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. We have repeatedly raised our concerns with ministers and government officials and have sought clarification regarding the new rules.

We have engaged with Members of Parliament, Northern Irish officials and members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee to outline the impact that this will have on dog owners, exhibitors 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.


EFRA Select Committee
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 Committee has been gathering evidence regarding the new rules and how they will impact animal welfare and disease control. We submitted written evidence to the inquiry on behalf of those who travel between GB, NI and the EU to breed, sell, exhibit or holiday with their dogs.
UK-EU negotiations
Michael Gove MP, then Co-Chair of the EU-UK Partnership Council, announced in February that he had been working intensively alongside European Commission Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič, to resolve a number of matters relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Mr Gove identified pet travel as one of the six priority issues which must be urgently addressed and committed to negotiating ‘a bilateral arrangement that comprehensively addresses the barriers that are imposed on pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and Ireland’. The UK Government’s proposed approach to NI has been outlined in their command paper, ‘Northern Ireland Protocol: The way forward’.

We strongly welcomed this step and wrote 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.
Update: delay to enforcement checks
With the education phase of the new pet travel rules drawing to an end, the UK Government announced further delays to Irish Sea border checks. This means that routine checks at the border have been suspended indefinitely in order to enable the UK and the EU to continue their discussions.

We are delighted with the recent announcement that routine checks will not take place at the NI border when travelling from GB. We will continue to call for the UK Government to find a permanent, agreed solution that enables dog owners to travel freely across the UK.
Latest update February 2023: Windsor Framework

On 27 February 2023 the UK Government and the European Commission announced an agreement on Northern Ireland had been reached, the agreement is known as the Windsor Framework. If implemented the new Windsor Framework will repeal the burdensome requirements for taking a dog from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, which was introduced under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Protocol introduced a requirement for dogs being transported from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to follow the same set of rules as a dog travelling from Great Britain into the EU. Including the requirement for an up-to-date rabies vaccination record and expensive accompanying pet travel paperwork. While enforcement checks had been paused indefinitely pending further discussions between the UK Government and the EU, in theory, non-compliance with the rules could still lead to penalties being issued.

The new Framework removes any requirement for a rabies vaccination for a dog travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, also the requirement for either an animal health certificate or pet passport will also be repealed. Under the Framework, travellers would simply need to declare their dog is microchipped and will not be taken into the Republic of Ireland (or another European Union country). Travellers wishing to continue into the Republic of Ireland (EU) will need to comply with the relevant existing pet travel requirements

With new rules and the Covid-19 pandemic prompting a number of new and important considerations for pet travel, we have pulled together a list of things that dog owners will need to consider before travelling out of GB. See our pet travel page for more information.

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) .