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Pet Passport & Travel

Rules are different depending on location

If you are considering taking your pet out of the country

There are a lot of things to think about and what you need to do very much depends on where you are going to, if your pet is returning to the UK and the means of transport by which it is travelling.

Currently the EU PETS travel scheme applies to all dogs, cats and ferrets travelling with their owner.  It is designed to stop the spread of rabies and other diseases into the UK while still allowing pets to travel.

The UK has been free of rabies for many years, but mammals are still at risk in some other countries. All rabies-susceptible animals entering the UK must spend six months in quarantine, unless they arrive under and meet all the conditions of PETS.

When the UK leaves the EU the rules for pet travel will change, at present we do not know exactly what they will be, however, you may need to get your pet vaccinated against rabies 4 months before it leaves the UK.  Therefore, if you plan to travel to the EU with your pet after Brexit we recommend you speak to us at least 4 months before you plan to leave the UK for advice on the steps you need to take.   Further information on the possible new regulations is included in the links below.

Points to consider before travelling with your pet

Please consider ALL the following points before organising travel for your pet and follow the associated links to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

  • The most important point is that the rules are specific to each country and depend on the country you are going to or coming from. This applies to travel within EU countries and travel into the EU from an unlisted country. A full list of approved and non-approved countries can be found at – https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/eu-and-non-eu-listed-countries
  • DON’T DELAY – find out the rules in plenty of time before you travel
  • You are responsible for ensuring your pet meets all the rules of the country you may be going to and those for re-entering the UK. Make sure you know what needs to be done before you leave N.I. and also what procedures may need to be carried out in the days before returning home again – this may involve finding a vet near your foreign destination.
  • Make sure the procedures have been carried out in the correct order and all documentation is correctly completed.
  • Failures to comply with the rules of the scheme will result in your pet being quarantined, delays to their trip home, and sometimes considerable costs.
  • Some non-EU countries require testing for disease months prior to your pet travelling ther so please enquire as far in advance as possible.
  • Be aware – should vaccinations be required you may have to wait for a specific period of time after your pet receives the vaccination before they can travel.

Always enquire with the ferry or airline operator as to what specific requirements they have with regards to travel. Each ferry operator or airline may have different requirements which may change from time to time. Often your pet will need a health certificate from your vet within a certain time period before travel to certify that they are healthy and fit for transport.

Travelling within the EU, or into the EU from another ‘listed’ country.

When travelling to or returning to the UK from another EU or non-EU listed country, your pet needs:

  • a microchip
  • a rabies vaccination (make sure your pet is microchipped first or the
  • vaccination won’t count)
  • a pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate
  • tapeworm treatment (for dogs only) 1-5 days before re-entering the UK

You must wait 21 days from the date of the rabies vaccination before your pet re-enters the UK.

Travelling into the EU from an ‘unlisted’ country

An ‘unlisted’ country is any country not included in the list of EU and non-EU countries.

When travelling to or returning to the UK from an unlisted country, your pet needs:

  • a microchip
  • a rabies vaccination (make sure your pet is microchipped first or the vaccination won’t count, the date of vaccination counts as day 0, not day 1)
  • a blood test – the vet must take the blood sample at least 30 days after the vaccination to check your pet has responded adequately
  • an official third country veterinary certificate
  • tapeworm treatment (for dogs only) 1- 5 days before entering the EU


You must wait 3 calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before travelling. The vet must give you a copy of the test results. These must show that your pet responded adequately to the vaccination.

You don’t have to wait 3 months if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to an unlisted country.

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING – Isle of Man and Channel Islands

There are no requirements for pets travelling directly between the UK and either the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Owners of pets entering the Channel Islands, Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland from outside the UK should contact the appropriate authorities in those countries for advice on approved routes and any other requirements.

Travelling to a NON-EU country from UK

ALL animals going to a Non-EU country also required an export health certificate which must be applied for through DARD NI. Contact the trade branch of DARD NI on 028 9052 4622

Travelling from Republic of Ireland to GB

This route of travel is still travel between two EU countries and the legislation still remains the same as it does from travel from an EU country into UK. Should you leave NI and travel by ferry from the Republic of Ireland to the UK the following rules do exist.

The requirements are that your animal must be microchipped, must have a PETS Passport and must have been vaccinated against rabies. Travel still must not take place for 21 days post rabies vaccination.

Travel from NI to GB

If however, you leave from a port in NI and travel to GB (ie England, Scotland or Wales) you are effectively travelling within the UK and your pet does not need a rabies vaccination. We still recommend you check with the ferry operator or airline to ensure they do not have any specific requirements with regards to a health certificate.


Should you be unclear about any of the information above we advise you contact DARD. They will be happy to advise you on the requirements for each country you may be travelling to or from and can help you with all applications for passports or export certificates.

Tel – 028 90524622

E-mail: tradeadminpost@daera-ni.gov.uk

Pet travel after the UK leaves the EU