Brexit: Pet passports needed to cross Irish Sea from Great Britain to Northern Ireland


British pet passports will run out at the end of the year, making journeys with cats, dogs and ferrets to the EU more complicated. And for the first time, taking a pet to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK will involve red tape – and a rabies vaccination for the animal.

The European Commission has set out the new rules for taking pets abroad that will apply from 1 January 2021.

While animal owners from Northern Ireland will continue to have access to the EU’s pet passport scheme, those in England, Wales and Scotland will need to obtain an “animal health certificate” from a vet in advance of every visit to the European Union and Northern Ireland, showing their pet has been vaccinated against rabies.

Defra says this must take place no more than 10 days before travel.

The certificate remains valid for four months, but only for a single journey.

In addition, for entry into Northern Ireland and the republic from Great Britain, as well as to Finland and Malta, pet dogs will have to be treated against Echinococcus multilocularis  – an especially unpleasant tapeworm.

At present there are no restrictions in taking animals between any of the four UK nations. But this will change after the Brexit transition phase ends.