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Returning to the UK with your dog after Brexit

Returning to the UK with your dog after Brexit

If you are planning to travel out of the UK with your dog and return after Brexit, what are your options?

The big worry is that you might leave the UK with an EU pet passport fully complete and correct, and then not be able to bring your dog back home again. Surely this is every dog owners nightmare.  Several members of Driving with Dogs have emailed their concerns about this hideous possibility.

Current advice from HMG (last updated April 2019) states that to return to the UK after Brexit your pet must have one of the following documents: 

  • an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or in the UK prior to Brexit)
  • the animal health certificate issued in the UK used to travel to the EU (which you can use up to 4 months after it was issued)
  • a UK pet health certificate (for travel into the UK only)

You must travel on approved routes from overseas. Your documents and microchip will be checked when entering England, Scotland or Wales (Great Britain). The rules for N. Ireland are different.

But, you do not have to travel on an approved route if you travel to Great Britain from:   other UK countries,  the Channel Islands,  the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.

Always talk to your vet about what preparations you need to make before you travel with your pet, and check you are absolutely sure what you should be doing and when.

Approved routes include ferry companies such as Irish Ferries . Irish Ferries have the fastest sailing time of just 2 hours between Holyhead and Dublin. Holyhead is at the Anglesey end of the A55, very easy to reach and Driving with Dogs has several excellent dog walk places close to Holyhead port so that your dog can start the trip in complete comfort.

Irish Ferries also sail from Pembroke to Rosslare. This is a longer journey, although the drive to Pembroke on the M4 has plenty of places to stop for a dog walk and dog-friendly cafe or pub. Just enter your start point and Pembroke into the Driving with Dogs search box and you'll quickly see lots of doggiestop options.

Dogs travel free on most ferry sailings, and most companies offer free kids' travel in school holidays too. And you can use Tesco vouchers on Irish Ferries.

At the time of writing, August 2019, you need a standard EU pet passport to travel to and from Ireland. After Brexit, EU pet passports will still be valid for return journeys. Be prepared for change to the rules and check very carefully with your vet and your ferry company to make sure that you are absolutely sure you have the correct paperwork for your dog before making travel plans.

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