Travelling with pets & changes after brexit
*information is correct as of time of writing, 17th November 2020. Sources: Gov.uk
Now the nights are drawing in, we're all dreaming about villa holidays with private pools in sunnier climes. One of the best things about villa holidays is the greater flexibility to bring along our furry family members. While the UK is still a member of the European Union, we are part of the EU Pets Travel Scheme (PETS), which means that taking your dog, cat, or even ferret on holiday is quite straightforward. However, once the so-called transitional period is over, this could all change.
What Will change next year?
The transitional period finishes at the end of the year, so the regulations on taking your pet abroad will change from the 1st of January 2021, when existing EU pet passports issued in the UK will cease to be valid. Currently, you're able to take pets to and from the EU without having to put them in quarantine, as long as certain conditions are met, for example having them microchipped, holding a pet passport and having them vaccinated against rabies. Nobody knows what the rules for holidaying with pets will be come January as negotiations with the EU concerning a possible deal are not yet complete. We do know that the UK will become what the EU calls a ‘third country’ and within the EU Pets Travel Scheme (PETS), third counties fall into different categories, unlisted, Part 1 listed and Part 2 listed. The procedures for travelling to the EU with your pet will depend on what category we end up in. Designation as a listed country would allow for some exemptions from the requirements for animals journeying from non-member countries to the EU.
Best & worst-case scenarios
The best-case scenario is that we gain Part 1 listed status, which is held by 12 non-EU countries already. This would mean that your pet has to be microchipped, be vaccinated against rabies and hold a UK pet passport. If we're given Part 2 listed status, like America, it'll become more complicated as pets will need further treatments, such as against tapeworms, on top of a vet’s certificate each time they travel. It will also mean having to enter the EU at a designated entry point. The worst-case situation for travel-loving pet owners is if the UK is given unlisted status as this will mean requirements for pet travel authorisation become both costly and time-consuming. Alongside the aforementioned prerequisites, blood samples will have to be taken with a 3-month delay between samples being approved and when you'll be allowed to travel. Realistically, it's only likely that we'll be given unlisted status if we leave the EU without a deal.
what to do if you're planning a trip
Due to the uncertainty, current government advice is that people should contact an official vet at least four months before they plan to go away in order to receive the most up to date advice. Most veterinary practices will have an official vet on their team but they're likely to be more in demand come January. The government has created a Pet Travel Helpline which you can contact for information concerning travel with pets next year. The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 8.30 am until 5.00 pm, however, it is closed on bank holidays. You can call the helpline on 0370 241 1710 or send an email to email@example.com.