Changes to UK pet travel scheme from December

Changes to the pet travel scheme will be introduced from 29 December this year.

The pet travel scheme allows people to to take their pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) abroad and then return to the UK, or bring pets into the UK, without quarantine, as long as they meet the rules of the scheme.

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The changes are being introduced to give effect to a new European regulation and are designed to improve the security of the scheme and traceability of the pet passport. They will also help clamp down on abuse of the system.

The changes include:

  • a new minimum age of 12 weeks before a pet can be vaccinated against rabies
  • new pet passports will include laminated strips and a requirement for more contact details to be provided by the vet issuing the document and certifying the veterinary treatments
  • a new requirement for all member states in the EU to carry out checks on their borders (the UK already checks all pets coming into the country through approved routes)
  • a tighter definition of non-commercial movement which will mean owners who cannot travel with a pet when they enter the EU, must do so within 5 days; owners can still authorise another person to travel with their pet, but again the pet and authorised person must travel within 5 days of each other

All pets are still required to have a microchip which confirms the animal’s identity.

Existing passports will remain valid for the lifetime of the pet or until all treatment spaces have been filled on the document.

All pet passports issued by vets from 29 December 2014 will be in the new format.

A consultation was published earlier this year on how the changes to the scheme would be introduced. A summary of the responses received has now been published.

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