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French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Brexit hasn't just brought about changes in passport rules for humans, pets are also affected and now the French government has laid out the rules for pet passports for British second-home owners.

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners
Don't forget travel paperwork for your pets. Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP

Pre-Brexit, people travelling between France and the UK could obtain an EU Pet Passport for their car, dog or ferret which ensured a hassle-free transport experience.

But since the UK left the EU things have become more complicated – and a lot more expensive – for UK residents wanting to travel to France with pets.

You can find a full breakdown of the new rules HERE, but the main difference for people living in the UK is that that they now need an Animal Health Certificate for travel.

Unlike the Pet Passport, a new ACH is required for each trip and vets charge around £100 (€118) for the certificate. So for people making multiple trips a year, especially those who have more than one pet, the charges can quickly mount up.

UK nationals who live in France can still benefit from the EU Pet Passport, but until now the situation for second-home owners has been a little unclear.

However the French Agriculture ministry has now published updated information on its website.

The rules state: “The veterinarian can only issue a French passport to an animal holding a UK/EU passport issued before January 1st, 2021, after verifying that the animal’s identification number has been registered in the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD).”

I-CAD is the national database that all residents of France must register their pets in – find full details HERE.

The ministry’s advice continues: “If not registered, the veterinarian may proceed to register the animal in I-CAD, if the animal’s stay in France is longer than 3 consecutive months, in accordance with Article 22 of the AM of August 1st, 2012 on the identification of domestic carnivores.”

So if you are staying in France for longer than 90 days (which usually requires a visa for humans) your pet can be registered and get a Pet Passport, but those staying less than three months at a time will have to continue to use the AHC.

The confusion had arisen for second-home owners because previously some vets had been happy to issue the Passport using proof of a French address, such as utility bills. The Ministry’s ruling, however, makes it clear that this is not allowed.

So here’s a full breakdown of the rules;

Living in France

If you are living in France full time your pet is entitled to an EU Pet Passport regardless of your nationality (which means your pet has more travel rights than you do. Although they probably still rely on you to drive the car/book the ferry tickets).

Your cat, dog or ferret must be fully up to date with their vaccinations and must be registered in the national pet database I-CAD (full details here).

Once issued, the EU Pet Passport is valid for the length of the animal’s life, although you must be sure to keep up with their rabies vaccinations. Vets in France usually charge between €50-€100 for a consultation and completing the Passport paperwork.

Living in the UK

If you are living in the UK and travelling to France (or the rest of the EU) you will need an Animal Health Certificate for your cat, dog or ferret.

The vaccination requirements are the same as for the EU Pet Passport, but an ACH is valid for only 10 days after issue for entry to the EU (and then for four months for onward travel within the EU).

So if you’re making multiple trips in a year you will need a new certificate each time.

UK vets charge around £100 (€118) for a certificate, although prices vary between practices. Veterinary associations in the UK are also warning of delays in issuing certificates as many people begin travelling again after the pandemic (often with new pets bought during lockdown), so you will need to book in advance. 

Second-home owners

Although previously some French vets had been happy to issue certificates with only proof of an address in France, the French government has now clarified the rules on this, requiring that pets be registered within the French domestic registry in order to get an EU Pet Passport.

This can only be done if the pet is staying in France for more than three months. The three months must be consecutive, not over the course of a year.

UK pets’ owners will normally require a visa if they want to stay in France for more than three months at a time (unless they have dual nationality with an EU country) – find full details on the rules for people HERE.

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SNCF strike: Rail services across France cut as unions walk out in cost-of-living row

Rail unions are staging a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, the eve of the summer holidays, in a dispute over the cost of living, forcing national train operator SNCF to drastically reduce services across France and urge users to postpone their journeys

SNCF strike: Rail services across France cut as unions walk out in cost-of-living row

Nearly a quarter of TGVs have been cancelled, the day before France’s schools break up for the grandes vacances, as the CGT, Unsa, SUD-Rail and CFDT unions stage a 24-hour strike demanding wage increases in the face of rising inflation.

Just three trains out of four are running as scheduled on the Northern TGV Inoui, Eastern and Atlantic axes; while four out of five services and two out of three Ouigo trains will operate on the South-East network. 

READ ALSO Planes, trains and roads: France’s timetable for 2022 summer strikes

International traffic – such as Eurostar, Thalys or Lyria – should run “almost normally” throughout the day, according to SNCF Voyageurs. 

Intercité and regional TER services, however, are heavily affected by the walkout. Just one Intercité train in three is running, while all overnight services except for Paris-Nice have been cancelled, and three out of five scheduled regional TER services will not run.

Customers whose journeys have been cancelled should have been notified by SMS, SNCF Voyageurs said. The carrier offered train changes, but also encouraged users to postpone their travel if at all possible.

Commuters in Ile-de-France, meanwhile, face problems getting in and out of work with the following services in the greater Paris region affected.

Transilien Lines H and P: One train in three will operate

Transilien Lines J, L, N, R, U: One train in two will run as scheduled

RER B, C, D, E: One train in two will run.

T4: One tram will operate every 15 minutes

The strikes, coming so close to the start of the grandes vacances – the first big getaway of the summer is expected this weekend – will concern those looking forward to their holidays, with thousands of early getaways already disrupted by strikes by employees and subcontractors of Aéroport de Paris, firefighters from Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, easyJet and Ryanair, in particular, causing the cancellation of several hundred flights.

SNCF CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou insisted in late June that upcoming holiday departures were “not threatened” despite the threat of walkouts and said that the number of railway workers would be increased.

“We have put the issues on the table, we try to build a balance, because increasing wages is one thing, but there is also an economic issue: it costs and we must be careful about the impact on the price of tickets, for example,” he told broadcaster Public Senate. 

“It is necessary that at the end of the year, the company remains balanced so that it does not cost the country.”

READ ALSO When – and where – to avoid driving on France’s roads this summer

Unions and SNCF bosses are set for talks on Wednesday.