Brexit could make it harder to take your pets on holiday

by Joel Baccas | 31.10.2018

One big bonus of being in the EU, for animal lovers at least, is that we can take our pets all over the bloc with us. As an EU national, you can freely travel with your pet if it has a European pet passport

EU laws allow the “non-commercial movement of pet animals”, when that animal accompanies its owner and is under their direct responsibility.  

This means – subject to certain restrictions – you have the legal certainty that you will be able to take your cat to a sunny beach in the Algarve or your dog to enjoy the snow in the Alps with ease.

Before your furry friend can travel from the UK to another EU country it has to be taken to an official vet to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. After this your pet will get its own passport, which continues to be valid for their lifetime.

The UK will bring the EU’s regulation on travelling with pets into UK law via the EU Withdrawal Act 2018, which means pets coming from the continent will be able to rely on this as a matter of domestic legislation. 

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But there’s no guarantee the EU will do the same, because the Brexit vision Theresa May is pursuing would make us a third country as a matter of EU law. Crashing out of the EU without a deal would be even more problematic.  However, we could apply to be put on an EU list of countries who can use a pet passport, so long as we can demonstrate the application of EU rules.

There are two options here. If the UK applies to be listed as a “Part 1 Country” under the relevant EU regulation, there would not be a massive change.

But if the UK applies to be listed under “Part 2” of the regulation, pet owners would still need to get a health certificate – however, it would be different. After getting the passport, owners would have 10 days to bring their pets into the EU. Once inside the bloc, the passport would be valid for four months. But a new certificate would have to be re-issued for each new trip to the EU. That’s nowhere near as good as the lifetime passport our pets get now.

Pet owners – even those who love taking their animals on holiday with them – probably won’t have been thinking about pet passports when they voted in 2016. They might be now, as the realities of Brexit become clear. There were certainly plenty of pet owners on the recent People’s Vote March. That’s why we need a People’s Vote now that more of the facts about Brexit have come to light.

With thanks to Eric and his dog Greta, who enjoyed the sun on the People’s Vote March.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

Tags: , , Categories: EU Law, Red Tape

4 Responses to “Brexit could make it harder to take your pets on holiday”

  • Thanks Benjamin. We come to France four times a year with our two dogs. Pet passports are a great enabler. BUT….Brexit is a real disaster for everyone, not just rich old gits like me and my wife…..who in this week’s parlance would be seen as elitist. Pet movement problems trivialise the real Brexit issues and reinforce othe Leaver’s opinion that those of us in favour of the EU are somehow out of step with ‘the real Britain’. What percentage of the 65m Brits take animals abroad? Less than 1% I would guess. Let’s stick with the important issues…..like 100% of us will be worse off under any non EU deal!

  • So Brexit would also result in extra bureaucratic hurdles for pet owners to negotiate, but at least they are on Dominic Raab’s list of “technical notices” for the event of a No Deal.

    UK citizens who have exercised their rights to move under the EU treaties, aren’t even on the list. That after the PM making it clear that citizens rights were an absolute priority. Yet they hardly warrant a mention from the Brexit minister. If there is No Deal, their whole legal and financial position will be undermined. This is not, as Mr Raab likes to imply, just a matter for the European states. Alot are pensioners and completly dependant on UK pensions and the reciprocal healthcare agreement. They cannot just go out and put in some extra hours if the UK reneges on its commitments. Most will have paid their national insurance contributions, so if they are not honoured, it would amount to the UK Government just pocketing these. Others of working age, will find their job prospects dramatically reduced by being lumped in with Non EU job seekers, despite the commitments already made. At the very least, their existing rights should be ring-fenced for the event of a No Deal.
    The outlook for other EU nationals in the UK is slightly better in the sense that Mr Raab and the PM have said they can stay in a No Deal scenario, though given that these are only “verbal assurances”, it is another matter whether these offer sufficient peace of mind.
    I don’t wish any difficulties to pet owners, which the article was aimed at. They, like almost anyone having regular dealings with Europe, would be losers under Brexit.
    It just seems to me ironic, and outrageous, that Mr Raab and his Department, prioritises pets, along with such miscellaneous items as space debris, before innocent people, UK passport holders, who have made life changing commitments to move under the EU treaties.

  • Hiya, I take my hound with me when I do my half n half moving between France & England, so I’m pretty worried about this too. But it’s almost worse for us humans than it is for the dogs. If we crash out as looks increasingly likely, we’ll need Schengen visas to cross the Channel, not easy if you look into it. Even if there’s a ‘deal’ we’ll be a third world country subject to EU standard entry rules, and that means maximum visiting is 3 months in, six months out. That stops four times a year visits like yours & mine stone dead. Of course theres also love me love my dog so having a pet will probably anchor me forever on this damned island.

  • Huge sympathy for all Europeans affected by British brexit. As a retired old lady I realised I was being forced to chose my country, instead of happily wandering back and forth to see family and go home again, and have them visit whenever they fancied. But what is just me is for others is wide cast family and friends being violently split. I chose France so have been pursuing a carte de séjour, havent proved my residence so far but the French officials have been always courteous and helpful. I don’t think its working that way the other way round and my brief experience of becoming a pleading alien is just horrible in principle, hate to think of how the millions of EU nationals committed to the ‘wrong’ side of La Manche will be treated by my suddenly xenophobic country.