Skip to content
Home » AHC – Taking your pet abroad explained

AHC – Taking your pet abroad explained

If you are planning to travel with your pet (be it an animal, cat or ferret) then you’re likely have to obtain an Animal Health Certificate to get there and return.

You may have heard of an old pet passport system however, in a post-brexit society, these pet passports aren’t longer valid.

Yes, it’s more difficult than it was to transport your pet around the world and, yes, it’s more expensive.

We’re not here to advocate in favour or against the changes resulting from brexit, but solely to outline the information and procedures needed to allow pets to travel from the UK to Europe (and return to the UK) as it is currently.

How To Receive A Animal Health Certificate

You’ve got your plans in place for your trip to Europe and you’d like to bring your pet along with you. How do you go about it?

You will require The Animal Health Certificate, often abbreviated as AHC!

No matter if it’s a cat, dog or ferret.

It doesn’t matter if you’re driving and using your time taking the Eurotunnel as well as a ferry or if you’re a foot ferry passenger or the Eurostar or the plane.

No matter if you are a holder of the UK Pet passport issued by the UK.

You’ll still require an Animal Health Certificate.

These are steps that you must take to follow:

Do you have a pet with an rabies vaccine?
If so, and on time then skip to step 4.
If it’s not there or has expired and requires an increase, you’ll need to give your pet a vaccination against rabies 21 days prior to when you get an AHC.
You’ll need to show the vets who issue the AHC legal document proof of the status of your pet’s vaccination against rabies. If your vet has performed the rabies vaccination and is preparing the AHC they’ll have it already. If you do not plan to use your own veterinarian to administer this AHC (more about this in the future) they’ll be able to supply the required documentation to forward.

That’s it! Four easy steps to obtain the Animal Health Certificate!

If, however, you are traveling in direct contact with Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta (i.e. not through a third country) you’ll need consult your veterinarian to provide your pet with an oral tapeworm treatment, and document the treatment as well.

Which vet should I obtain an AHC From?

Some vets may not offer you the Animal Health Certificate.

While not all vets be charging the same amount, so you shouldn’t be paying any over PS100 to get an AHC therefore, speak to your vet for an estimate.

Today, AHCs are a relatively new type of document, and some vets not have much experience filling out the forms. Particularly, in areas that are far from major international transport connections, such as ports or large airports.

We’ve received (unverified but highly likely) reports of vets filling out the AHCs incorrectly, and pets not being able to travel until they reach the airport or port.

This is the reason, and in order to show respect to the many practices of veterinarians, are highly recommended to get the Animal Health Certificate issued by an experienced and well-reviewed vet near your destination of departure from the UK because they’ve done a lot of work in the past and are now in filling out these forms.

If you have to provide any of the vets listed above with the proof of your rabies vaccination (which should have been given at least 21 days prior receiving an AHC) you have two optionsto choose from:

If your pet is covered by an up-to-date rabies vaccine and you’ve got an old pet passport, it contains the required information on the rabies vaccine that is recorded as well as signed by a qualified vet. Send scans of relevant pages when requested by the veterinarians.
If your pet isn’t carrying an old passport for their pet, you must request the Rabies Vaccination Certificate through your vet in the area and then give it to the vet who issued the AHC yourself , or request your vets to send directly to the vets who issue the AHC. (Different procedures differ in the types of vaccines they will accept, so be sure you check the vet directly).

What is the length of time the validity of an Animal Health Certificate Valid For?

This is the toughest part.

A Animal Health Certificate is only valid for 4 months and one travel abroad! Be aware the fact that it’s 4 months since the date of issue of your AHC and not 4 months from the when you enter Europe!

This means you’ll require a new AHC each time you go to another country together with your furry friend!

What date do I have to receive my AHC by?

The Animal Health Certificate must be utilized within 10 days of the date of issue in order to be valid.

Unfortunately, you can’t obtain your certificate in advance , as it will expire when you are ready to use it.

However, the top veterinarians (the one we’ve recommended) will usually allow you to reach them, and send them all the necessary information and pay for the certification several months ahead of time.

They’ll then design and issue the certification within the appropriate time that you can pick up as you travel out of UK. UK as well as into Europe.

How many pets could I have within the same Animal Health Certificate?

You can have up five pets on the Animal Health Certificate.

The only catch is that all pets must share the same owner, and also be traveling together simultaneously.

But, they don’t necessarily have to be of the same species. They could be a mixture of cats, dogs and ferrets.

What’s the price for the cost of an Animal Health Certificate cost?

There isn’t a standard all-inclusive to guide the price you be paying for the Animal Health Certificate.

We’ve heard of individuals paying PS75 as well as been told of people who were over PS250.

Based on the options that are available to you from the vets mentioned above, we’d suggest that if have by the vet to spend more than PS100 or PS150 in order to purchase your AHC (for one pet) then you may need to research a some!

It’ll cost a little more to add additional pets to your AHC.

The Real Process for Traveling with Your Pet Abroad

You now know everything you need to know about receiving your AHC What is the procedure for taking your pet on vacation and returning it home.

Make sure your pet has received the rabies vaccine for at least 21 days prior to the time you collect your AHC
Get your AHC issued at least 10 days prior to when your travel date
Bring your pet along with AHC to the authorities at the entry point to Europe. They’ll have to review the documents and scan the microchip of your pet.
Enjoy your trip to the world for up to 4 months starting from the date you receive the Animal Health Certificate.
Bring your pet to a European vet within 24 to 120 days (1 up to five days) prior to your return in the UK to have it wormed. The vet needs to administer the worming procedure themselves and keep a record of this on your AHC!
Return to the UK and again present the AHC as well as your pet’s ID to authorities at the point of entry into the UK.

A quick note about “point of entry” to Europe as well as the UK. Most likely, this will occur prior to your actual travel. On the Eurotunnel For instance the outbound pet inspection is conducted by the UK and is completed at Calais to check your entry point for the inbound (return) trip.

Your carrier (ferry company, airline) etc. will let you know where and how to do this when you check your pet to travel with them.

Why Can’t I Use my Old Pet Passport?

In the wake of Brexit Great Britain has been granted a ‘part 2 designated status’ to allow pets that do not require commercial travel.

This implies that passports for pets are no longer required as well as Animal Health Certificates required on a per-trip basis.

The Facts: Animal Health Certificate Alternatives

There are a lot of people who are dissatisfied with the extra expense and difficulty of pet travel in Europe via the UK in the after Brexit world.

There is a workaround which, while not necessarily a legal one and is prone to be a disaster, it has been embraced by a lot of people.

While you’re within the EU there are some European vets will provide your pet with the EU pet passport, instead of an GB pet passport.

This allows you to move within as well out of EU exactly the same way you did before Brexit as long as your rabies vaccine is current by using the European vets who gave you your EU pet passport.

This means you’ll need to make sure you regularly go to Europe and also the vet who administer the vaccine current.

But, you’ll be unable to locate vets who offer this service since it’s being slapped down. It is also possible to have an address that is a home address within the EU which could be a problem for those who do not have a second home or relatives or friends living within the EU.

Could You See The Old Pet Passport Scheme Come In The Future?

There are rumors, but at the moment, it’s only speculation.

It would be wonderful for us to be able to talk together with EU to reinstate the pet passport scheme , but at the at the time of writing, there’s no official confirmation of the matter.