New rules for dogs and cats visiting the EU and Northern Ireland

Existing UK pet passports are no longer valid for visiting the EU

Your pet needs a new Animal Health Certificate (AHC) which is valid for a single trip only. Each visit to the EU or Northern Ireland requires a fresh Animal Health Certificate. The UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) regulations continue to change regularly, thus we recommend consulting the APHA website ahead of planning to travel for the latest advice and requirements.

The Animal Health Certificate

An AHC is valid for entry into the EU and Northern Ireland for 10 days from the date of issue. 

Therefore contact us at the surgery at least two weeks prior to planned travel to arrange an appointment for us to see your pet during the 10 day window, confirm it is microchipped and inoculated against rabies and certify it is healthy and safe to travel. 

Each AHC is valid for a single trip to the EU. 

If for example, you return to the UK then go back to the EU or Northern Ireland the following week your pet will need a new AHC. There are no certificates for multiple visits. 

The AHC is valid for re-entry to Great Britain for 4 months from the date of issue. 

There are no changes to the current health preparations for pets returning to Great Britain. 

Pet Passports issued by all EU countries are recognised for travel to and from the EU.

If you have an existing EU pet passport from a country still in the EU (e.g. France), you will not need an AHC to travel. The Rabies inoculation still needs to be up to date.

Pet Passports previously issued by the UK will continue to be recognised for pets entering Great Britain. 

However, you cannot use a UK issued pet passport to travel to the EU. If your pet has an old UK issued EU passport it cannot be used to return to the EU. You will need a new AHC.

Your pet does not need a pet passport or an AHC if it is entering Great Britain from:

Northern Ireland
The Republic of Ireland
The Channel Islands
The Isle of Man

Your pet does need an AHC if it is travelling to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.


The AHC is a much more complex document that the previous passport and takes considerably longer to complete. 

There are 22 different AHCs to choose from depending on where you are first visiting. Each certificate has a 'Unique Certificate Number'. Cross checking original microchip, vaccination and serology documents then verifying and completing official government documents is very time consuming. The turnaround time for AHCs is considerably longer than it was for Pet Passports. 


Additional unchanged information

Your pet must be microchipped then vaccinated against rabies when it is at least 12 weeks old.

Your pet must wait 21 days after primary rabies inoculation before travelling to the EU or Northern Ireland.

As long as the rabies inoculation is within date (three years from inoculation date) repeat inoculations are not needed for repeat trips to the EU.

If your dog is travelling to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Finland or Malta, it must have treatment for the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis 1-5 days before arriving in any of these countries. (Worming details will be entered on your dog's AHC or EU issued pet passport.)

The Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) and the Elizabeth Street Veterinary Clinic wish to remind you that it is your responsibility to check the rules of the country you're travelling to, for any additional restrictions or changed requirements. Neither the APHA nor the Elizabeth Street Veterinary Clinic is responsible for checking a country's regulations on your behalf.

If you are planning to travel to an EU country and requiring an AHC, please contact the clinic to arrange an appointment for the AHC.

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