Before undertaking the export of a pet abroad, we recommend that you carefully consider the journey your pet will need to undertake and the requirements you will have to meet, as this can be a stressful and complex process.
Travel within the EU
As of the 1st January 2021, if you wish to take your pet to the EU or to NI (Northern Ireland), you will need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). This can only be issued by vets who have obtained the Official Veterinarian (OV) qualification. Each AHC is only valid for a single return trip.
Before travelling, owners of cats/dogs/ferrets must meet the following rules (in this order)
- Identify the pet with a microchip
- Vaccinate their pet against rabies (minimum age 12 weeks)
- Wait at least 22 days from the date of rabies vaccination before leaving Great Britain
- Arrange an appointment with one of our OVs to obtain an AHC no more than 10 days before travel (no more than 5 days before travel to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, Finland or Norway). A tapeworm treatment might be given at this appointment depending on which country you are travelling to.
- Prior to this appointment you will need to fill in and return your Pet Travel Checklist which you will be given at time of arranging the AHC appointment, at which time a deposit will be taken.
If your travel is for a commercial reason, you will need a different type of certificate. Please read our “Pet travel overview” for more information. Please note that there are separate companies, often located at the main ports, who specialise in AHC’s and therefore can be a more cost effective option.
Travel outside of the EU
You will need to provide the destination country with official statements and assurances relating to your pet, in the form of an Export Health Certificate. This is designed to prevent the importation and spread of animal disease. Each country has different requirements, and you as the pet owner/exporter are responsible for checking what export certification is required and ensuring that all official statements and assurances can be met. Export certification is issued by “Animal Health”, the executive agency working on behalf of DEFRA. Please read our “General guidance regarding the export of pets” for more information.