Following Brexit, the rules on travelling from the UK to the EU with a pet have changed.
Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the rules on travelling with pets changed on January 1 2021.
Where people used to be able to use an EU pet passport for their animal, they are now required to get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) instead, with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) quoting £94 for the certificate.
However, some owners have been paying significantly more to get their furry friends over – as much as £300 – according to the BBC, with many also experiencing issues.
The AHC is up to 14 pages long and confirms that a pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies – both of these are charged separately.
This has to be issued by a vet no more than 10 days before travel to an EU country and is valid for four months. It must be amended by a vet in the EU country one to five days before return travel.
The EU pet passport costs between £30 and £60 and allows a pet to travel to and from the EU up to 28 times as long as the rabies vaccination is still valid.
The price for this is set by individual veterinary practices, with one increasing its prices from £170 to £300 last August due to increased demand.
The government has said the fees “are a private matter between individual practices and their clients.”
Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association, said that some practices do not offer AHCs because they “are considerably more complex and time-consuming than the previous EU pet passport system.”
One dog owner, Mary McCall, paid £100 for an AHC to take her dog over to Italy, she said of the price: “I assumed, obviously, it’s a government-issued document so it costs ‘x’ amount, set by the government – not whatever the vet decides.”
Ms McCall found mistakes on the document that had been made by her vet in the UK and the vet in Italy had never even seen an AHC so did not fill it out correctly for their return journey causing it to be flagged up at the Calais border crossing – with officials almost turning them away.
“That would’ve been an absolute nightmare,” says Mary.
“We would have been sent to a vet in France to get it signed off again and [had to] wait for a possible two days… It’s just the cost of it all.”
Pets in Spain are required to be registered on a national database to receive the EU pet passport.
To register, owners must have a local address, contact telephone number and a Spanish tax identification number. British non-residents and foreigners will have a tax number if they own a holiday home, meaning the pet can be registered without them being permanent residents.
Environment minister Rebecca Pow said during a Commons debate on December 2 that the government was “committed to simplifying pet movements… DEFRA [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] recognises the undue impact that these changes are having on many people, including pet owners.”
During Brexit negotiations, the government attempted to have the UK listed as a “Part 1” country by the European Commission, meaning it could still access the pet passport scheme (like a number of other non-EU members, including Switzerland). However, it was given “Part 2” meaning pets from the UK need the new certificates.
The government is apparently continuing to change the agreement, insisting it meets all of the requirements.
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