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From arranging the best campervan insurance to picking out the perfect campsite, travel to Europe for campervan enthusiasts has always been an exciting but busy process. However, with the Brexit transition period coming to an end, things are about to get more complicated.

Among everything else, there’ll be new rules for travellers who wish to take their pets on holiday to Europe. It’s therefore important to be aware of the latest guidance on how to prepare for travel with your beloved pet after Brexit.

When the transition period ends on 31st December 2020, Great Britain will become a ‘third country’.

This means the process and cost of travelling with your pet to Europe will change fundamentally. However, under the Withdrawal Agreement, Northern Ireland itself will stay within the EU’s Pet Travel scheme.

Under the EU’s Pet Travel scheme there are three categorisations of third countries: Part 1 listed, Part 2 listed and Unlisted.

All of these categories involve slightly different pet travel requirements and costs. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know which category Britain will be in from 1st January 2021 so the situation is still uncertain.

It’s also important to note the scheme only covers cats, ferrets and dogs, including assistance dogs.

Under the scheme, such pets can be taken from Britain to the EU (and vice versa) without the need for quarantine. For other pets you will need to investigate further according to the species and the destination country.


Part 1 listed country

This is the preferred scenario with the least amount of change to the current system for pet owners traveling between Britain and the EU.

The main development is the replacement of the requirement for an EU pet passport with a new UK pet passport.

The key parts of this new pet travel process involve:

  • Microchipping of pets (currently costing around £20).
  • Vaccination of pets against rabies at least 21 days before travel (currently costing £32.60).
  • Application for a UK pet passport (the cost of which is currently unknown but the EU pet passport costs £60).

Providing your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date, the UK pet passport should remain valid for the rest of its life.

It’s important to remember a pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated.

A dog sitting in the drivers seat of a motorhome

Part 2 listed country

The main difference between this and Part 1 listed status is that rather than a UK pet passport you would need to apply for an animal health certificate (AHC).

The AHC application process is more complicated and has some drawbacks. For example, an AHC is valid for just four months and you’ll need a new certificate every time your pet travels to the EU.

So, as well as microchipping and rabies vaccinations costs, you’ll need to factor in the repeated cost of an AHC (a cost which is currently unknown at the time of writing).

To obtain an AHC from your vet you must have proof of:

  • Your pet’s microchipping date.
  • Your pet’s vaccination history.
  • A successful rabies antibody blood test result (for further details see below).

Your pet’s AHC will be valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU.
  • Onward travel within the EU for four months after the date of issue.
  • Re-entry to Britain for four months after the date of issue.

To get a new AHC before travelling again pets do not need a repeat blood test if they have:

  • Had a successful blood test.
  • An up-to-date rabies vaccination history.


Unlisted country

In the event Britain is an ‘unlisted’ country, this will have the most disruptive effect on the pet travel process.

Before your pet can travel to the EU for the first time after Brexit, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. Have your pet microchipped.
  2. Vaccinate your pet against rabies.
  3. A vet must take a blood sample from your pet at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination. Your pet might need a booster rabies vaccination before this test.
  4. The blood sample must be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory to measure whether there is a sufficient level of antibodies in the bloodstream. The current cost of this laboratory test can vary but the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for example is charging around £50.
  5. If the blood test result is not successful you must repeat the rabies vaccination and have a blood test at least 30 days after the repeat vaccination.
  6. Wait three months from the date the successful blood test was taken before travelling.
  7. A copy of the test results and date of sample must be entered in an AHC.

If any of these steps are missed you will not be able to travel to the EU with your pet.

A dog standing on the front bench of a classic pink VW camper

Other travel issues

If you're travelling directly to Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Norway or Malta with your pet, it needs to receive tapeworm treatment less than five days before arrival. The vet also needs to enter the full details of this on the AHC.


Keep up to date

Clearly, Government advice on these matters is subject to change. It’s important you keep up to date to ensure your pet is able to travel from Britain to the EU after the Brexit transition period has ended.

It’s advisable to contact your vet at least four months before any planned travel to get the latest advice.

To complement your campervan insurance, it’s advisable to obtain pet insurance in order to cover you for any eventualities while you’re away.


Campervan insurance for home and abroad

Whether you’re travelling to the Scottish Highlands or the South of France, it’s vital to get the right campervan insurance for your needs before leaving home.

The dedicated team at Motorhome Protect will use their specialist insurance market knowledge to secure you the best policy suited to your needs.

Policies arranged through Motorhome Protect can include the following benefits:

  • Unlimited EU cover
  • Up to £3,500 of cover for your camping personal effects
  • Up to 6 months to complete a self-build conversion
  • Cover for campervans with a value up to £150,000
  • Quotes available for customers with claims and convictions

Get a quick quote today to protect your cherished camper.

Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.