Fast, hassle-free Animal Health Certificates from £99.
Trusted by over 100 vet practices nationwide.
We are a leading provider of Animal Health Certificates and other documentation for pet travel to Europe and the rest of the world. Our experienced veterinary team have extensive knowledge of the requirements for taking pets abroad.
What is an Animal Health Certificate (AHC)?
An Animal Health Certificate is a document that is required to take a dog, cat or ferret from the UK to the EU. The AHC needs to be issued by an Official Veterinarian (OV) within 10 days of your departure date, and it is valid for one trip to the EU only. Up to 5 pets can go on the same AHC, and the pets must not be travelling for commercial reasons.
Animal Health Certificates are only for dogs, cats and ferrets travelling to the EU (as well as Switzerland or Norway). If you are planning on travelling with another species of animal, or if you are planning on travelling outside the EU, then you would need different type of certificate. Get in touch for advice on what you need.
How our AHC service works
1. Check your pet is eligible
If you pet hasn't had a rabies vaccination before, or if the most recent one has expired, you'll need to book them in for a rabies vaccination at your vets. This needs to be done at least 21 days before your Animal Health Certificate appointment with us. See our FAQ page for full AHC requirements.
2. Book an appointment
Book an appointment on our online booking page and select which branch you would like to visit. The appointment needs to be within 10 days of your departure date, and it must be at least 21 days after your pet has had their rabies vaccination.
3. Complete our pre-appointment form
We’ll send you a link to our online pre-appointment form that you'll need to complete prior to your appointment. We'll also need you to ask your vet practice to email us your pet's clinical history. This allows us to check everything is in order, and prepare the certificate before you visit us.
4. Come to your appointment
Come to our clinic for your appointment, bringing your pet and rabies document. The appointment lasts around 20 minutes, and we'll take payment and issue your Animal Health Certificate there and then. Once issued, you'll have 10 days to depart on your trip.
What are the requirements to get an Animal Health Certificate?Your pet needs to have been microchipped and to have had a rabies vaccination. The rabies vaccination needs to have been administered at least 21 days before your appointment with the vet who is issuing the AHC, and you will need a document showing proof of the rabies vaccination. The rabies vaccination does not have to be administered by the vet that issues the AHC - any vet can administer this. The proof of rabies document can be in the form of a vaccination card, a vaccination certificate, an old pet passport, or your pet's clinical history from your vet. See our page on what we accept as proof of rabies documents. The routine, annual vaccinations are not required to travel to the EU, however we would advise to keep these up to date anyway.
How long does it take to get an Animal Health Certificate?Different vets have different processes and timescales for issuing Animal Health Certificates, however all vets must wait 21 days following the rabies vaccination, before they can issue an AHC (unless it is a booster rabies vaccination given before the previous rabies vaccination had expired). At PassPets, we try to make it as simple and hassle free as possible: 1. Check your pet is eligible - see requirements above. 2. Book an appointment with us - this needs to be at least 21 days after your pet's rabies vaccination and within 10 days of your travel date. 3. Complete our pre-appointment form which we'll send you via email. 4. Come to your appointment and we'll issue the AHC there and then.
What else do I need to do before I travel?If you are taking a dog directly to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta then you will need to take the dog to a vet in the UK between 1 and 5 days (24 and 120 hours) before you are due to arrive in that country, for the vet to administer tapeworm treatment and record this in the AHC. At PassPets, we can administer and record the tapeworm treatment at the same time as we issue the AHC, provided the appointment is between 1 and 5 days before you enter Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta. If you are taking a dog to any other country in the EU, then you do not need anything else before you travel, other than the Animal Health Certificate. If you're taking a cat or ferret, you do not need anything else other than the AHC.
What do I need to do before I return to the UK?For dogs, you will need to take them to a vet in the EU between 1 and 5 days (24 and 120 hours) before you are due to arrive back in the UK, for the vet to administer tapeworm treatment and record this in the AHC. You will be asked to show the AHC (with the tapeworm treatment recorded) at the border when you arrive back in the UK. The above does not apply for dogs travelling back directly from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta as the dog will have already had tapeworm treatment before going out. For cats or ferrets, there are no additional requirements to come back to the UK. You will just need to show the Animal Health Certificate at the border when you return. For more details see our page on returning to the UK.
How long is the Animal Health Certificate valid for?From the day the Animal Health Certificate is issued, you have 10 days to depart on your trip. The Animal Health Certificate is valid for 4 months of onward travel within the EU, or until the rabies vaccination expires, whichever date is earlier. However, if you leave the EU (for example, to return to the UK), then you would need another AHC in order to re-enter again. See our page for more information on validity of Animal Health Certificates. Your pet will not need to have a repeat rabies vaccination each time as long as it is up to date.
How much does an Animal Health Certificate cost?Prices for AHCs vary by vet practice. At PassPets, for our standard AHC service (i.e. more than 2 days notice), we charge £99 for the first pet, plus £50 per additional pet. We do not charge a consulting fee. See our pricing page for more details.
What if I'm not travelling with my pet?If you are not travelling with your pet you can still be issued with an Animal Health Certificate provided you are due to be reunited with your pet within 5 days of their travel date. If your pet is travelling alone with a pet transport company, you will need to provide details of the transport company to your vet before the AHC appointment takes place. It is compulsory that you will be reunited with your pet within 5 days of their departure date, and the pet transport company will need to carry documentation that proves this (e.g. a flight booking confirmation). If your pet is travelling with a named friend or family member, then you will need to provide the vet issuing the AHC with a written declaration that you are happy for the named person to travel with your pet (we can provide you with a template declaration). It is compulsory that you will be reunited with your pet within 5 days of their departure date, and the named person travelling with your pet must carry documentation that proves this (e.g. a flight booking confirmation). If you are not going to be reunited with your pet within 5 days of their travel date, or if the move is a commercial move (i.e. change of ownership), then you would need an Export Health Certificate instead. Please get in touch for more information.
What if I want to take more than 5 pets?A maximum of 5 pets are allowed on an Animal Health Certificate. You can take more than 5 pets to the EU if you are attending or training for a competition, sporting event or show. You would need to show written evidence of registration for the event to the official veterinarian issuing the certificate. Most UK ports do not allow more than 5 pets per vehicle, so check with the relevant port before travelling if you are taking more than 5 pets.
Can I get an AHC online or via post?In order for any official veterinarian to issue an Animal Health Certificate they need to physically scan the microchip of the pet each time they issue a certificate, so issuing AHCs online or via post is not allowed.
I have a pet passport, can I use it?If you have a GB-issued pet passport, these are no longer valid, and you would need an Animal Health Certificate instead. If you have an EU-issued pet passport, then these are valid provided the latest rabies vaccination was administered by an EU vet and is still in date. If the rabies vaccination has lapsed, or the rabies vaccination was administered by a UK vet, then this would not be valid and an AHC would be needed instead.
How long do rabies vaccinations last for?Rabies vaccination validity periods differ by the manufacturer of the vaccine and the country where it was administered. If the brand of your pet's rabies vaccination was Nobivac, Canigen or Versiguard, and it was administered in the UK, then it is valid for 3 years from the date it was administered. If the brand was Rabisin, then it is only valid for 1 year, unless it was a booster Rabisin rabies vaccination (i.e. administered before the previous Rabisin vaccination had expired), in which case it is valid for 3 years. If your pet's rabies vaccination was administered in the EU, then it is most likely valid for one year only, regardless of which brand that was administered. If you are not sure whether your pet's rabies vaccination is still in date, contact your vet practice as they should have it on their record.
Is a dog health certificate, pet health certificate or pet travel certificate the same as an Animal Health Certificate?Health certificates are a broad term used to mean a certificate issued by an veterinarian in order to certify that an animal is ok to travel abroad. An "Animal Health Certificate" is the certificate needed for dogs, cats or ferrets to travel to the EU on a non-commercial basis. An "Export Health Certificate" is the certificate needed for dogs, cats, ferrets and most other animals to travel to outside the EU, or to the EU on a commercial basis. A Fit to Fly / Travel Certificate is sometimes required by airlines or travel companies to certify that the pet is healthy to travel. Dog health certificates, cat health certificates, pet health certificates, and pet travel certificates are all general terms that could relate to any of the above.
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