We've taken our dog abroad several times since we got her in early 2019, but not since the UK permanently left the EU in January 2021. Mainly due to travel restrictions because of COVID19.

The rules for taking pets abroad have changed as we all know. For us to take our dog into the EU, we now need to provide - at border control - an animal health certificate (AHC) issued by the vet no more than 10 days before travel. It's a one-use document and can be quite costly. I have not yet enquired how much our vet charges for an AHC, but I have seen prices online elsewhere in the region of £180.

To (re-)enter the UK, no AHC is needed but the pet passport needs to show that our dog is vaccinated against rabies and it needs to have been treated for tapeworm. See this UK government article for more details.

According to the receptionist at our local vet, we can avoid getting an AHC each time we wish to take the dog into the EU by registering our dog with a EU vet and have them issue an EU passport.

Only this EU vet can then administer rabies booster vaccines and record this in the passport. Once our dog has an EU passport the dog ceases to be a UK dog, and no UK vet can officially endorse the dog's EU passport thereafter.

I will have to ensure that before the rabies vaccine lapses (every 3 years IIRC) the dog is seen by a vet abroad to have it boosted.

This means that getting an EU passport for your pet is not something someone should consider unless they make frequent / annual trips abroad.

The receptionist also confirmed to me that foreign registered pets can still take part in their pet care plan. Our experience of their pet surgeries would not be affected other than the matter of the rabies boosters.

I have no real reason to doubt this receptionist's theory, as she is much better placed to know about these matters than I am. But still I would like to seek some confirmation before I start making plans to put this into action.

I have tried internet searches to confirm this great theory, but have been unsuccesful. So, the question I have is this:

Is an EU pet passport acccepted by UK and French border checks as an alternative for the AHC so no "foreign" pet would ever need to seek an AHC before transit into the EU?

Obviously our very first journey would require an AHC, but hopefully any journey after that won't.

Do not treat this question as advice. Always read the government guidelines (linked above) for up-to-date rules and advice on taking pets abroad. Or consult your vet.

  • Hmmm, this official gov.uk site seems to provide some confirmation towards the theory: "an animal health certificate, or a valid pet passport that’s accepted in the country you’re travelling to"
    – iwarv
    Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 11:48
  • 1
    it might be helpful to take a look here travel.stackexchange.com Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


Based on the current EU and UK regulations, a pet with a valid EU Passport should be allowed entry into each area as long as any other necessary testing or treatments (Rabies vaccination or titre, tapeworm treatment, etc.) are current. The UK pet entry requirements confirms the list of countries with accepted pet passports, and similarly you can review the current European goverment requirements at Travelling with pets and other animals in the EU.

This is, however, complex and although the EU regulations are mostly unified, each country may still have individual requirements.

For instance, France is now requiring a British national to spend 3 months in France before approving an EU Pet Passport. Before issuing the passport, the pet must be registered with France's Identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD). See also recent news articles that suggest new rules are making it more challenging for British pet owners to obtain EU pet passports (e.g. UK Nationals With Pets No Longer Permitted to Obtain French Pet Passports, 15 Mar 2022). How closely these rules are followed or enforced, I do not know.

If you plan to spend many months each year abroad, then it might make sense to apply for an EU pet passport. As you say, you would need to get Rabies vaccinations performed in the EU. Otherwise, if you are just making occasional trips abroad (1-2 times per year), it is – for now – probably simpler to apply for a AHC at each trip. Each AHC will allow movement within the EU for 4 months, and return to the UK is straightforward.

Who knows what the requirements will be in a few years.

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