Informative Note regarding the transportation of pets post Brexit

I have produced this note which is for information purposes only and is general in nature. If you require specific advice please consult a lawyer directly.

Current requirements for transporting pets between UK and Spain

As an EU national your pet can freely travel with you between member states if it has a European pet passport.  On 29th December 2014 every new pet passport issued within member states had to be the new format issued under Regulation (EU) No 576/2013.  These passports only apply to dogs, cats and ferrets.  Those old pet passports issued prior to December 2014 can still be used and are valid for the lifetime of the pet or if all the spaces in the passport are filled up.

The aim of the European regulation was to harmonise the rules and make it easier for EU nationals to travel within the EU with their pets.  Some countries have extra requirements such as the UK in that it requires a vet to treat your pet for tapeworm prior to travelling to the UK and this has to be recorded in the pet passport.

Implications post Brexit regarding transporting pets between UK and Spain

Commission Deputy Chief Spokesman Alexander Winterstein in March of 2017 has been quoted as saying, “The fate of dogs and cats and their free movement are obviously of the utmost importance, not only for the European Commission but the European Union in general and I would say globally.”

The most likely scenario is that during negotiations an agreement will be made regarding any change in pet passports issued in the UK.  I would consider that if they adhere to European Standards then they are likely to be accepted when travelling from the UK to an EU country.  The UK would be free to impose stricter standards for those wishing to transport their pets to the UK however they already do so by imposing tapeworm treatments.

If the UK leaves the EU with no agreements in place, then we would need to look at Spain’s and the UK’s national laws regarding pet transportation.

The very worst case scenario is that British nationals no longer being EU citizens would have to apply for UK issued pet passports.  As it stands at the moment the UK accepts free movement of pets from the EU but also from listed countries outside of the EU such as Canada and Australia.  It is therefore likely that the UK will continue to keep in place the system it currently operates and continue to accept EU pet passports.

If we then consider the requirements for transporting your pet from the UK to Spain then like the UK Spain accepts free movement of pets from other specified countries outside of the EU. It is likely they will accept pets travelling on a UK pet passport if it adheres to the same standards as the EU version.  Failing that then as applies to bringing pets in from other specified non-EU country to Spain you would need to obtain a certificate from an authorised vet in the country from where you are travelling.  The EU imposes a 3 month wait before an animal can re-enter the EU only for those countries considered a rabies risk.

The worst case scenario therefore is that a certificate will be required from a certified vet prior to travel between the UK and Spain however what is more likely is that the UK will accept EU pet passports and the EU will accept UK pet passports.

Victoria Westhead

Legal advisor to Brexpats in Spain

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