Pet Travel

Holmer Veterinary Surgery Advice Leaflet

Pet travel 

From the 1st January 2021 the UK (England, Scotland and Wales), including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, become a Part 2 listed third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. PET passports issued in the UK will no longer be valid to travel to into Europe, however EU issued PET passports can still be used to travel between the UK and the EU. For pet cats, dogs and ferrets to travel from the UK to the EU the requirements are:

  • The animal must be microchipped.
  • A rabies vaccination must be administered, the pet being a minimum of 12 weeks of age.
  • The pet must wait 21 days after a primary rabies vaccination before travelling (this wait will not be necessary after each subsequent rabies vaccination as long as the vaccination due date has not lapsed).
  • Your pet must be taken to your local Official Veterinarian (OV) to acquire an AHC (Animal Health Certificate), no more than 10 days before travel to the EU. At Holmer vet surgery 6 of our vets are registered OVs.
  • The pet must be examined by a veterinarian 1-5 days before returning to the UK with dogs requiring the administration of a wormer by the veterinarian. This is also a requirement for animals travelling directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI (Northern Ireland), Malta and Norway.
  • On arrival in the EU or NI , pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated travellers' point of entry (TPE).
ahc pic

Acquiring and using an AHC

Please contact the surgery as soon as you have a planned travel date. You will be given a AHC application form to complete and return to the practice as soon as possible. Due the lengthy nature of the AHC documents it imperative that we have plenty of time to prepare the paperwork prior to certification/date of issue. Once your application has been received you will be contacted by one of our OVs to arrange a mutually convenient time to issue the AHC, within 10 days of your travel date.  If your pets has not been microchipped and/or rabies vaccinated at our surgery you will need to provide evidence of:

  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • your pet’s vaccination history

A new AHC will be required for each trip to the EU and will be valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU or NI
  • onward travel within the EU or NI for 4 months after the date of issue
  • re-entry to the UK up to 4 months after the date of issue.

AHCs can only be used for travelling with up to 5 pets, for non-commercial reasons, with the exception of pets travelling for competition, show or sporting events, evidence of registration in such an event will be required.  The owner, or designated natural person (friend or family member) travelling with the pet must sign a written declaration, to confirm the non- commercial nature the movement, at the time the certificate is issued. Where a pet is to be transported by someone other than the owner the animals movement must occur within 5 days of the movement of the owner, evidence of the owners travel plans must be supplied. The owner must also supply, in writing, details of the individual or company who they are authorising to transport their pet/s on their behalf.

Export Health Certificates (EHCs)

Different requirements exist for animals being moved for commercial purposes and for travel to countries outside the EU. For further details on commercial movements please refer to the Border Operating Model (BOM). For dogs, cats and ferrets being transported commercially, when the movement of the pet/s occurs more than 5 days before or after the movement of their owner, for pets travelling to a country outside the EU, as well as for other movement of species, an owner must find and apply for the relevant EHC from the government website. Please ensure you that travel plans have been discussed with one of our OVs, and that they have agreed that we are able to help you with such movements, before selecting Holmer Veterinary Surgery as your designated practice when making an EHC application. Please note that an EHC does not exist for every type of animal movement, where an EHC does not exist owners must seek guidance from the destination country on pet importation requirements.

Dog in carrier

We advise all owners, planning to travel with their pets, check on requirements several months before they plan to travel.

We continue to advise that you research specific requirements for exportation to your chosen destination, as well as any requirements of countries through which your pet may transit en-route to the final destination. This is particularly important when travelling to non-EU listed countries such as New Zealand and Australia, where strict export requirements must be met. We recommend you visit the DEFRA website for further details on requirements for your chosen destination, you will also need to contact the local embassy. We strongly recommend that owners employ an experienced pet courier company to assist you in making travel arrangements for your pet/s. In some situations it will also be beneficial and/or necessary to employ a representative from your destination country to ensure all importation requirements are met.

Useful Links:

Guidance can be sought by contacting the APHA by emailing enquiries to

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