Since 31st December 2020, the pet travel rules have changed dramatically. The old UK Pet Passports are no longer valid, and instead, Animal Health Certificates are needed to travel into the EU. But what about travel to Northern Ireland? Is a Pet Passport needed? What about rabies vaccination? Is there any other documentation needed?

How the regulations affect you and your pets will depend on where you are. With the UK no longer being a member of the EU, many of the regulations have of course changed. However, Northern Ireland has remained in the EU Customs Union, meaning that very different rules apply to travel from Northern Ireland to the Republic, and from the mainland UK to Northern Ireland, compared to moving from (say) England to Wales or Scotland.

Dogs, cats and ferrets travelling to Northern Ireland from the UK

To all intents and purposes, the regulations are the same as if they were travelling to France or the Republic of Ireland. That means your pet will need:

  • A microchip
  • An Animal Health Certificate filled in before travel
  • A rabies vaccine at least 21 days before travel
  • Tapeworm treatment for dogs before entry

In addition, you can only enter through a registered Travellers Point of Entry.

If your pet has an EU (not Northern Irish or UK) Pet Passport, that is still valid, but may be subject to additional checks.

Dogs, cats and ferrets in Northern Ireland

As of 1st January 2021, Northern Ireland remains within the Pet Passport Scheme. According to the Northern Irish DAERA, “There will be no change to the requirements governing pet travel between NI and the EU including the Republic of Ireland (ROI).”

That said, existing UK Pet Passports have also become invalid. Instead, new “UK(NI)” Pet Passports will be issued through 2021 – the list of practices authorised to issue passports is available here.

The January Northern Irish Transition Period

Until 1st February, there won’t be routine compliance checks for most travellers, as part of a temporary “transition period”. However, from 1st February, you will be expected to have all the correct paperwork, or else your pet may be entered into quarantine or even sent back at the border.