Q&As for Pet Travel from 1 January 2021

The EU Pet Travel regulation (Regulation (EU) 576/2013 details the documentary, health and compliance check requirements for the travel of pet dogs (including assistance dogs), cats and ferrets between and into EU Member States (MS) including Northern Ireland to avoid the quarantining of animals.

Under the NI Protocol, from 1 January 2021, the EU Pet Travel Regulation will continue to apply to travel into and between NI/EU Member States. 

From 1 January 2021, Great Britain (GB) became a ‘Part II Listed’ country, for the purposes of pet travel. 

This will mean there will be additional documentary, health preparations and compliance checks for travelling with a pet from GB or returning to NI from GB, including an EU pet passport (for NI travellers) or an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for GB travellers and a rabies vaccination. 

From 1 January 2021 it was expected that a number of pet owners would be unable to meet the conditions required to comply with the EU Pet Travel Regulation. To allow time for these changes to be communicated and allow travellers time to prepare for the new documentary and health requirements, there will be no routine checks carried out on those travelling with pets from GB to NI until 1 July 2021, travellers will then be expected to be fully compliant from that date.  Officials will reserve the right to undertake checks should there be a suspicion of illegal activity or welfare concerns

DAERA are currently developing a process for the implementation of compliance checks from 1 July 2021.  When processes have been finalised the website and frequently asked questions will be updated and communication will be issued to stakeholders. 

More information can be found at the link below:-

Veterinarians

Briefing notes covering the most up to date information, advice and instructions on what preparations will be needed was issued to Authorised Veterinary Inspector (AVIs) practices on 15 and 18 December 2020.

Assistance Dogs

Recognised Assistance Dogs must follow the same rules as those for pet animals and this will continue after the transition period.

The following Q&A provides clarification for Pet travel between Great Britain (GB) and NI from 1 January 2021.

For the purposes of Pet Travel, GB includes England, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

The additional requirements will impact significantly on travelling within the United Kingdom (UK) and particularly on travellers with assistance pets and pet trainers - what is being done to reduce the impact and remove these additional requirements?

The Minister is aware of the impact of these additional requirements and has written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP and to the European Commission, highlighting the specific issues and officials continue to engage with counterparts in Defra to explore mitigations.

If I am travelling from NI to GB with my pet but I am not returning to NI with my pet what are the requirements?

If travelling from NI to GB and not returning to NI, with your pet, there are no documentary or health preparations, however there is a legal requirement that dogs are microchipped at 8 weeks old.

If I am travelling from GB to NI with my pet what are the requirements?

To travel from GB to NI your pet needs:-

  • a microchip
  • a valid EU pet passport, or EU animal health certificate confirming microchip and vaccinations (valid for 10 days from issue to entry of an EU Member State (including NI) and for 4 months onward travel within the EU)
  • a rabies vaccination (make sure your pet is microchipped first or the vaccination will not count) - the dog must be at least 12 weeks old before vaccination and the vaccination must be in date at the time of travel.
  • you must wait 21 days from the date of the rabies vaccination before travelling
  • tapeworm treatment (dogs only) administered between 1 and 5 days before entering NI
  • entry to NI must be through a Travellers Point of Entry

If I am travelling to GB and planning to return to NI, what documentation and health preparations do I need to make?

Pet owners returning to NI from GB will need to make the same preparations as set out above to return to NI from GB.  Whilst Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have confirmed there will be no checks or changes to the requirements for pets travelling from NI to GB, any person travelling from NI with a pet to GB and returning to NI, will be required to adhere to the EU requirements for travelling into the EU/NI from a Part II listed country.  However, NI travellers will be able to obtain a valid EU pet passport in NI to use as an alternative to an AHC.

If I am travelling from NI to the EU (including Republic Of Ireland) (ROI), what are the requirements?

Current pet travel within the EU including ROI, requires a pet passport and rabies vaccination, there is no change to these requirements.

Will my current EU pet passport, issued in NI, prior to 31 December 2020, still be valid for return travel into NI from GB, or do I apply for a new one?

No, current EU pet passports issued in both NI and GB up to 31 December 2020, will not be valid for travel to the EU (including NI) after the 31 December 2020.  Interim measures have been put in place.  If you are travelling in early 2021, you should contact your vet who will arrange to update your pet passport appropriately to allow travel.  A new style UK (NI) branded EU Pet Passport will be available shortly and these will be distributed to veterinary practices in due course. A list of veterinary practice contacts can be accessed at the following link:-

Will my pet be subject to checks if I am returning to NI from GB?

Yes. EU regulations require checks in respect of pet movements for pets entering the EU (including NI) from third counties.  From1 January 2021 it was expected that a number of pet owners will be unable to comply with the EU Pet Travel Regulation, to allow time for these changes to be communicated and allow travellers time to prepare for the new documentary and health requirements, there will be no routine checks carried out on those travelling with pets from GB to NI until 1 July 2021, travellers will then be expected to be fully compliant from that date.   However, officials will reserve the right to undertake checks should there be a suspicion of illegal activity or welfare concerns.

Where can I get a pet passport and how much will it cost?

You can obtain a pet passport directly from one of the veterinary practices participating in the pet travel scheme, (see link below for details). The price of consultation and advice, rabies testing, any necessary vaccinations and issuing documents, is set by each individual vet. Please speak to your vet about the cost if preparing to travel with your pet. 

Will my pet require a rabies vaccination for travelling to Northern Ireland from GB?

Yes, a rabies vaccination will be required and you need to make sure your pet is microchipped first, or the vaccination will not count. The pet must be must be at least 12 weeks old before vaccination and you must wait 21 days from the date of the rabies vaccination before travelling and the vaccine must be in date at the time of travel. 

I am concerned that the rabies vaccination will have a detrimental effect on the health of my pet?

There is already a requirement for such a vaccination for pets intending to travel to the EU, including the Republic of Ireland, from NI.  All vaccinations recommended for use in NI/EU have undergone rigorous testing to assess safety and ensure effectiveness.  The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), an Executive Agency within DEFRA, regulate the safety and quality of veterinary medicines in the UK and you may wish to seek further advice from them regarding any vaccination concerns.  The VMD can be contacted here

If my pet has not met the requirements of the Pet Travel Regulation what will happen on my return to NI?

From 1 July 2021, pets that do not comply with the requirements of the EU Pet Travel Regulation (EU) 576/2013 will be subject to appropriate action as set out in Article 35. These actions include returning the pet animal to its country of dispatch or isolating the pet animal under official control for the time necessary for it to comply with the necessary conditions. You will be responsible for any costs incurred.

How do I know if my pet’s rabies vaccination is up-to-date?

Your vet will be able advise you when a rabies vaccination is due.  They will also be able to advise whether other health and documentary checks are required for travel.  We recommend that you contact your local vet before planning any travel with your pet.

How long does my pet’s rabies vaccination remain valid for?

The lifespan of the rabies vaccination depends on the brand of vaccination used and your vet will be able to advise you when rabies boosters will be required.

Does the rabies vaccination need to be given every time you intend to travel?

No.  You should only need to get you pet vaccinated for the first trip provided the animal’s rabies vaccination is then kept up to date.

How much will obtaining a pet passport and health preparations cost?

The price of consultation and advice, rabies testing, vaccinations and issuing document (including a pet passport) are set by each individual vet. Please speak to your vet about the cost of preparing to travel with your pet. 

Will my Pet require Echinococcosis Multilocularis (EM) treatment every time I return to NI from GB?

Yes, EU regulations require that dogs comply with preventative health measures, and that tape worm treatment is administered within 24 to 120 hours (1 to 5 Days) of entry to the EU (including NI).

Will I need to enter NI through a Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE) if travelling from GB?

Yes, you will need to enter EU including NI via a TPE when you travelling from a third country such as GB to facilitate compliance checks. 

Where will the Travellers’ Points of Entry be located in Northern Ireland?

TPEs will be located at the following locations: Belfast Port, Larne Port, Belfast International Airport, Belfast City Airport and City of Derry Airport.

Is there any ‘grace period’ regarding these changes being introduced in relation to the implementation of the NI Protocol with regards to pet travel from GB to NI?

From 1 January 2021 it was expected that a number of pet owners will be unable to fully meet the conditions required to comply with the EU Pet Travel Regulation, for movement of pets between GB and NI.   Pets travelling from GB to NI will therefore not be subject to routine compliance checks until 1 July 2021.  However, officials will reserve the right to undertake checks should there be a suspicion of illegal activity or welfare concerns.

Commercial movement of pets

Will commercial movement of pets be exempt from pet travel requirements?

No, in the sale or commercial movement of pets (or where more than 5 pets are travelling in a consignment), you will need to comply with the pet travel scheme rules.  In addition for commercial trade, you must also meet the requirements laid down by the ‘Balai’ Directive (Directive 92/65/EEC).

General

When and where can I get further information?

 

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