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How To Get An Animal Health Certificate

If you plan to travel with your pet (be it cat, dog or ferret) then you’re likely need an Animal Health Certificate to get there and return.

You might be familiar with an old pet passport system however in the post-brexit world the pet passports are no longer valid.

It is definitely more difficult than it was to transport your pet around the world and, yes, it’s more costly.

We’re not here to debate in favour or against the changes that are a result of brexit. We’re here solely to outline the details and procedures required for bringing pets from the UK to Europe (and return to the UK) as it is currently.

How To Receive A Animal Health Certificate

You’ve decided to plan your vacation to Europe and you’d like to bring your pet along with you. What do you do?

You will require The Animal Health Certificate, often abbreviated as AHC!

It doesn’t matter if the pet you have is cat, dog or ferret.

No matter if you’re driving and using your time taking the Eurotunnel as well as a ferry or if you’re a foot ferry passenger or the Eurostar or an airplane.

No matter if you are a holder of the UK Pet passport issued by the UK.

Still require an Animal Health Certificate.

These are steps that you must take to follow:

Do you have a pet with vaccination against rabies?
If so, and on time then skip to step 4.
If it’s not there or has expired and requires an upgrade, you’ll have to give your pet a vaccination against rabies 21 days prior to when you get an AHC.
You’ll have to give the vets who issue the AHC legal documents to prove the status of your pet’s vaccination against rabies. If your vet has have administered the rabies vaccine and is preparing the AHC they’ll have this already. If you do not plan to use your own veterinarian to administer your AHC (more details on that later) they’ll be able to supply you with the documentation required to forward.

That’s it! Four easy steps to obtain the Animal Health Certificate!

If, however, you are traveling direct to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta (i.e. not traveling via a 3rd country) you’ll also have consult your veterinarian to administer the treatment for tapeworms and keep a record of this too.

Which vets should I seek an AHC From?

There are vets who will not all give you the Animal Health Certificate.

However, not all vets cost the same. You shouldn’t be paying any over PS100 in the case of an AHC therefore, speak to your vets for an estimate.

Presently, AHCs are a relatively new piece of documentation and some vets not have much experience filling out the forms. Particularly in areas far from major international transport connections, such as ports or big airports.

We’ve received (unverified however very likely) reports of vets filling out the AHCs incorrectly, and pets not being able to travel after reaching the airport or port.

This is the reason, and in order not to disrespect the many practices of veterinarians, are highly recommended to get an Animal Health Certificate issued by an experienced and well-reviewed veterinarian close to the destination of departure from the UK since they’ve done a lot of work when making these forms.

If you have to provide any of the vets listed above with evidence of your rabies vaccination status (which should have been given at minimum 21 days prior to receiving an AHC) you can choose between two options:

If your pet is covered by an up-to-date rabies vaccine and you’ve got an older pet passport, it contains the required information on the rabies vaccine written in it which is then signed off by a qualified vet. Send scans of relevant pages when requested by the veterinarians.
If your pet does not have an old passport for their pet, you have to obtain the Rabies Vaccination Certificate through your vet in the area and then forward it to the vet who issued the AHC yourself , or request your vet to email directly to the vets who issue the AHC. (Different methods differ on the type of AHC they accept , so make sure to inquire the vet directly).

What is the length of time the validity of an Animal Health Certificate Valid For?

This is the toughest part.

An Animal Health Certificate is only valid for 4 months and one trip to another country! Be aware it is valid for 4 months after the date of issue of the AHC and not four months from date of entry into Europe!

This means you’ll need to purchase a new AHC each time you go to another country along with your dog!

What date do I have to receive my AHC by?

The Animal Health Certificate must be used within 10 days after the date of issue in order to be accepted.

Unfortunately, you can’t obtain your certificate ahead of time as it could be outdated at the time you want to use it.

However, the top veterinarians (the one we’ve recommended) will usually allow you to reach them, provide all the necessary information and then pay for the certificate several months ahead of time.

They’ll then design and issue the certificate within the appropriate time that you can pick up as you travel out of in the UK to Europe.

How many pets can I keep within just one Animal Health Certificate?

You are allowed to have up to 5 pets with the Animal Health Certificate.

The only catch is that all pets have to share the same owner and traveling together simultaneously.

But, they don’t necessarily have to be of the same species. They may be a mix of cats, dogs and ferrets.

What is the cost of the cost of an Animal Health Certificate cost?

There isn’t a standard that can be used to regulate the amount you must spend on the Animal Health Certificate.

We’ve heard of individuals paying PS75 and we have heard of individuals being assessed a charge in excess of PS250.

Based on the options that are available to you from the vets mentioned above, we’d recommend that you need for a sum that is higher than PS100 or PS150 to cover your AHC (for one pet) Then you might want to research a more!

It’ll cost a little more to add additional pets to your AHC.

The Process of The Actual Procedure for Your Pet Abroad

Now, you’ve got everything you need to know about receiving your AHC what’s the exact procedure to take your pet away and then returning it home.

Check that your pet has had an rabies vaccination for at least 21 days prior to collecting your AHC
Take your AHC issued no later than 10 days prior to when your travel date
Take your pet’s ID and AHC to the authorities at the point of entry into Europe. They’ll need to look over the documentation and scan the microchip of your pet.
Enjoy your trip to the world for up to 4 months starting from the date you receive the Animal Health Certificate.
Visit your pet’s European vet within 24 to 12 hours (1 or 5 days) prior to your return visit back to UK to have it wormed. The vet must administer the worming procedure themselves and record this on your AHC!
Return to the UK and again present the AHC along with your animal to officials at the point of entry into the UK.

A quick note about “points of entry” for Europe as well as the UK. Most likely, this will occur prior to the time you actually travel. On the Eurotunnel For instance the outbound pet inspection is carried out within the UK and is completed by Calais to check your entry point for the inbound (return) trip.

Your carrier (ferry company, airline) etc. will notify you of the location and how to do this when you check your pet with them.

Why can’t I use the Passport I Have on my Old Pet Passport?

In the wake of Brexit Great Britain has been granted a ‘part 2 classified status’ pets that do not require commercial travel.

This implies that passports for pets have been no longer required as well as Animal Health Certificates required on a per-trip basis.

Information & Fact Finding Animal Health Certificate Alternatives

There are many individuals who are unhappy about the added expense and difficulty of pet travel in Europe via the UK in the after Brexit world.

There is a workaround which, although not necessarily a legal one and may backfire, it is being used by a lot of people.

While you’re within the EU there are some European vets will provide your pet with the EU pet passport, instead of an GB pet passport.

This effectively lets you travel within as well out of EU exactly the same manner as prior to Brexit as that your rabies vaccination is current with the European vets who have issued you with your EU pet passport.

This means you’ll be required to regularly go to Europe and also the vet who administer the vaccination current.

However, you’ll encounter difficulties to locate vets who offer this service, as it is being slapped down. It is also possible to prove that you have an address for your home within the EU which could be difficult for those who do not have a second home or relatives or friends living in the EU.

What Will Happen When You See The Old Pet Passport Scheme Come Resurrected?

There are rumors, but at this point, they are only speculation.

It would be fantastic for us to be able to discuss in conjunction with EU to revive the passport system that was popular but at the at the time of writing, there’s no news about the matter.