Confusion reigns over EU pet passport post-Brexit

Published:  10 Apr at 6 PM
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Expat pet owners in Europe fear the post-Brexit loss of pet passports

Although very little has been published about the possible Brexit-caused fate of the pet passport scheme, it’s a major cause for concern amongst both expat dog-owners and British second home owners used to taking their dogs with them when visiting their overseas holiday properties. The pet passport scheme was first introduced 19 years ago, freeing much-loved dogs from the misery of extensive quarantine periods and their pet parents from the strain of long separations.

Introduced as a compassionate way to guard against the spread of rabies from the continent to the rabies-free UK, the straightforward requirements were easily followed and relaxed several times, with present days rules allowing cross-border travel for microchipped dogs within 21 days of their rabies vaccinations. DEFRA’s last guidance notice was issued last December, but was seen as vague, confusing and, on some issues, senseless.

According to the authority, if and when the UK finally gets around to leaving the EU, three options would seem to be on the table for dog owners used to using the pet passport. If a deal is finally agreed, Britain is likely to be included in either Part 1 or part 2 statuses. Part 1 gives the best news, as the pet passport will stay in much the same format, but Part 2 status will require a pet health certificate for each trip between the UK and EU member states. The certificate will be valid for just 10 days from its issue and allow for a four-month stay in the EU. No guidance is given for those leaving the UK with their pets on a permanent basis.

The worst-case scenario for dog owners is a no-deal exit, as the UK will be downgraded to a Part 3 status in which rabies vaccinations and microchips will still be needed, but a further blood test after 30 days as well as a three month wait before travel will be introduced. The health certificate will still be a mandatory requirement, and must be obtained from a licensed vet 10 days before travel, with a four-month stay seemingly the only option. It’s to be hoped DEFRA can come up with a common-sense approach able to satisfy Britons who’ve decided the UK is no longer their permanent home but can’t face leaving without their beloved dogs.
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