Brexit pet travel update

Italian Greyhound being held by a lake

Following the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021, new rules regarding pet travel between GB, NI and the EU were introduced which will have a profound effect on those who travel between these nations/countries to breed, sell or show their dogs.

GB, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have been given part 2 listed status with regards to EU pet travel. However, the Government has insisted it will continue to push for this to be updated to part 1 listed.

We are disappointed that, despite assurances from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pet owners will now have to comply with a number of significant changes when travelling abroad with their pet:

New requirements for GB-based dog owners travelling from GB to NI or EU

GB-based dog owners seeking to travel from GB to NI – and EU countries – will now be required to obtain an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from an Official Veterinarian for their dogs before every journey into NI or the EU. In order to obtain an AHC, you will need to comply with these requirements:

  • Dog must be microchipped
  • Dog must be vaccinated against rabies – puppies must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated
  • Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel
  • Visit your vet to get an AHC for your pet no more than 10 days before travelling to the EU

Animal Health Certificates are valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
  • A single trip for entry to the EU – a new certificate must be obtained for each entry
  • Onward travel within the EU for four months after the date of issue
  • Re-entry to GB for four months after the date of issue.

Entry to NI or the EU must be via a designated Travellers’ Point of Entry.

Tapeworm treatment will be required between one and five days before arriving to Finland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta. This will need to be administered by a vet prior to every journey.

New requirements for NI-based dog owners travelling from NI to GB or EU

NI-based dog owners will continue to require an EU pet passport to travel to EU countries with their dog. Pet passports issued to NI residents prior to 1 January 2021 will need to be taken to a veterinarian to be updated. While no health preparations or paperwork will be required to enter GB from NI a pet passport will now also be required to re-enter NI following a trip to GB, as well as ensuring their dog has met the tapeworm treatment requirements. Upon return from GB to NI, dog owners will need to enter via a designated Travellers’ Point of Entry.

The Kennel Club’s actions

We are deeply concerned about the impact that such requirements will have on pet owners and have already heard from many who are extremely concerned about both the financial burden and the inconvenience of complying with these rules. As such, we have been in contact with the Government to raise our concerns and seek clarification regarding the new rules.

We have also engaged with members of parliament and Northern Irish officials to highlight the significant difference between the current and previous rules and to outline the impact that this will have on pet owners and breeders.

It is our hope that our work will increase the existing pressure on the Government to find a workable and permanent solution and to remove the barriers which are currently preventing smooth travel for pet owners between NI and GB.


We are pleased that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the new Brexit regulations and how they will affect pet travel. The inquiry will cover how the new rules will impact animal welfare and disease control. We will be engaging with the committee’s inquiry and will submit our thoughts on behalf of those who travel between GB, NI and the EU with their dogs to breed, sell, show or holiday.

The Northern Irish Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots, has announced the extension of the education phase of the new pet travel rules. This means that, until 1 October 2021, routine checks at the border will not commence to allow pet owners time to adjust to the new regulations in place. Mr Poots has also announced that he will continue to press his Westminster and EU counterparts for the establishment of a Common Travel Area.

Michael Gove MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, announced that he has been working intensively alongside European Commission Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič, to resolve a number of matters relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Minister has identified pet travel as one of the six priority issues which must be urgently addressed, committing to negotiating ‘a bilateral arrangement that comprehensively addresses the barriers that are imposed on pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and Ireland’. We strongly welcome this step and have written to the Minister to outline our remaining concerns regarding the pet travel requirements which will continue to negatively impact on puppy buyers, dog owners, exhibitors and breeders both sides of the Irish Sea.

How to help

If you have concerns regarding this situation and how it will impact you directly, we would strongly advise contacting your local representative – your Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislative Assembly if you are based in NI – to request that they also raise their concerns with DEFRA and/or the Northern Irish Executive on your behalf.

For more information email Campaigns (The Kennel Club).