From 1 January 2021, travelling from Britain to any EU country as well as Northern Ireland became a lot more complicated – and expensive.
Any pet passports issued to pet owners resident in Great Britain lapsed, and became no longer valid for travel with pets. In order to visit any EU country with their pets, or visit Northern Ireland, British pet owners need a EU animal health certificate.
If you are travelling from a non-EU country or territory, your pet must have an EU animal health certificate “issued by an official State vet in the country of departure no more than 10 days before your pet arrives in the EU”.
While the certificate remains valid four months for forward travel in other EU countries and for re-entry in the UK, your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Great Britain. This is a significant change from the Pet Passport, which remained valid throughout the pet’s life.
“I used to visit my relatives in Spain with my dogs often, but now it is simply too expensive for me”
At the moment, the cost of an animal health certificate for travel can vary significantly depending on the vet practice owners turn to, and is never cheap. Among the readers who wrote to Dogs Today, several were charged between £110 and £180 per pet for the consultation and reviewing paperwork. However, others found themselves looking at a bill over £300 for a certificate that would allow them to travel with their pet only once.
“I used to visit my relatives in Spain with my dogs often, but now it is simply too expensive for me,” a reader wrote us. “It saddens me, because they loved spending time there with my extended family, but I can’t afford to pay for a new certificate for each of them every time.
“Now I have to leave them behind, which of course means I have to pay for boarding – also expensive. As a result, I will not be able to see my family as much as I used to in the foreseeable future.”
As the animal health certificate is now a necessary document to travel to the EU with pets, some believe there should be a maximum price cap on it, to keep pet owners from being priced out of taking their dogs abroad for vacation time or to visit relatives.
Others are not keen on the idea, as the cost is inevitably going to vary depending on several factors – such as whether or not the dog needs microchipping, vaccinations or some other type of medical treatment in order to qualify for the pet health certificate.
What do you think – should there be a price cap on the animal health certificate to travel with pets?