Each month we answer one of your most frequently asked questions on buying or selling French property, moving to or living in France. This month, our FrenchEntrée Digital Editor, Zoë Smith, answers one of your most commonly asked questions regarding travelling to France with pets post-Brexit.
Question: Can I Get an EU Pet Passport in France as a Second-Home Owner?
We own a holiday home in Brittany and have a temporary long-stay visa which allows us to stay in France for up to six months. We plan to take our three dogs with us. We understand that their UK-issued Pet Passports are no longer valid and that we will need to pay for an Animal Health Certificate in order to travel with them to France.
The problem is that we’d also like to return to the UK for two short trips during the six-month visa period, and we plan for our dogs to accompany us. But does this mean that we will need to pay for a new Animal Health Certificate each time? Is there a way that we could register our dogs for a French EU Pet Passport instead?
Answer: You will be able to obtain an EU Pet Passport for your dog, providing they meet the requirements, which include spending a minimum of three months in France.
As Aimie correctly stated, since Brexit, her dogs’ UK-issued EU Pet Passports are no longer valid for travel (don’t throw them away, though, as they are still valid as your dog’s vaccination record!). This means that second-home owners travelling to France with their pets after Brexit must present a valid Animal Health Certificate (received within ten days prior to travel) in order to bring their pets to France. You can read more about this in our guide to travelling to France from the UK with your pet.
Animal Health Certificates (AHC) are valid for four months, including onward travel within the EU, but they are not valid for more than one trip. This means that once you leave the EU and return to the UK, your pet will need a new Animal Health Certificate in order to return to France. An AHC costs a minimum of £100 for the initial certificate, plus an additional £50+ per additional pet (up to five pets can be covered on a single AHC). If you’re looking to undertake multiple trips with multiple dogs, this can quickly add up. In Aimie’s case, with three dogs and three different trips to France, she would be looking at a minimum of £600 for the Animal Health Certificates alone, not to mention the hassle of obtaining the certificates prior to each trip (and remember, these are just the starting prices – some vets do charge more).
In this instance, it’s easy to see why Aimie would prefer the option of an EU Pet Passport – this would allow her three dogs to come and go as often as they like (provided their vaccines are kept up to date) at no charge. Being as the EU Pet Passport is still valid for travel to the UK, as well as for travel back to the EU, the entire process would be much simpler. The dogs would still need to receive treatment for tapeworm within 24-120 hours before travelling to the UK (this is a requirement both with and without a Pet Passport), but it would certainly make the whole process a lot easier and cheaper.
The question is, would her dogs be eligible for a French Pet Passport?
Can you still get an EU Pet Passport after Brexit?
Generally speaking, the answer is no. The UK is no longer part of the EU Pet Passport scheme, and it is no longer possible to get an EU Pet Passport in the UK. In addition to this, all UK-issued Pet Passports are now invalid for travel. But what about registering for a French EU Passport?
Since Brexit, France has changed its rules on obtaining a French-EU Pet Passport to make it more difficult for British pet owners hoping to skirt the rules by registering their UK dogs in France (read the official word on this here). For most second-home owners, it will not be possible to obtain a French Pet Passport if your main home is in the UK. However, it is still possible for those who are moving to France or spending longer than three months in France (for which you will need a temporary long-stay visa or a long-stay visa) to register their pets in France and obtain a Pet Passport. Here’s how.
If you are moving to France with your dog or visiting for a long stay (more than three months), then you should register your dog with I-CAD within eight days of arrival in France. This can be done by a French vet, and in order to do so, you will need to provide details of your dogs’ vaccinations and proof that you are staying in France for more than three months (i.e. your temporary long-stay visas). Once your dog is registered, your vet will be able to issue you with a French Pet Passport, which you can use to travel back to the UK.
Note that if you are not staying more than three months in France, your vet will not be able to register your pet with I-CAD and, therefore, will not be able to issue an EU Pet Passport.
Read more in our guide to How to Get an EU Pet Passport for Your Dog or Cat in France.
*IMPORTANT* Your pet’s previous vaccinations will not be listed on their new EU Pet Passport, so it is important that you hold on to their vaccine card or UK Pet Passport (if applicable). Remember that you MUST present proof of rabies vaccination for travel, so if your pet’s current rabies vaccination is not listed in their new Pet Passport, you will need to present both documents at the border.
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