Travel FAQs for EU and NI
Travel to European Union (EU) or Northern Ireland (NI)
What is required to travel to the EU and NI?
An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) is required for all cats travelling to the EU and NI. A current EU pet passport issued in the UK is no longer valid for travel. Please keep your cat’s passport as it contains records of your cat’s rabies vaccines.
What are the requirements before issuing an AHC?
Current rabies vaccine (cats need to be a minimum of 12 weeks of age before they can receive their first rabies vaccine)
You must wait at least 21 days after your cat has received their rabies vaccine before you can travel
Health check by a vet to issue the AHC within 10 days of travel
How much does an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) cost?
An Animal Health Certificate costs £250* for one cat, the cost for additional cats is £75*. This includes the consultation and health check of your cat(s) and completion of the paperwork to allow your cat to travel within the EU and NI.
What other costs are involved?
A microchip is £25.74* and will only need to be implanted once. A rabies vaccination costs £56.64* – this will need to be repeated according to the manufacturer's recommendation - usually every three years - to allow continual travel.
How long does it take to process an animal health certificate?
An animal health certificate can be issued ten days prior to travel (i.e. you will have 10 days to use it to leave this country). The AHC will not be issued on the day of your appointment and we ask that you allow us a minimum of 4 days to process the paperwork.
How long is the animal health certificate valid for?
Animal health certificates can then be used for travel between EU countries (including the UK) for up to four months from the date your animal enters the EU.
What information or paperwork do I need to supply before getting an AHC for my cat?
Pet owner’s details
Your pet’s description
Rabies vaccination details - your cat will need to have been vaccinated at least three weeks prior to the AHC appointment and have had a rabies vaccine within the past three years
Intended country of entry into the EU - each AHC has to be issued in the language of the country in which you first enter the EU, not in the language of your destination country
How old does my pet have to be to get their AHC?
The EU Regulation requires pets to be at least 12 weeks old when vaccinated. Whilst some EU countries will allow young, unvaccinated pets to travel (subject to certain conditions) the UK does not permit this. This means no pet can enter the UK unless they are 15 weeks old (12 weeks and 21-day wait).
Who can apply for an AHC?
The owner, as named in on the animal health certificate. The owner must be aged over 16. Pets must be accompanied either by their owner or by a person authorised in writing by the owner.
How many pets can one person apply for animal health certificates for?
The owner or authorised person can only be accompanied by a maximum of five cats. You cannot take more than 5 cats to an EU country or NI unless you are attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event. In this case you will need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel.
Who can issue an AHC?
An AHC can only be issued by an Official Veterinarian, which is a vet that has been authorised by the government.
How can I book my appointment to get my AHC?
Please call us to book your appointment so that we can book you with the most appropriate vet at the most appropriate time to allow adequate time to process the paperwork. You can call us on 01865 243000 (Botley) or 01865 950700 (Marston).
Can I return to the UK with my cat?
Your cat must have one of the following documents when returning to the UK:
an existing EU pet passport (issued in the UK or EU)
the EU health certificate issued in the UK used to travel to the EU
a UK pet health certificate (issued outside the UK for travel into the UK)
What if I am travelling outside of the EU or NI?
If you wish to travel with your cat to another country outside of EU/NI, different rules will apply. Depending on the country additional documentation or blood samples may be required. Please see https://www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad/travelling-to-a-noneu-country for government guidelines on which countries this is applicable to.
Download a PDF copy of this information here.
* All prices correct February 2023