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UPDATE: New rules on pet travel as UK granted ‘listed status’ by EU

The rules for travellers bringing pets from the UK into the EU will change in January but the decision to grant the UK 'listed status' means things won't be as complicated as they might have been. Here's what we know so far about the new rules.

UPDATE: New rules on pet travel as UK granted 'listed status' by EU
Photo: AFP

Travellers from Britain wanting to take their dogs, cats or ferrets with them on a trip to the EU next year had long been warned that Brexit meant things would get a lot more complicated.

With the end of the UK's participation in the EU pet passport scheme animal owners were warned to contact their vets four months before their trip to take the necessary steps for travel, including getting a blood antibody test for the pet.

But with the EU confirming that it is in favour of granting the UK “part 2 listed status” for the purpose of non-commercial pet travel after the end of the transition period, things should be slightly more straightforward, although travelling with animals won't be as easy as it has been.

READ ALSO What Brits in Europe need to know about travel after January 1st

Being granted “part 2 listed status” means pet owners still need to get hold of an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from an accredited vet prior to travel.

Unlike the old system where pets got a passport, now a new certificate will be required for each trip.

Here's what we know so far about the new rules under part 2 listed status.

  • All pet owners from the UK will need an AHC for travel after January 1st 2021.
  • Vets in the UK can start issuing AHC's from December 22nd 2020.
  • To get an AHC pet owners must take proof of their pet’s microchipping date, pet’s vaccination history.
  • Pets will be need to be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel
  • An AHC is valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
  • The certificate is valid for a single trip to the EU
  • It is valid for onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue
  • The AHC is valid for re-entry to GB for 4 months after the date of issue.
  • AHCs are available as dual-language certificates written in both English and the official language of each EU country, so pet owners should ask the vet for the appropriate language certificate depending on where they are visiting.

Travelling from the EU to the UK will be easier because the UK has stated that for the moment it will continue to accept EU Pet Passports issued before January 2021. Your Pet Passport and microchip information will be checked at the border.

An Animal Health Certificate issued within four months will also be valid for re-entry to the UK.

If you have a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you can use it to bring your pet to Great Britain and to return to the EU, as long as your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.

A UK government spokesperson said: “With the EU granting ‘part 2’ listed third-country status for pet travel between Great Britain and the EU, further guidance on pet travel will be published shortly.”

The Local will update these rules when more information is made available by the British government.

*This article has been amended since it was first published to remove mention that pet owners needed “a rabies antibody blood test result (taken at least 21 days after getting the rabies vaccine)”. This is in fact only the case if the UK were an unlisted country.

 

 

Member comments

  1. We have also done this trip, and like the author found it painless. At Holyhead despite being in a French registered car we were waved through. You do not need any treatment to take a dog from Ireland to the UK, just from France to the UK or from the EU to hte UK.

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BRITS IN EUROPE

Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

After years of campaigns and promises British citizens living abroad finally won the lifelong right to vote in UK general elections in April 2022. But campaigners say more needs to be done to allow all those Britons abroad to be able cast their votes easily.

Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

What’s in the law?

The Elections Act 2022 introduced several changes to the current legislation on electoral participation. Among these, it removed the rule by which British citizens lose their voting rights in the UK if they have lived abroad for more than 15 years

The new rules also abolished the requirement to have been previously registered in the UK electoral roll to become an overseas voter. In addition, the registration in the electoral roll will now last up to three years instead of only one year.

It is estimated that these changes could increase the number of overseas voter registrations by some 3 million. But the way new measures will be applied in practice is still to be defined.

READ ALSO: ‘Mixed feelings’ – British citizens in Europe finally get right to vote for life

Defining the practicalities

Under the new law, Britons living abroad will have to register to vote in the last place they were registered in the UK. This means that people who have never lived in the UK will be ineligible to vote, regardless of how long they have been overseas, while those who left when they were children will be able to use a parent or guardian’s address.

But given that the UK does not require residents to register with local councils, how to prove previous UK residence? “Typical documents accepted as a proof of residence are Council tax or utilities bills, but not everyone will have them or will have kept them in an international move,” says Fiona Godfrey, co-founder of the British in Europe coalition.

Ballot papers are pictured in stacks in a count centre as part of the 2019 UK general election. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)

Other questions concern how people will effectively cast their ballot. UK citizens overseas will be able to vote by post or by proxy or in person at their polling station if they are in the UK at the time of the election. However, few people are likely to travel to the UK for an election and in the past there have problems and delays with postal voting.

The Electoral Commission has recommended that overseas electors appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf. But who could that be for people who have been away from their constituency for a long time?

New secondary legislation will have to answer these questions, defining how to be included in the electoral roll and how to exercise the voting right in practice.

According to British in Europe, the government should present draft legislation in the first half of the year so that the parliament can adopt it before summer and registrations of overseas voters can start in the autumn.

British in Europe survey

British in Europe are currently running a survey to understand the difficulties UK citizens abroad may face in the registration and voting process, as well as their intention to participate in elections.

The survey asks for instance which documents people can access to prove their previous residence in the UK, what problems they had voting in the past, and if and how they plan to vote in the future.

“We need to get an up-to-date picture of British citizens living around the world and have information to make recommendations to the government, as it prepares secondary legislation,” Godfrey said. “If millions of people will exercise their voting rights, there will be consequences for council registration offices, post office and authorities that will manage the process, among other things” she argued.

The right to vote concerns only UK parliamentary elections and national referendums, not elections in the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, or at local level.

The survey is open to UK citizens living anywhere in the world and is available at this link.

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