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Taking your pet abroad -Animal Health Certificates (AHCs)

 / Pet Advice  / Taking your pet abroad -Animal Health Certificates (AHCs)
Travelling with your pet

Taking your pet abroad -Animal Health Certificates (AHCs)

Pet travel to Europe has changed with effect from 1 January 2021. The first thing to be aware of is that pet passports have become Animal Health Certificates (AHC).

If you have travelled with your pet (or assistance dog) prior to 1st January 2021, your pet’s travel requirements have changed slightly

Animal Health Certificates (AHCs) for the non-commercial movement to the EU and Northern Ireland of dogs, cats, or ferrets.

Basics to remember:

You will need to take your pet to see your vet no more than ten days before travel to obtain an AHC.
You will need to take proof of the following with you to your appointment:

  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • your pet’s vaccination history

To know

  • The address where you travel (a full address is not essential)
  • The first country you will transit with your pet whilst in the EU/NI
  • If the pet is under 16 weeks old, you need specific information about the acceptance of the puppy in EU (depending on the country where you travel)
  • on-ward travel within the EU or NI for four months after the date of issue
  • re-entry to UK for four months after the date of issue
  • the AHC is valid for one entry only from UK into the EU.
  • Currently, there is no requirement to have a rabies serology blood test.

Information in Detail:


The vet will need to apply to APHA for Unique Certificate Number (UCN) which will then need to enter onto the Animal Health Certificate (AHC). Each certificate has a unique number and must only
be used once.


This certificate is valid for movements of up to 5 pet dogs, cats or ferrets from Great Britain to an EU member state and is valid for 10 days from the date of issue by the Official Veterinarian, and for up
to 4 months for onward travel within the EU and/or for re-entry to GB or until the date of expiry of the validity of the anti-rabies vaccination (whichever is earlier).
In the case of transport by sea, that period of 10 days is extended by an additional period corresponding to the duration of the journey by sea.

Please note that certain Member States have informed that the movement into their territory of animals less than 16 weeks old referred to in point II.3 is not authorised. You may wish to inquire at It is owner’s responsibility to check this information as it can change at any time without notice!

Dogs travelling from Great Britain to EU listed tapeworm free countries including Northern Ireland,Malta, Ireland and Finland must be treated for tapeworm prior to travel in accordance with EU
For dogs, appropriate tapeworm treatment must be administered and endorsed on the certificate before entering back to UK. The treatment must be carried out not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before the pet is landed.Pets travelling directly to Great Britain from Northern Ireland, Finland, Ireland or Malta are exempt from this treatment.
Pets must enter the EU via a designated Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE)


A declaration must be attached to this certificate confirming the non-commercial nature of the
movement.The owner or a person who has authorisation in writing from the owner to move the animal(s) on
the owner’s behalf should:

  • enter their name in block capitals on the dotted line following 'I the undersigned’.
  • Delete all statements marked with a (1) that do not apply.
  • Complete the table to include each animal’s ID number and the corresponding Animal Health Certificate reference number for the movement.
  • State the place and date of signature.
  • Sign at the end of the declaration

This declaration will be given to you by the official veterinarian.

Certified copies and taper proof stamps

The certificate must also be accompanied by OV certified copies of:

  • the identification and vaccination details (e.g., a copy of relevant sections of a vaccination card/pet passport)

The certifying OV will photocopy the original document twice. On each copy, the OV will write the words ‘Certified Copy’ in the top righthand corner and add a signature, date and an OV stamp. The OV will attach one certified copy to the certificate and retain one copy along with their copy of the Animal Health Certificate for future evidence in cases where certificate tampering is suspected.
Each page of the certificate, declaration and certified copies of supporting documentation will have the certificate reference number at the top of each page and be numbered in the format, at the bottom of each page. All documentation will be stapled together to make a tamper proof composite document.


OVs must ensure that the animal’s ID is verified (e.g. by scanning the microchip) before any entry is made in the AHC and that the date of microchip implantation precedes rabies vaccination.
Change of ownership is not permitted for a non-commercial move. OV must complete 9 pages and delete as appropriate:
If subsequent rabies revaccination was carried out within the period of validity of the preceding vaccination or not
If owner or a natural person who has authorisation in writing from the owner to carry out the non-commercial movement of the animals on behalf of the owner.
This section is for dogs only:

Dogs travelling from Great Britain to EU listed tapeworm free countries including Northern Ireland,Malta, Ireland and; Name and manufacturer of the product / Date and time of treatment (to include
minutes)Any revaccination must be considered a primary vaccination if it was not carried out within the period of validity of a previous vaccination. This means, if you miss this period, your pet might not be able to travel until you restart the vaccination scheme (which can take 4 weeks)!!! Please keep up to date with both annual booster and rabies vaccinations. Although we send courtesy reminders for annual boosters only, ultimately is your duty to remember when you pet’s vaccination is due.
Pets need an AHC written in one of the official languages of the EU Member State in which it will enter the EU (or Northern Ireland). For example, a pet entering the EU in France would need an AHC in French.
Consignee address: must indicate the country of the first destination (an EU Member state or Northern Ireland) for example if the traveller is going to Portugal via France, France must be indicated on the certificate.

This certificate and guidance are provided based on information available at the time and may not necessarily comply fully with the requirements of the importing country. It is the owner/exporter’s responsibility to check the certificate against any relevant import permit or any advice provided by the competent authority in the importing country. If these do not match, the owner/exporter should contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in Carlisle, contact details can be found using the link below:

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