• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

How To Get a UK Pet Passport In 2023 (Complete Guide)


Apr 15, 2023
white maltese dog sitting on the bag with owner holding its pet passport


white maltese dog sitting on the bag with owner holding its pet passport

A lot changed in January 2021, when the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU), including the documentation you need to travel from the UK to the rest of the EU with your pet. Thankfully, pets from the UK aren’t required to go into quarantine upon arrival in one of the EU countries, but they do need to have an Animal Health Certificate.

Before Brexit happened, a pet passport allowed UK pets to travel with their owners freely to and from the rest of the EU. The pet passport showed that the pet was up to date on all the vaccinations that they needed to be able to travel and that they were microchipped. However, they’re no longer valid post-Brexit.

Requirements have also changed for pets traveling into the UK from other countries. Read on below to find out more.

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How Does an Animal Health Certificate Differ from a Pet Passport?

Since Brexit, the EU has moved the UK from its status in the Pet Travel scheme of “Part 1 listed” to “Part 2 listed,” meaning that pet passports are no longer valid for pets traveling from the UK to the rest of the EU. They now require an Animal Health Certificate that has a few more requirements and restrictions attached to it than the old pet passports scheme.

Instead of having one pet passport that shows your pet’s vaccination record and proof of microchipping, an Animal Health Certificate shows details about your pet’s microchip, records of their vaccinations and tapeworm treatment, as well as information on their age, breed, and size. It will also have your details as the owner of the pet. You will only be able to apply for an Animal Health Certificate once your pet is 15 weeks old.

Another change is that UK pet owners are no longer able to travel freely with their pets in and out of the EU as the Animal Health Certificate is only valid for 4 months. The requirements also involve getting your pet vaccinated at least 21 days before your trip, and it can only be issued by a vet within 10 days before you leave.

Golden Retriever in the boot of the car with passport
Image Credit: 135pixels, Shutterstock


How To Get an Animal Health Certificate

Although a lot more planning will need to go into your next trip out of the UK and into the EU, getting an Animal Health Certificate isn’t complicated.

1. Get Your Pet Microchipped

microchipping pet II__Ivonne Wierink_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Ivonne Wierink, Shutterstock

If your pet isn’t already microchipped, this is the first place to start on your road to getting an Animal Health Certificate, as one won’t be issued to you unless this procedure has been done. A microchip is required for immigration officers to link your pet to the documents you’ve presented them with.

2. Get Them Vaccinated

You’ll need to get your pet up to date on all their vaccinations at least 21 days before your trip, so you’ll need to plan your vet visit carefully. Be sure to tell your vet where you plan on traveling to so that they can get the appropriate vaccinations.

3. Go Back to The Vet

bichon frise dog at the vet
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

21 days after your pet’s vaccinations, you’ll need to go back to the vet to get your Animal Health Certificate. However, the certificate needs to be issued to you within 10 days before your arrival. It will not be accepted if it was issued to you by your vet longer than 10 days prior to your arrival in the EU.

Your Animal Health Certificate is only valid if it was issued by an official veterinarian.


Frequent Asked Questions

Has Anything Changed for Pets Entering the UK from the EU?

There is no new documentation needed for pets traveling from the EU into the UK as they still have “Part 1 listed” status in the Pet Travel scheme. This means that EU pets can continue to travel to and from the UK with a pet passport, and an Animal Health Certificate isn’t necessary.

How Can My Pet Get into The UK from Other Countries?

The type of documentation you’ll need for your pet to travel into the UK will differ depending on where you’re traveling from. If you’re traveling from a Part 1 listed country 1, such as Norway or Iceland, you’ll need a pet passport, which you can get from your vet. It’ll show your pet’s identity and vaccination records, as well as their rabies blood test results.

If you’re traveling from a Part 2 listed country, such as the USA 2 or Australia, you’ll need a Great Britain pet health certificate as they don’t accept pet passports or Animal Health Certificates from Part 2 listed countries. This documentation is similar to an Animal Health Certificate as it’ll need to be completed by a licensed vet within 10 days of leaving for the UK. Your pet will need to be microchipped, receive their rabies vaccination, and get tapeworm treatment if your pet is a dog.

If your documents do not have the correct information or don’t meet the requirements upon arrival in the UK, your pet may have to undergo a quarantine period. Certain dog breeds are banned in the UK, so it’s important to look through that list to make sure your dog isn’t one of those.

sitting inside traveler pet carrier bag with travel accessories
Image Credit: Phuttharak, Shutterstock

Can I Travel with All My Pets?

A family holiday with all your pets sounds like a wonderful time. However, if you have more than five pets that you’re planning on taking into the EU, you may have to change your plans. One owner can only apply for five Animal Health Certificates and no more. However, there is an exception for those training for a competition, sporting event, or show. However, you’ll need to provide proof of this by providing the registration for the event.


Before You Travel

It is wonderful to be able to travel with your pet, but it’s important to know that the journey can be very stressful for them. Stress around traveling will be different from one individual pet to another, and most pets that have traveled since they were young should be fine. However, if your pet is highly anxious and may not do well in a new environment or around so many different people, consider leaving them at home in the environment they know with a family member or friend that they’re familiar with.

If your pet is comfortable with traveling, make sure you follow the requirements of the airline or mode of transport you’ll be using. Different airlines often have slightly different requirements around pet safety and carriers, etc. It is also important to check with the hotel or place you’ll be staying if they are pet friendly, as this isn’t always the case.

Before you leave the UK, check with your pet insurance whether they cover emergency vet bills abroad, as some policies have this benefit included and some don’t. In some cases, your policy may state that your pet will only be able to receive vet care abroad in certain countries and not in others. Instead of not being sure and ending up with a hefty vet bill, find out for your own peace of mind.

Cat Travelling
Image Credit: Brian Goodman, Shutterstock



If you’re traveling from the UK to the EU, you will no longer be able to use a pet passport but, instead, an Animal Health Certificate. The same is true for pets traveling from other countries into the UK that don’t have “Part 1 listed” status. The change came about at the start of 2021 when the UK left the EU and was dropped to “Part 2 listed” status in the Pet Travel scheme.

The change has caused a bit more paperwork and planning for pet owners, but getting the correct documentation isn’t a complicated process.

Featured Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

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