Brexit: Pet travel update for OVs

16 December 2020

From 1st January 2021 Great Britain (GB) will become a third country with respect to the EU Pet Travel Scheme and will have Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel. As a consequence, the requirements for pet travel between GB and the EU will change.

Under Part 2 listed status, EU pet passports issued by Official Veterinarians (OVs) in GB will no longer be valid to travel to Europe. Instead, a pet travelling from GB to the EU will need an Animal Health Certificates (AHC). OVs will need to issue AHCs, instead of EU pet passports, to owners travelling with their pet animal to the EU from 1st January 2021. This would also affect any travellers with pets arriving in an EU Member State after 23:00 GMT on the 31st December 2020.

APHA have advised on arrangements for AHCs by issuing APHA Briefing Note 39/20 the key points of which are outlined below.

Animal Health Certificates (AHCs)

An AHC is valid for:

· 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU

· A single trip for entry to the EU

· Onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue

· Re-entry to GB for 4 months after the date of issue.

AHCs are available as dual-language certificates. OVs should issue an AHC which is written in an official language of EU Member State of entry to the EU. These certificates are available, free of charge, for OVs to download via the Vet Gateway.

To validate the AHC, OVs will need to add a Unique Certificate Number (UCN) which are available from APHA in batches of 50 and will be emailed to OVs on completion of the AHC order form (PETS10). OVs who ordered passports in 2020 will automatically receive an email containing 50 UCNs. OVs who did not order passports in 2020 will need to apply for UCNs. OVs who have been issued with AHCs or Unique Certificate Numbers (UCNs) in the past are asked not to issue these versions. To request UCNs for AHCs please complete the order form available on the Vet Gateway and email it to

Planning for changes

To assist with planning for the changes, OVs can start issuing the latest version of AHCs instead of EU pet passports (from 22nd December) and place an order for UCNs using the PETS10 form (available from 14th December). Guidance for completing AHCs is available on the Vet Gateway here. Detailed information on pet travel including Notes for Guidance, instructions on how to complete AHCs, along with information on the ordering and distribution process, is also available on the on the Vet Gateway.

Commercial travel

For pet owners travelling with more than 5 pets, and not attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event, they must follow the commercial rules for importing animals.

Guidance is available on GOV.UK here. AHCs will not be valid for the commercial movements of dogs, cats or ferrets.

Further information

If OVs have any questions about the AHC order process, please email or telephone 03000 200 301.

For information on rabies testing please see the guidance on the Vet Gateway.