When travelling with pet dogs, cats or ferrets, the rules you must follow depend on the country you are going to or coming from. When you need to apply for an export health certificate (EHC) to move your pet please follow the instructions below. Before you start decide which type of export this is:

Before you start

Commercial movement of pets to European Union (EU) Member States or to a Third Country through an EU Member State (including ROI)

If the export of the dogs/cats or ferrets involves a change of ownership then this is considered a commercial move. This type of export will require an Intra trade Export Health Certificate arranged through Traces NT. In NI this rule will apply if you are exporting to a country outside of the EU and the animal is leaving via the ROI e.g. Dublin airport. A link to the required information and application is provided below.

Noncommercial pet exports

If you are travelling with your own pets then you do not require an Intra Trade health Certificate. A valid pet passport is all that is required for travel.

There will be two types of pet passport in circulation, and both are valid if completed correctly. The first type is a re-labelled pet passport, as shown in the first photo. The second is a new EU Northern Ireland (XI) pet passport, as shown in the second photo. Details on how the pet passport should be completed can be found on EU Pet Travel Scheme - How to Complete Pet Passports, and can be used as assurance that the document is legal and completed correctly to allow for travel. Although the relabelled Pet Passport, as shown below in the first image, has GB prefix at the bottom of each page, it is still a legal EU Pet Passport for Northern Ireland.


The newer pet passports, which are not relabelled and use the Northern Ireland prefix XI at the bottom of each page, are shown in the second image.

If you are travelling with more than 5 pets this is regarded as commercial travel unless you apply for an exemption e.g. if you are travelling to a show or exhibition. Pet travel rules, including the exemption rules,  are provided at Travelling with Pets.

Please refer to the Aquaculture and Aquaculture Products commodity box for pet / ornamental fish.

Completing an Export Health Certificate (EHC) application for a Third Country i.e. non EU countries

This form will be required if the final destination of the animals is a non-EU country whether the export is commercial or non-commercial.

You can obtain the EHC application via the Defra form finder. Guidance on using the tool is available in the DECOL exporter’s instructions at the link below:

All pet owners should note that some EHCs on Form Finder state 'application only, not to be certified'. This is for administrative purposes only. Please download for completion and submission to DECOL.

If you need digital help to complete an application for an Export Health Certificate (EHC) please contact your regional DAERA Direct Office for assistance.

If there is insufficient space on the EHC application to record full details you need to complete a schedule (list of all animals for export) and submit this with your application. The schedule and instructions for completion are available using the link below:

You should review the Notes for Guidance (NFG) for each certificate (available via the Defra Form Finder) to ascertain if import permits or importing authority approvals are also required.  Where they are these should be obtained from the importing authorities prior to applying for an EHC and uploaded along with all other application documents via DECOL.

The NFG may also advise you need to complete an Owner/exporter declaration.  Where one is needed a template declaration is available at the link below:

If you need further assistance completing your declaration please contact the Armagh DAERA regional office for assistance daeradirect.armagh@daera-ni.gov.uk.

You should complete a nominate Authorised Private Veterinary Practitioner (aPVP) template and submit this with your application.  All export documentation will be issued directly to the nominated AVI once we have processed your application.

Your transport company may need a statement from your vet confirming that your pet is fit to travel.  Check with the country you’re travelling to for information about any extra documents you’ll need to enter with your pet.

Detailed information on travelling with your pet, including how to bring it back to the UK are available at the link below:

Exporting Cats or Dogs to Australia

If exporting cats or dogs to Australia some additional steps will be required by both the exporter and the certifying aPVP. There have been some amendments to the arrangements for certification of dogs and cats to Australia and DAERA aPVPs will now complete the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre Test (RNATT). There is also, an additional requirement for all final export documents for cats and dogs to be reviewed and countersigned by a DAERA Certifying Officer. Further information on this may be found on the Pet Exports to Australia page.

Start your Export Health Certificate Application

Back to top