Biobest Laboratories Ltd

Brexit and pet travel - Ireland

With the nature and timing of Brexit still uncertain, the possibility of pets requiring rabies blood test to travel from the UK to the EU remains real.  As highlighted in a recent article in the Irish Times, this would impact on pet travel between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Up until now, pets travelling between Northern and Ireland only require a valid EU pet passport, which can be issued to pets in any EU country that have been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.  In the case of a no-deal Brexit, the EU pet passports issued to British pets would become immediately invalid.  As an unlisted third country, British pets travelling to any EU country would require a rabies blood test to certify they have sufficient rabies antibodies.  Testing must be carried out at least 30 days after their most recent vaccination, and 3 months prior to travel.


These changes to pet travel regulation also have implications for pet owners south of the border.  Whilst the British government has stated it will not be imposing similar requirements on pets entering the UK from the EU, Irish pet owners need be careful, so they are not caught out. 


At present all Irish pets travelling to Northern Ireland should have an EU pet passport, however the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has in past stated: “In recognition of the negligible risk of rabies, there are currently no systematic border checks on pets moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland”.   In the case of a no-deal Brexit, border checks could return with consequences for Irish pet owner’s returning from the North with pets that do not have valid EU pet passports.  There are also potential issues for pet owners that have moved from the UK and settled in Ireland with their pets UK born pets, should their EU pet passport be British issued.


Pet owners concerned about how Brexit will impact on their pet travel plans are encouraged to speak to their vets, and discuss what steps need taken to ensure they can still travel with their pet post-Brexit.  To learn more about the implications of Brexit on pet travel and how the rabies testing procedure at Biobest work, we have produced an informational video on the topic: