Pet Travel Advice

Are you Travelling to the European Union, Northern Ireland or even further afield with your pet?

The Vet Whitehaven are here to help for your Pet Travel needs.  

Please give us plenty of notice!  It’s not as straightforward as it used to be before Brexit!


If you are traveling to the European Union (EU) or Northern Ireland (NI) you will need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC)

A Current EU pet passport issued in GB will NOT be valid for travel to the EU or NI from 1st January 2021.

Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel to the EU or NI for the first time after 1st January 2021, you’ll need to apply for an Animal Health Certificate.

Take Note

-If you do have an EU passport issued in GB before 1st January 2021, you may be able to use this to travel as long as Rabies is up to date BUT best check on the government website first.

-There are a few exceptions to the rules and sometimes you will require an Export Health Certificate (EHC) instead, that’s where it can get even more complicated!


If your pet is traveling to a non-EU country an Export Health Certificate (EHC) is required.

Pretty much every non-EU country is unique and different rules will apply to Pet Travel.  

See for government guidelines on which countries this is applicable to.  It is important you research the import requirements of your destination first before contacting us.

What your pet needs to apply for an Animal Health Certificate.

  • Your dog, cat or ferret must be microchipped.
  • Your dog, cat or ferret needs to be vaccinated against rabies (NB: your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated).
  • You will need to wait 21 days after any primary Rabies vaccinations before you travel so bear this in mind when you are planning your travel and AHC appointment.


How do I get an Animal Health Certificate?

An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) can only be issued by an Official Veterinarian (OV).  

When you apply for an Animal Health Certificate, you will need to make an appointment and bring your pet to us, along with their vaccination and medical records including proof of rabies vaccination, to the issuing vet.

When you book an appointment, we will email you a questionnaire form to complete prior to your vet visit. This will contain vital information that you need to supply before the AHC can be issued.  In some cases, we may need to contact a laboratory to confirm blood results.

An Animal Health Certificate normally includes details of:

  • Pet owner’s details
  • Your pet’s description
  • Rabies vaccination details (your animal will need to have been vaccinated at least three weeks prior to the AHC appointment and have had a UK Rabies vaccine within the past three years)
  • Rabies blood test (as required entering to certain countries)
  • Canine tapeworm treatment (as required entering to certain countries)
  • Intended country of entry into the EU. (The AHC has to be issued in the language of the country in which you are entering the EU and NOT your country of destination)

Why is an Animal Health Certificate necessary?

An Animal Health Certificate, along with any other official documentation, is a legal requirement in order to bring your pet back into the UK or to take them to a European Union country without quarantine. The primary purpose is to keep the UK free from Rabies, and other foreign diseases such as those transmitted by parasites that do not exist in the UK.

Who can issue an Animal Health Certificate?

Your Animal Health Certificate can only be issued by a vet who has been authorised by the government (an Official Veterinarian).

Who can apply for an Animal Health Certificate?

The owner, as named on the Animal Health Certificate must be aged over 16. Pets must be accompanied either by their owner or by a person authorised in writing by the owner.

How much does an Animal Health Certificate cost?

An Animal Health Certificate costs £165 – £280 depending how many pets you are taking with you.  We require this payment in advance before we collate the data we need to complete the AHC.  The cost includes the consultation examination of each pet, reviewing & finalising all your documents.  Your pet will need a microchip*, this can be checked in the consultation and a new one administered if they are not chipped or it is not working.  If a Rabies vaccination* is needed, this will need to be repeated every three years to allow continual travel under the Pet Travel Scheme.

(*A new microchip and any vaccinations or medications required in addition will incur additional charges).

How long does it take to process an Animal Health Certificate?

We encourage you to give the vet at least 6 weeks’ notice prior to traveling to an EU country or Northern Ireland.  Travelling to other countries we ask you give at least 12 weeks’ notice as the paperwork & research can be a lengthy process.  

Animal Health Certificate can only be issued ten days prior to travel (i.e. you will have 10 days to use it to leave this country).  Please bear in mind that travel to some countries require blood tests and additional treatments, and in these cases, travel certification can take significantly longer to prepare and issue.  You should always contact us as soon as possible if you are planning to travel. 

NB: You must book your appointment with us for a minimum of 21 days after vaccination, documents cannot be signed earlier than this. The certificate is valid for 10 days after signing.

How long is the Animal Health Certificate valid for?

Animal Health Certificates can then be used for travel between EU countries (including the UK) for up to four months from the date your animal enters the EU.

How old does my pet have to be to get their animal health certificate?

The EU Regulation requires pets to be at least 12 weeks old when vaccinated. Whilst some EU countries will allow younger, unvaccinated pets to travel (subject to certain conditions), traveling pets to the UK does not permit this. This means no pet can enter the UK unless they are 15 weeks old (12 weeks plus the 21-day Rabies vaccine wait).

How many pets can one person apply for Animal Health Certificates for?

The owner or authorised person can only be accompanied by a maximum of five pets. You cannot take more than 5 pets to an EU country or NI unless you’re attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event.  You’ll need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel.

Where do I need to go to for my Animal Health Certificate application appointment?

You can come to The Vet Whitehaven. All Animal Health Certificate appointments must be booked in advance by calling us on 01946 878108.

Where can I get pet travel advice from?

Contact The Vet Whitehaven.  Lynn, will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have about travelling with your pet.  Specific requirements for individual countries can be found by contacting the Animal Plant and Health Agency on 0370 241 1710.

You can read more about Animal Health Certificates and pet travel at

Additional Information:

When traveling abroad to a warmer climate with your pet we recommend your pets parasite treatment is up to date before you go and also before you return to the UK depending on the length of your visit.

We recommend Endectrid and Quantex treatment every 4 weeks to prevent flea infestations, biting lice, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange, lungworm, roundworm, hookworm, heartworm and tapeworm.

We also advise an insecticide collar to help prevent sandfly bites as these biting flies can carry nasty diseases such a leishmaniasis.