Brexit Update for Travelling Pet Owners

30 Dec, 2020

Brexit Update for Travelling Pet Owners

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If you are a pet owner and want to travel either to Europe from the UK or from Europe to the UK read this Brexit update. We have gone through the government websites to ensure you have the right information. If you are a British Passport holder travelling to your second home in Eurozone then you also need to check the EU 90/180 Rule.

Also if you are a housesitter who carries a British passport wanting to travel to Europe, or a Eurozone passport carrier wanting to spend extensive periods in the UK read on, for the latest information in our Brexit update.

Brexit update – What the deal says on Travel

According to the BBC the latest Brexit update affecting travel are summarised as follows:

UK nationals will need a visa for stays of longer than 90 days in the EU in a 180-day period.

  • EU pet passports will no longer be valid.
  • European Health Insurance Cards, (EHIC) cards will remain valid until they expire.
  • The UK is no longer subject to the ban on additional roaming charges, although both sides will encourage operators to have “transparent and reasonable rates” for roaming.

What does that mean?

  • The UK government says EHIC will be replaced with a new UK Global Health Insurance Card, but full details have not been released yet.
  • Pets will still be allowed in the EU, but it will be a more complicated process as owners will need to obtain an animal health certificate for each trip they make.
  • UK mobile operators will be able to charge for roaming, so people should check with their mobile phone company before travelling. Check before leaving home. Vital point in this Brexit update.


brexit update
Planning to take your dog? Prepare well ahead

A pet owners’ Brexit update

Important to note – Current EU pet passport issued in GB will not be valid for travel to the EU or NI from 1 January 2021.

If travelling from the UK, before your dog, cat or ferret can travel to the EU or NI for the first time after 1 January 2021, you’ll need to take the following steps. These steps are similar to the current process for taking your pet to the EU, but you’ll need an animal health certificate (AHC) instead of a pet passport. Vital point in this Brexit update.

  1. You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped. Vital point in this Brexit update.
  2. Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated.
  3. Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel.
  4. Visit your vet to get an AHC for your pet, no more than 10 days before travel to the EU.

Find out more about rabies vaccination boosters and blood tests.

As long as you keep your pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date, you will not need to get repeat vaccinations for repeat trips to the EU or NI.

Essential for travel with your pet – Getting an animal health certificate (AHC)

You must also take your pet to your vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an AHC. The AHC needs to be signed by an official vet. Check with your vet that they can issue AHCs for pets.

You must take proof of:

  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • the pet’s vaccination history.

Your pet’s AHC will be valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU or NI
  • onward travel within the EU or NI for 4 months after the date of issue
  • re-entry to GB for 4 months after the date of issue. Double check your dates before you leave either end of your trip. Vital point in this Brexit update.

For more information please refer to the Government website via this link…

What is the EU 90/180 Rule?

For those of you familiar with the Schengen Area in Europe, and the visitors rights to remain for a defined period ruling, will be aware that there may be changes for British passport holders post Brexit on 1 January 2021. As a British passport holder and resident with a second property in Europe, you will now be treated as a third country citizen outside the Schengen Area.

With the transfer of rights implied by Brexit happening on Friday 1st January 2021 Great Britain will need to comply with all manner of EU legislation.

The EU 90/180 Rule is one that will definitely affect British home owners who have second homes in Europe.

Schengen and what it means for Brits in our Brexit update

The Schengen Area currently consists of 26 states, including four which are not members of the European Union (EU). Two of the non-EU members – Iceland and Norway – are part of the Nordic Passport Union and are officially classified as ‘states associated with the Schengen activities of the EU’.[12] Switzerland was allowed to participate in the same manner in 2008.

Liechtenstein joined the Schengen Area on 19 December 2011.[13] De facto, the Schengen Area also includes three European micro-states – Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City – that maintain open or semi-open borders with other Schengen member countries.[14]

From the 1st January 2021 the United Kindgom will sit outside of the Schengen area. All visitors carrying a British passport will need to comply with the 90/180 day rule. You must ensure that no visit is longer than 90 days and a revisit is not actioned within that 6 month period.

For more information on EU Member state with opt outs and the borders that are affected please read our previous blog entitled – The EU 90/180 Rule and how it works

Second home owners

A number of ‘homeowner’ members have second homes in Europe. These changes will likely affect their travel plans. This is where checked housesitters from the HouseSitMatch network can help. Housesitters step in to look after property and pets while the home owners are away.

brexit update
Managing your second home in Europe is easier when you find housesitters through

Complying with the EU 90/180 Rule

As a result of the EU 90/180 Rule there are a number of steps you need to need make as you plan your travel to comply with the EU 90/180 Rule. The latest Brexit update from the government shows that these may vary country to country, depending on how the UK has negotiated border control with each country. In general, however, these are the steps recommended by the British Government:

1. Is your passport travel ready?

You will have to ensure that your British passport has at least 6 months left to run. Any ‘extra’ time obtained by renewing the passport early may not count. See the checker tool here.

Paperwork that border officials may ask for from third-country nationals may include:

  • a return ticket
  • certificate of medical insurance for the trip
  • proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration
  • booked accommodation e.g. hotel booking or if staying with a member of the public you need a certified letter or email to prove your plan.

Some of these papers may be waived for British passport holders for particular EU country visits. Nonetheless, please check well in advance of each visit – This Brexit update may be out of date when you read it.

brexit update
Is your passport Brexit friendly?

What you need to get a new passport

Before you go online to renew your passport you will need the following details – check our Brexit update:

  • when your passport was issued
  • when your passport expires
  • the date you plan to travel.

2. Calculate key arrival and departure dates

Keeping track of the 90 / 180 day rule for trips to Europe in each 180 day period will become second nature once the need for a Brexit update is history. In the meantime, here is a DATE PLANNER AND VISA CHECKER to help you plan and manage arrival and departure dates.

3. Visa requirements

In conclusion, if your trip is longer than 90 days, check with the destination country Embassy or Visa office. Ensure you have complied with local visa requirements. Consequently, your passport must have more than 6 months to run from departure.

Housesitters can help

Needless to say, we are always willing to help you find housesitters to care for your pets if taking them with you is proving more difficult than usual. Join as a Homeowner on our housesitting platform and we’ll help you find the best housesitters to match your needs.


Register as a homeowner petowner on HouseSitMatch

Further reading on pet sitting and housesitters

At we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.

Pet sitting services from Housesit Match

Pet and housesitters keep pets safe at home and save money

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Preparing a home for a house or pet sitter



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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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