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Pet Passports: What pet owners need to know about travel between France and the UK

Pet Passports: What pet owners need to know about travel between France and the UK
The dog needs to get his papers in order before heading off on holiday. Photo: Ariana Drehsler/AFP
Brexit has changed a lot of things for human travellers, but the four-legged ones are not immune, with changes to European Pet Passport access meaning a different process for many dogs, cats and ferrets travelling between France and the UK.

Since the end of the Brexit transition period, the UK is no longer part of the EU-created Pet Passport scheme.

READ ALSO Travel to France: What has changed since Brexit

Here’s what this means if you are travelling with a dog, cat or a ferret:

You live in France

If you live in France and your pet’s passport was issued by your vet in France, then nothing changes.

You can continue to use the French-issued passport on trips to the UK, and to countries within the EU.

You live in the UK

However for people who live in the UK, there are big changes to travel.

The EU says: “From January 1st 2021, EU pet passports issued to a pet owner resident in Great Britain are no longer valid for travel with pets from Great Britain to an EU country or Northern Ireland.”

However the UK has been granted ‘listed’ status by the EU, which means things are not as complicated as they might have been.

Instead of a Pet Passport, dogs, cats and ferrets now need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) – the big difference between this and the passport is that the AHC is only valid for one trip, so you will need a new certificate in advance of each trip to France.

Vets in the UK have been issuing AHCs since December 2020. To get one you need;

  • Proof of your pet’s microchipping history
  • Your pet’s vaccination record
  • A certificate for a rabies vaccination that was carried out at least 21 days before the date of travel

If the dog wants to travel onwards from France to Spain to watch a bullfight, his AHC will be valid for four months. Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP

The certificate costs an average of £100, although different vets charge different amounts, and obviously if you are travelling with more than one animal you need a certificate for each one.

Once you have the certificate, it is valid for entry to the EU for just 10 days – so your appointment needs to be close to your date of travel. The certificate can only be used for one entry to the EU.

Once you are in France, the certificate is valid for onward travel to other countries within the EU for four months and for re-entry to the UK for four months. If you intend to stay longer than four months in France, you will need to get a new certificate in order to re-enter the UK.

The EU rules state that arrivals from a non-EU country should also have a written declaration that their pet’s relocation is for non-commercial reasons, although this can be in the form of a simple letter. 


Member comments

  1. Regarding the new AHC for pets. This can get very expensive if you go across regularly, with a couple of dogs (which we do). It is possible/feasible/legal to get a French Pet Passport and use that for travelling back and forth instead of getting an AHC every time??

    1. Hi
      If you have a French address permanent or second home, should not be a problem. We’re resident and our vet here was happy to provide a French pet passport. I know of people with second homes here who have done the same. A lot cheaper €15 than an AHC.
      We’ve been back to the UK with the French pet passport without any problems.

      1. Hi, does the French pet passport work ok alongside the UK one…? Our collie is already chipped in UK…will this affect her ability to be ‘dual passport holder’? Thanks.

        1. Hi, for our first trip back to the UK, I Took both passports having asked our vet to put the worming details in both as a precaution. At Eurotunnel I just showed the French passport, no problem and they didn’t even read the chip. I asked them to confirm that nothing had to be done in the UK before returning to France eg worming which they did.
          Coming back from UK, again no problem with the French passport.
          Hope this helps.

  2. Yes, all dogs in France are supposed to be chipped but ours has a UK chip which wasn’t a problem. The vet copied all the details from our UK passport to the new French one including the chip number.

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