Taking your dog abroad

Do dogs need passports?

If you’re planning on taking your dog abroad, you should know that EU countries are no longer accepting British issued pet passports. Instead, you’ll need to apply for an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). If you’re travelling to a non-EU country, then you’ll need an Export Health Certificate (EHC).

Some countries are still accepting foreign issued pet passports. However, you’ll need to check the specific rules of your destination country before you travel.

How to get an AHC

Instead of a pet passport, taking dogs abroad after Brexit now requires an AHC to travel to EU countries and Northern Ireland. To get an AHC, take your pet to an ‘official veterinarian’. If your usual vet can’t issue a certificate, they should be able to help you find a vet who can.

To receive an AHC you need:

  • A microchip: Your dog must be microchipped before you can get an AHC. Have the date and details of your dog’s chip to hand when you apply. Owners should know that microchipping is a legal requirement for dogs, and could result in a £500 fine if not done when your pup is 8 weeks’ old
  • Vaccination history: While you need an entire vaccination history to receive an AHC, it is specifically important that your dog has an up-to-date rabies vaccination before travelling. You cannot receive an AHC until 21 days after a rabies vaccination, so make sure you plan in advance
  • Tapeworm treatment: Some countries, such as Finland, Ireland, and Malta require a tapeworm treatment history. Be sure to check before you travel

An AHC costs between £100-£150 and is valid for entering the EU ten days from issue and lasts four months for travel to other EU countries and then back to Britain.

Can dogs go on the Eurostar?

Broadly speaking, dogs are not allowed on the Eurostar. The only dogs allowed on the Eurostar are guide dogs and other assistance dogs, who can travel with their owners if they have the correct paperwork and vaccinations. To take an assistance dog on the Eurostar you’ll need:

  • Their Eurostar ticket
  • A microchip
  • A valid rabies vaccine
  • An AHC, unless you have a pet passport issued in an EU country

Travelling to a non-EU country

Travelling to a non-EU country requires an EHC. Every country has slightly different requirements and regulations regarding allowing pets into the country and issuing EHCs, so make sure you do your own research before committing to taking your dog abroad, including checking if your breed of dog is banned in your destination country. You’ll also need to complete an Export Application Form (EXA).

To acquire an EHC you need to:

  • Fill in the forms: You can download the specific forms you need on the government website
  • Contact an 'official vet': Contact a vet who can inspect and verify the health of your dog for the form
  • Receive your EHC: Depending on when you submit your EHC application, you could receive your certificate within one working day of submission

There is no cost to apply for an EHC.

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Published February 2023

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