Want to take your dog to France (or elsewhere in Europe) after BREXIT? Wondering about the Pet Passport scheme and if you have to get a new rabies test? Here’s everything you need to know about the rule changes for taking a dog or pet from UK to Europe and everything you need to do.
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Taking a dog to France- the problems
When you’re travelling abroad, there are a million things to think about. If you’re trying to travel abroad with a pet, there are a million more.
In the past, taking a dog from the UK to France was relatively simple; you did the rabies tests, got a pet passport and voila.
Off you could pop whenever you liked, with only a couple of things to remember before you left or when you returned.
Sadly, since BREXIT, travelling abroad with your dog is no longer that simple, even if you just want a quick weekend away in France.
Travelling from the UK to France with a dog after BREXIT
The BREXIT transition period ended on 01 January 2021.
From that moment, several important changes happened regarding taking your pet to France/ Europe from the UK. It also applies to taking a dog to Northern Ireland, even though that’s technically part of the UK.
Here’s everything you need to know and do before you travel.
For this post, we’re focussing on dogs (because that’s what we have!). The rules for cats and ferrets will be similar, but for them and all other pets please do check with your vet to make sure you’ve done everything you need to.
Taking a dog to France from the UK- the basics
There are 3 essential things your dog needs in order to travel with you from the UK to France, Northern Ireland or any other European country:
- They must be microchipped
- They must be vaccinated against rabies (more on this below)
- They must have a valid Animal Health Certificate (AHC)- more on that below too!
With those 3 things, you’re pretty much good to go, but let’s break it down into a little more detail to make sure everything is clear.
I’m assuming the microchipping is self-explanatory, but this is a great time to check your address and contact details on your micro-chip… just in case!
Also, if you co-own the dog (ie- with your spouse) make sure BOTH of your names are on the microchip details, just in case one of you needs to cross the border with the dog.
Watch the video about taking your dog to Europe after BREXIT
Prefer video to text? No problem- here’s the video about taking your dog to France (or Europe!) after BREXIT:
We hope you found the video useful. If you did, we’d love it if you followed us on Youtube. New videos with tips for motorhoming and campervanning in the UK and Europe are released weekly.
Rabies tests after BREXIT
The good news is that rabies tests for dogs become a LOT easier after BREXIT.
Once your dog has the rabies jab, you NO LONGER NEED TO WAIT FOR A RABIES TEST.
Yep, that whole process is now gone (which is good- our poor pup failed his. Three times!)
After BREXIT, all you need is to wait 21 days after the jab- and then you’re ok to travel. Make sure you count correctly- it’s 21 CLEAR days before travel.
NOTE: Your dog must be at least 12 weeks old before they can have the rabies vaccination. They will also need all their other vaccinations too and not all can be given together- you’ll need to talk to your vet to make sure you have enough time.
What if you already HAVE a UK Pet Passport?
Ok, good and bad news.
The bad news is that your UK-issued pet passport is now obsolete. You can no longer travel with your pet with it.
BUT, on the positive side, if you already have a UK pet passport for your dog, that means they’re microchipped and have had a rabies jab in the past.
- IF THE RABIES VACCINATIONS ARE STILL IN DATE- you don’t need another rabies jab; just keep them up to date
- IF THE RABIES VACCINATIONS HAVE LAPSED- you will need to visit your vet to get another rabies jab and then wait 21 days before travel.
Do you need repeat rabies vaccinations for each trip?
No. As long as you keep the rabies vaccinations up to date (this could be anywhere from every year to every couple of years, depending on brand and dosage), then you do NOT need a new rabies vaccination for each trip. But make sure you carry the paperwork with you.
Want to head to Europe with your motorhome?
Grab your FREE (printable) checklist and discover 25 things you NEED to take with you when you travel in Europe. Make your life easier today.
Getting an animal health certificate (AHC)
Ok, now for the ‘less-good’ part.
EVERY time you take your dog from the UK to France or Europe, you will need to visit your vet in order to get an Animal Health Certificate.
Even if the last one is still in date (they’re valid for up to 4 months, which is hilarious as it technically means your dog can stay in the Schengen area longer than you can!)
How do you get an Animal Health Certificate?
You need to visit your vet no more than 10 days before travel. You must visit an ‘official’ vet- one who is licensed to issue an AHC- not all of them are, so be sure to book well in advance.
At the appointment, you must provide proof of:
- your pet’s microchip
- your pet’s vaccination history
- rabies jab
How long is an AHC valid for?
The AHC is valid immediately, but you must leave the UK within 10 days to enter the EU or NI. From then, it is valid for
- onward travel within the EU or NI for 4 months after the date of issue
- re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue
What about repeat trips with your dog from the UK to France or Europe?
If you’re like us, you travel as much as possible. In ‘normal’ times (global pandemics aside) we travel back and forth from the UK to France with our dog almost every month.
From now on, if your pet is registered in the UK, you will need a NEW AHC for each trip- even though they are valid for up to 4 months.
Taking your dog to Europe? These might help:
- Taking your dog to France from the UK? Try a pet-friendly cabin
- How to keep your dog cool on a road trip
- Essential dog travel accessories your road trip NEEDS
Our favourite travel gear- click here to see latest deals
What if you have several dogs?
You will need an AHC for each pet.
The maximum number of dogs you can travel with as a ‘normal’ person (ie, not a business) is 5, unless for a show, competition or event.
How much does an AHC cost?
Ok, are you sitting down? Our vet will be charging £111 for one single AHC.
Yep, just for one piece of paper that will only be valid for a week or so.
That doesn’t include the costs of any other jabs or vaccinations which may be needed.
Some vets charge as little as £90 and we’ve heard of some charging as much as £150! Some vets will offer a discount for a second dog, so it’s worth shopping around.
What about tapeworm treatment?
If you are travelling with your dog from the UK directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta, they must have treatment against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis).
Tapeworm treatment must be given 1 to 5 days before arriving in any of these countries. Your vet must enter full details on the AHC following treatment.
So, do break this down, if you are going motorhome or campervan touring in Norway with a dog, you will need to see a vet for a tapeworm tablet 1-5 days before crossing into Norway, and then you’ll need to see a vet AGAIN for another tapeworm tablet 1-5 days before returning to the UK.
Tapeworm for returning to the UK
As now, you will need to get a tapeworm treatment given to your dog 1-5 days before returning to the UK. This must be marked on the AHC.
If you are returning to the UK directly from Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta, you will not need to give your dog a tapeworm treatment before arriving in the UK.
What happens when you arrive in the EU or NI?
On arrival in the EU or NI, pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated travellers’ point of entry (TPE).
Here, you may need to show the following documents:
- a valid AHC for each pet
- microchip details (and scan the pet)
- rabies vaccination proof
- tapeworm treatment (if required)
Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.
Travelling to Northern Ireland with your pet after BREXIT
Yeah… now it gets even more fun.
You now need an AHC for each trip in order to take your dog or pet to Northern Ireland (unless it has an EU pet passport).
EU Pet Passports for NI-based dogs
NI-based pets and assistance dogs can use an NI issued EU Pet Passport and will not need an animal health certificate. You should contact DAERA or your vet for further information on entrance requirements for returning to NI.
Rules for returning to the UK with your dog
Nothing changes in this process. You will still need an approved tapeworm treatment 1-5 days before travel.
(If you are returning to the UK from France or the EU, here’s our experience of crossing during quarantine.)
Travelling from the EU to the UK on an EU Pet Passport
If you already have an EU Pet Passport- do everything you can to keep it! If you travel regularly, you’ll save yourselves a fortune.
If you’re living in the EU and plan to travel with your pet using a UK-issued pet passport, you should speak to your vet.
If you have a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you can use it to bring your pet to GB.
If you wish to enter the UK with an EU-registered pet, you must have:
- an EU pet passport (issued in the EU, or in GB before 1 January 2021), or a pet passport from a Part 1 listed third country
- the AHC issued in GB used to travel to the EU – which you can use up to 4 months after it was issued
- a GB pet health certificate (for travel into GB only)
Your pet will NOT need this documentation if it’s entering GB from:
- the Channel Islands
- the Isle of Man
So there we go. Whether we like it or not, those are the new rules for travelling with your pet from the UK to Europe.
Other posts you might find useful:
- Our favourite dog travel accessories
- Unmissable Europe road trip ideas
- 10 Bizarre European traditions you’ve never heard of!
- Best places in France for a road trip
Kat never planned to buy a motorhome. She also never planned to quit her job as an air traffic controller, go touring around Europe in said motorhome, start one of the UK’s largest motorhome travel websites… or get a cocker spaniel.
Find out how she went from stuck in the rat race to being a digital nomad and inspiring thousands of people to have their own epic adventures here.
If you’d like to connect with Kat, send her an email or follow her adventures on social media.
8 thoughts on “Taking a Dog to France or Europe- Complete Guide”
Very helpful thanks very much
but I cannot see that you have put clearly, that if your pet has an EU issued passport, then it is enough to travel to EU country or NI (plus chip, rabies and tapeworm treatment, where applicable), no need for that ridiculous AHC (which I think they will get rid of eventually, or there will be riots;) )
I have an EU pet passport that my uk vet refused to update, is he allowed to update now or shall I get French vet to update with new rabies jab?
https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/travelling-pets ,I live in NI have been able to travel to uk mainland without all this … alot of us dog owners are trying to get this changed … any current passport is out of date end of dec 2020
What about leaving the UK to travel all over Europe for a year…. Do I get an AHC every months wherever we happen to be???
AHCs will be valid for a single trip into the EU, onward travel within the EU and re-entry to Great Britain.
……… I answered my own question
Thankyou – one of the most understandable pages i’ve found so far!
Any chance of advoice on taking 2 tortoise and a cockatiel to france!
You’re welcome- I’m so pleased it was helpful. Sadly, I have no clue regarding tortoises or cockatiels- but your vet should be able to help you. Safe travels!