December 2018: Vet's Advice

November 27 2018

Brexit and the Pet Passport

29th March 2019 - Brexit! The date is fast approaching and we still do not know what agreement we will have with the EU. The government is hoping for a deal but at the same time is putting contingencies in place in case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. There is much to cover but as a Government ‘Official Veterinarian’ (OV) my concern is professionally with the possible implications for the Pet Passport Scheme. 

DEFRA is already issuing advice to pet owners to cover all eventualities and in particular the possibility of a ‘no deal ‘ Brexit. The advice currently offered to pet owners wishing to take their pet abroad either using an existing passport or needing a new passport is to think ahead and assume the worse ‘just in case’. 

So what happens if we have no deal? After 29 March 2019, dogs, cats and ferrets would continue to be able to travel from the UK to the EU but the requirements for documents and health checks will differ depending on the ‘listed’ status of the UK post Brexit. Very possibly we will not know the listed status of UK until Brexit happens so it may be best to plan now for the ‘worst case scenario’ so our pets can continue to travel without interruption. 

If the UK becomes an unlisted third country it will have major implications for pet travel. Instead of the almost instant issuing of a Pet Passport and travel to the EU 21 days later, we would now have to plan our trips to EU at least four months in advance. The new rules for an unlisted UK will require pets to have a Rabies vaccine, a minimum of 30 days later to have a blood test to prove that the vaccine has been effective and then the pet has to wait a further three months from the date of the blood test before being allowed to travel to the EU. All in all, taking four months. In addition, a health certificate will be needed for each trip to EU to be issued by an OV within 10 days of the date of travel. 

No one knows what the final situation will be but the current advice for owners wishing to travel with their pet to the EU is to keep an eye on the Government website for up-to-date information. If you are already certain that you will want to travel with your pet soon after 29 March 2019, it may be sensible to start the four month process now regarding vaccination and blood test so you won’t be caught out in March next year. 

Both Holly Rowe and me, Nicky Bromhall are Government Official Veterinarians. If you have any questions please do call us at Animal Health Centre and also keep watching the Government website www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit, as well as a help page from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons https://animalowners.rcvs.org.uk/help-and-advice/ pet-travel/  for further information.