House of Commons Library

Brexit and Pet Travel

Published Thursday, September 26, 2019

The rules for pet travel will change once the UK leaves the EU. In the case of a no deal Brexit there will be more stringent requirements for pet owners travelling to and from the EU.

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The EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows residents in EU Member States to travel freely with their cats, dogs and ferrets within the EU as long as they meet the requirements set out in the pet passport scheme.

Following Brexit, the ability of both UK and EU resident pet owners to travel between the UK and the EU will be affected. The UK leaving the EU means it will at some stage become a “third country” for the purposes of pet travel. The EU has a three-tier system for the movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets from third countries to Member States. Requirements will relate to whether the UK becomes a Part 1 listed country, Part 2 listed country or Unlisted. Being a listed country allows for several exemptions from the requirements for animals travelling from non-EU countries to EU Member States. Existing rules would continue to apply during any transition period and country listing be would be part of the discussions on any future deal with the EU.

The UK Government guidance Pet travel to Europe after Brexit states that “the UK is likely to be treated as an unlisted country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme if it leaves the EU without a deal”. This would mean UK residents travelling to the EU with pets would have to comply with requirements which include a rabies antibody test, and which requires a visit to their vet at least four months before planned travel to the EU to be sure of compliance. Pet owners will also need to use EU designated ports of entry.


Commons Briefing papers CBP-8667

Author: Elena Ares

Topics: Animal welfare, EU law and treaties, Europe

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