 29th March without a deal, and this is looking increasingly unlikely.

    1. No, the exact cost will depend on the lab that runs the test and what they set the price at. Your vets will also charge for the blood sample, handling and packaging (which is much more complicated than most people think, oddly!) and certification of the result. Best to talk to your vets – they may offer a fixed-price package, or an itemised one, but most of the cost will be for the lab to process and test the blood sample.

  40. Hi, we plan to visit France in July/August 2019. With the proposed delay in Bexit to June 2019 , we are uncertain on how to proceed. Clearly, we cannot waituntil June then undergo blood tests and a 4-month wait. Would it be viable to travel (with dogs) to EU pre-Brexit, obtain EU pet passports, return to UK and then be able to travel back to France in July under the EU pet passports?

    1. I really don’t know! However, I would doubt it, because you would still be bringing a dog into the EU from a third-party state, and I would imagine that the EU border officials would want to see rabies blood tests certified in the passport before allowing re-entry. This is because, in EU law (although not of course in reality), as soon as the UK leaves the EU without a deal, rabies instantly becomes endemic here and any animal travelling from the UK to the EU could be carrying the infection. I have just heard that some EU states are saying that if the passport is issued in their country and the rabies blood test takes place within their own borders, the 3 month wait may not be necessary – however, I would advise you to check with the relevant authorities in that country before assuming this is necessarily so.

  41. My dog has completed all the blood tests etc so just needs the health certificate which, I understand, has to be issued within 10 days of travel. Is the certificate issued the day I see the vet or does it have to be sent away for, i.e how much notice does the vet require.

    1. They will issue it on the day of travel – however, certainly as everyone is getting used to the new procedures, it would be wise to get in touch with them a week or two in advance so they can make sure they do have all the right paperwork to hand!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *