Changes Coming to EU Pet Travel Scheme

logo-city-of-londonMark your calendars. Changes to the pet travel scheme will come into effect on December 29, 2014. If you or your pet are traveling into England or parts of the EU it is important to adhere to these changes and make travel plans accordingly. According to government authorities, the changes are mainly designed to strengthen enforcement across the EU, increase levels of compliance and improve the security and traceability of the pet passport. One important change is that you must travel within 5 days of your pet’s movement. This means that pets MUST enter EU/UK within 5 days before or 5 days after the owners arrival in EU/UK.

A pet shipping colleague from Ireland points out that Ireland’s Department of Agriculture over treats non commercial dogs / cats / ferrets / traveling unaccompanied to be classed as commercial unless the owner travels to Ireland within 5 Days. The owner must prove they are traveling with a copy of a airline ticket or email confirmation from the airline. If the pets is coming from a breeder the animal may not enter Ireland without transiting through Frankfurt or London who have a BIP station (Border inspection post). If the commercial animal arrives into Ireland without transiting through one of the BIP stations it cannot enter Ireland. It won’t  be sent to quarantine but have to be sent back to one of the BIP stations and before it can be sent back to Ireland for entry. This potentially impacts airline options down to Lufthansa or British airways for commercial pets traveling to Ireland.

The main requirements of the scheme will stay the same according to . All dogs, cats and ferrets traveling with their pet guardian will still require:

  • microchipping
  • vaccination against rabies
  • a blood test 30 days after vaccination (if returning or traveling from an unlisted third country) • a pet passport issued by an authorized vet (or third country certificate issued by an official vet)
  •  a waiting period after primary vaccination and prior to travel: 21 days if traveling from another EU country or a listed third country
  • a waiting period following blood sampling: 3 months if traveling from for unlisted third countries • treatment against the EM tapeworm (dogs only)

The key changes affecting pet owners are outlined below:

1. A new pet passport – A new style pet passport will be introduced from 29 December 2014. However if you already have a passport for your pet you do not need to get a new one. Existing passports will remain valid for the lifetime of the pet (or until all the treatment spaces are filled). The new style passport will include laminated strips designed to cover those pages with the pet’s details, microchip information and each rabies vaccination entry.

2. The introduction of checks across the EU – If you travel with your pet in the EU you may be asked for your pet’s passport when entering other countries. This is because all EU countries are required to carry out some checks on pet movements within the EU. You must make sure that your pet is fully compliant with the rules of the EU pet travel scheme before you leave the UK. In particular, you must wait 21 days from the date of your pet’s primary rabies vaccination before you travel (the day of vaccination counts as day 0 not day 1). Your vet can advise you on this point. If you have a new style pet passport they will put a ‘valid from’ date in the primary vaccination entry; this will be the earliest date you can travel. All pets entering Britain on approved routes will continue to be checked by the carriers either prior to boarding (for rail or sea) or upon entry (air).

3. A new minimum age for rabies vaccination From 29 December 2014 – Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before you can get it vaccinated against rabies for the purposes of pet travel. These rules will be the same across the EU and help pet checkers carry out compliance checks.

4. New rules for those traveling with more than five pets – If you have more than five pets and wish to travel with them within the EU and/or return to the UK (unless you are going to a show or competition) you will need to comply with additional rules.

These include:

• travelling from a registered premises

• using an authorised transporter and

• registering the movement on the TRACES system

If you are traveling from outside the EU you will also need to enter through a Border Inspection Post. Shows and competitions If you are travelling with more than five pets (aged over six months) and can present written evidence that they are registered to attend a show, competition or sporting event (or training for such an event) you do not need to comply with these extra rules and can continue to travel under the EU pet travel scheme. The evidence you provide will need to show at least the name of the event, together with the address and date(s) it is taking place.

5. Requirements for pets entering the UK/EU by air – If you are entering the UK (or another EU country) by air on a flight that began outside the EU it may not be possible for you to physically accompany your pet, for example because it is necessary for your pet to be carried in the hold of the aircraft or you are unable to travel on the same flight. In such cases you will need to sign a declaration confirming that you do not intend to sell or transfer ownership of your pet. You must travel within 5 days of your pet’s movement.

6. Clearer definition of cat, dog and ferret – The new EU Regulation specifically states that the only species of pet animal that can travel under the EU pet travel rules are:

  • Canis lupis familiaris – domestic dog
  • Felis silvestris catus – domestic cat
  • Mustela putorius furo – ferret

For a full overview of the planned changes please visit this link to the EU Pet Passport travel changes.

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