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Pet passports are no longer valid for holidays in France and Spain

When traveling overseas with your beloved dog or cat, there are plenty of rules and laws you need to be aware of prior to your flight. As the UK Government website states, there are different rules for traveling with your pet to an EU country or Northern Ireland compared to visiting a non-EU country.

There is also additional guidance if you’re bringing your pet into this country. On arrival, you’ll need to go through a travellers’ point of entry and provide various evidence of your right to travel with a pet.

But pet passports issued in Great Britain are no longer valid for EU countries, including France and Spain. Read on to fully prepare yourself ahead of getting on a plane with your furry friend.

Read more: Ryanair warning to British travelers as major rules remain in place on flights

Traveling to the EU or Northern Ireland

There is a checklist of things that your pet needs when flying to one of these countries. This includes a microchip, a valid rabies vaccination and an animal health certificate, or a valid pet passport, that’s accepted in the country you’re traveling to.

Additionally, if you’re traveling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta, you’ll need tapeworm treatment for dogs. The pet needs to be at least 15 weeks old and these requirements also apply to assistance dogs.

You cannot use a pet passport issued in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) for traveling to any country in the EU, including Northern Ireland. The passport must have been issued in one of the following places:

  • an EU country
  • Andorra
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Vatican City State

You need an animal health certificate for your dog, cat or ferret if you’re traveling from Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) to an EU country or Northern Ireland. You can add up to 5 pets to an animal health certificate.

How to get an animal health certificate

Animal health certificates will be issued by your vet and need to be secured no more than 10 days before you travel The certificate needs to be signed by an ‘official veterinarian’ and you’ll need to take proof of your pet’s microchipping date and vaccination history .

Your pet’s animal health certificate will be valid after the date of issue for:

  • 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
  • 4 months for onward travel within the EU
  • 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain

Your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

Your pet will also need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland, although you won’t need a repeat rabies vaccination as long as its vaccinations are up to date. Unless you’re attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event, you cannot fly with more than 5 pets.

Traveling to a non-EU country

Things are slightly different if your destination is outside of the European Union. For this trip, you’ll need to acquire an export health certificate (EHC) and also need to complete an export application form (EXA) if you’re in England, Scotland or Wales.

The EHC and the EXA for each country and pet will inform you how to apply. An EHC checks that your pet meets the necessary health requirements of the country you’re traveling to.

An official vet, who will be sent the EHC, will be nominated and confirm that your pet has met all the appropriate health and identification requirements prior to travelling. You should also check the rules of the country you’re traveling to in case there are any additional restrictions or requirements before you head off.

Traveling to the UK

In order to enter or leave the UK, your pet will need all of the things mentioned in the traveling to the EU section. Other things to consider before your flight include making sure that the company you’re traveling with accepts pets for travel while noting that rules will differ depending on where you’ll be traveling from.

If your pet doesn’t follow the guidelines, it could actually be put into quarantine for as long as four months. One’s pet should only arrive in Great Britain less than five days before or after your arrival, otherwise it may be classed as a commercial import where different rules apply.

You must also fill in a declaration form saying that you will not be selling or transferring your pet’s ownership.

Regulations about the size of a container

There are very strict guidelines, as outlined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), on the type of container you can transport your pet in. The suggestion is that there must be enough space for the animal to naturally stand, sit, lie down and turn around within.

To be sure of this, you will want to measure your pet’s length, height and width with the official guidelines being: the minimum length of the crate should be the length of your dog plus half the length of the leg; the height of the crate should be at a minimum the height of your animal; the width should be at least two times the width of the animal.


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