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What is an Animal Health Certificate?

by | Jun 1, 2023


Travelling with your beloved pet from Great Britain to an EU country or Northern Ireland requires careful preparation and documentation. One crucial document you’ll need is an animal health certificate (AHC). In this article, we’ll explore what an animal health certificate entails, where you can obtain it, and the necessary requirements for its issue. We’ll also address common questions regarding the validity, cost, and online availability of AHCs, providing you with essential information to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey for your furry companion.


What is an animal health certificate?


An animal health certificate is a document required for pet dogs, cats and ferrets to move from Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) to an EU country or Northern Ireland.


Where can I get an animal health certificate?


You can get an animal health certificate in a veterinary practice with an Official Veterinarian who is qualified to issue the certificate. You can do it in both our Klinic’s in Swindon and Reading.


What does an animal health certificate involve?


You need to ensure that your pet’s rabies vaccination is up to date, and the pet is microchipped. If the rabies vaccination lapsed or your pet has never had one, you will need to have them vaccinated and wait 21 days after vaccination before an AHC can be issued. The vaccination day counts as day 0. During the vaccination appointment the vet will check your pet’s microchip and record it on clinical history. If your pet was vaccinated in a clinic that doesn’t issue AHC you will need to have and bring a vaccination card with microchip number with you for the AHC appointment so that an Official Veterinarian can make a certified copy.

    • The person/owner who travels with the pet needs to come to the appointment with the pet.
    • An Official Veterinarian will check the microchip and confirm all the information regarding the travel with you. Then the vet will need to issue an AHC which is a lengthy process so you might be asked to come back later the same day or wait until is done.
    • On arrival in the EU and NI, pet owners travelling with their pets are required to enter through a designated Travellers’ Point of Entry (TPE) where they may be asked to present proof of microchip and rabies vaccination alongside their pet’s AHC and proof of tapeworm treatment (if required).
    • Dogs travelling from GB to tapeworm-free countries including Northern Ireland, Malta, Norway, Ireland and Finland must be treated for tapeworm prior to travel. The treatment must be given by a vet 24-120h and recorded on an AHC. The treatment must be carried out not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before the pet lands.


How long does an AHC last?


The AHC is valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU and for four months of onward movement between EU member states or until the date of expiry of the validity of the anti-rabies vaccination (whichever is earlier). The day of signing the AHC counts as day 1. During this time, it can be used to re-enter GB. Unfortunately, pets require a new AHC each time they enter the EU from GB.


How much does an animal health certificate cost? / Why are AHC so expensive?


Cost varies in between vet practices. It is more expensive than the passport due to the complexity of the document and the time required to filled it in.

Frequently asked questions about the AHC


Does my pet need an AHC to travel to France? Yes, this applies to dogs, cats, and ferrets.

Do I need an AHC for my rabbits? No, only pet dogs, cats and ferrets need an AHC to travel to EU and Northern Ireland. For any other type of pet, the rules for travel are decided by each country. You can check the rule using this link.

Can I get an AHC online? No, as you and your pet must be present during the consultation so the vet can verify the microchip number.

Is an AHC the same as a pet passport? No, an AHC is valid only for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU and you will need a new AHC for each journey. After Brexit UK passports became invalid, you can however travel on an EU passport provided the vaccination is up to date. Unfortunately, UK vets are no longer able to enter the details of any rabies vaccination in an EU passport.


Obtaining an animal health certificate is an essential step for pet owners planning to travel with their dogs, cats, or ferrets from Great Britain to an EU country or Northern Ireland. This document verifies that your pet’s rabies vaccination is up to date and ensures compliance with other necessary requirements, such as microchipping. Remember that an AHC is only valid for a limited period, and a new certificate is needed for each journey. While the process may involve some complexity and cost, it is crucial to prioritise the well-being and safety of your beloved pet. By consulting with one of our Official Veterinarian’s and following the guidelines provided, you can embark on your adventure with confidence, knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to meet the travel regulations and keep your furry friend by your side throughout the journey.

If you have any further questions about the AHC, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us:

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