France is a popular destination for those living in the UK, as it is so easily accessible with many routes available. Whether you are planning on visiting France for a holiday, or are relocating there, you don’t have to leave your pets behind!
Taking pets from the UK to France is pretty straightforward. As of the 1st January 2021, you are not able to obtain an EU pet passport in the UK. Prior to this date, dogs, cats and ferrets in the UK were eligible for an EU Pet Passport which allowed them to travel freely within the EU. However, since Brexit the rules have changed. in 2021, your pet will require a microchip, rabies vaccination and an animal health certificate (unless you have a pet passport issued in the EU). Dogs will also require a tapeworm treatment. Secondly, you will need to organise travel. Traveling in a car on either a ferry or on the Eurotunnel is the easier option, however it is possible to fly with your pet to France. We will use the term ‘pet passport’ to describe the documents required to travel with pets.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the process of taking a pet from the UK to France. Additionally, we will walk you through how to obtain a pet passport to travel from UK to France and all the documents required.
What is an EU Pet Passport?
An EU Pet Passport is a compilation of documents that your pet needs in order to cross borders within the EU. With an EU Pet Passport, dogs, cats and ferrets are able to travel throughout the EU without enduring a quarantine period. Pets will require a microchip and rabies vaccination and health certificate at minimum, proof of both is needed in order to obtain an EU Pet Passport. All documents must be issued by an official veterinarian within the EU. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your pet is fit and healthy to travel.
The documents required to travel with pets depends on which country you are travelling from, and which country you are travelling to. Each country has different rules and requirements to export and import pets. Requirements and restrictions also vary between pet species. We will discuss the requirements to travel from the UK to France in detail below.
As of 2021, due to Brexit, you can no longer obtain EU pet passports in the UK. Therefore, you will need an animal health certificate to leave the UK with your pet. Once you enter the EU you can obtain your pet’s EU Pet Passport.
What if I do not have an EU Pet Passport?
If you do not have an EU pet passport, do not worry. Your pet can still travel from the UK to France without one. Instead, your pet will need the following:
- Rabies vaccination
- Animal health certificate
- Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)
We will discuss these in detail below.
What does an EU Pet Passport contain?
An EU Pet Passport contains all the documents required to travel with your pet. It will basically prove that your pet is fit and healthy to travel.
An EU Pet Passport contains the following information:
- Details of ownership (name, address, passport number, telephone, etc.)
- Description of the animal (name, species, breed, date of birth, etc.)
- Official veterinarian’s details
- Microchip information
- Rabies vaccination certificate
- Rabies antibody titer test results
- Parasite treatment records
- Additional vaccination and treatment records
- Pet photo (optional)
At minimum, your EU pet passport will contain those listed 1-5. These are compulsory in order to travel within the EU. Those listed 6-9 are potential requirements that your pet may need if you are traveling outside the EU.
All records are signed and stamped by your official EU veterinarian with official stickers from the medication used.
What pet species can get a ‘Pet Passport’ for UK to France?
However, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to take other pets from the UK to France with you. If you wish to travel with a bird, rabbit or even a lizard, you will simply need alternative documents in order to travel. We will discuss this in detail below.
For more information on the Pet Travel Scheme, check out What is The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)?.
What is the process of obtaining a Pet Passport to travel from UK to France?
1. Visit the vet.
You will need to visit the vet to obtain an animal health certificate. Your pet will also need a microchip and rabies vaccination.
Before booking an appointment, make sure that your chosen vet is an ‘official veterinarian’ (OV). Not all of them are. Only OV’s will be able to issue an animal health certificate for your pet.
At your appointment, your vet will administer your dog, cat or ferret with a microchip and rabies vaccination, if your pet hasn’t already had them. They will also perform a basic health examination to ensure your pet is healthy enough to travel. Once the veterinarian is satisfied that your pet is ready for travel, they will review all the paperwork and complete your pet’s animal health certificate.
Once in your destination EU country, your pet can visit the vet there to obtain their EU Pet Passport. These can no longer be issued in the UK due to Brexit.
2. Organise Travel.
You will then need to figure out how you are traveling from the UK to France. The easiest option is to travel by car, however you can also travel by air. Traveling by air is far more complicated as airlines have very specific rules and regulations when it comes to traveling with pets. Some airlines may even prohibit certain pet species, and breeds from boarding their planes.
How can I travel from UK to France with a pet?
Travelling from UK to France in a car.
If you are planning on taking your dog from the UK to France in your car, there are two main options:
- Board a cross channel ferry; or
- Pass through the Eurotunnel.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to let the company know that you will be bringing your pet with you. It is best to do this well in advance to ensure for a smooth journey.
When traveling across travel, dogs generally must stay in your car or in a pet travel carrier. Therefore, for the comfort of your dog it is best to choose the shorter ferry rides during warmer months.
If taking the Eurotunnel, it costs an extra £19 per pet, with most ferries also charging a similar price.
2. Travelling from UK to France by air.
Traveling from the UK to France by air is far more complicated than traveling by car. This is because airlines have strict rules, regulations and restrictions when it comes to traveling with pets. Many airlines will not allow pets to travel on their planes at all, however there are some that will.
Traveling via air is far more expensive too, as you will need to pay extra to ship your pet. The price varies between airlines, and depending on the weight and size of your pet.
1. Before booking your flight, be sure to check out different airline’s policies to ensure that you are able to take your pet with you.
Different airlines have different rules and regulations when it comes to pet travel. Unfortunately, most airlines will not allow flying in the cabin with a pet from the UK. So, it’s likely that you will need to ship your pet in the cargo area of the plane.
Related posts: Flying Pets in Cargo: Will My Pet be Safe?
2. When booking your flight, inform the airline that you will be bringing your pet with you.
Do this as soon as you book your flight, as airlines often have limitations on how many pets they can ship at any given time.
3. Be sure to get an appropriate travel carrier and get your pet used to spending time in it.
Different airlines have different size and weight restrictions when it comes to pet travel carriers. Be sure to check those of your chosen airline.
To ensure that the journey is as stress-free as possible for your pet, ensure they are comfortable in their travel carrier.
What are the requirements for a ‘Pet Passport’ UK to France?
In order to get a Pet Passport for UK to France, your dog, cat or ferret requires the following:
All dogs, cats and ferrets must have a microchip in order to travel from the UK to France.
A microchip is a electronic chip that holds a unique number traceable with a chip reader. It is place just under your pet’s skin in between its shoulder blades.
We recommend that this is the first step in the process of obtaining a UK to France pet passport. This is because if your pet isn’t microchipped before they get their rabies vaccination, then the vaccination may not be valid. This would therefore mean your pet would have to get vaccinated again.
2. Rabies Vaccination.
All dogs, cats and ferrets must be up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
In order to travel from the UK to France, you must be able to prove that your pet has had their rabies vaccination within the past year, but at least 21 days before your arrival in France.
3. Animal Health Certificate.
In order to take a pet outside of the UK, you will require an animal health certificate. You do not require an animal health certificate if your pet has an up to date EU pet passport issued in Northern Ireland or an EU country.
You must take your pet to your vet to get an animal health certificate no more than 10 days before you travel.
The certificate must be signed by an official veterinarian (OV), so it’s good to check that your vet can issue animal health certificates. If they cannot, ask them to help you find an OV.
When you visit your vet, you’ll need to take the following:
- microchipping date
- vaccination history
Your pet’s animal health certificate will be valid after the date of issue for:
- 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
- 4 months for onward travel within the EU
- 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain
Your pet will need a new animal health certificate every time you leave the UK.
Additional Considerations for a Pet Passport UK to France.
It may be possible that you require the following:
1. Tapeworm Treatment.
If you are planning on returning to the UK after traveling to France, dogs will need a tapeworm treatment. This only applies for dogs.
All dogs must be wormed by a vet, with this recorded in their pet passport. This needs to be done between 5 days (120 hours) and 24 hours before returning to the UK, based on your arrival time in the UK. If you fail to have your dog treated within this time scale, then he or she may be put into quarantine for up to 4 months.
2. Rabies Titer Test / Rabies Blood Test
Currently, this is not a requirement to travel from the UK to France with a pet. However, due to Brexit, it may be as of 2021.
A rabies titer test is a blood test to see whether your dog’s rabies vaccination was successful. Your veterinarian will need to take a blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination, usually. The sample will then be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory. The blood rest results must show that the vaccination was successful – i.e. your pet’s blood must contain at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody. Usually, you must then wait 3 months from the date of the blood sample before travel.
3. CITES Permit.
Only if your pet is an endangered species, you will need to apply for a CITES Permit.
If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, and especially if it is a turtle or parrot, you should verify that it is not protected under CITES. You can check whether your pet is protected here.
How much does a ‘Pet Passport’ UK to France cost?
The cost of a UK to France Pet Passport is usually around £60-£100. The cost is broken down into the following costs:
- Microchipping – £0-20
- Rabies vaccination – £0-20+
- Animal health certificate – £110+
Firstly, different countries and veterinary clinics will have different prices for a pet passport. If you want to save some money, check the prices of a few different veterinary clinics. Some will also offer pet passport packages.
Additionally, some pets species may require more treatments and vaccines than others. For example, if you are returning to the UK after traveling to France, dogs require a tapeworm treatment.
If your pet already has a microchip, and a recent rabies vaccination, you will probably pay less for your EU Pet Passport. This is because you will only be paying for the health check and the documents.
For information on how to get free microchipping in the UK check How to get Dog Microchipping for Free in the UK .
Taking other pet species from UK to France
France does not have any travel restrictions on invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibia, mammals such as rodents and rabbits. You will simply need a health certificate from your vet in many cases. There are some additional rules when it comes to taking birds to France from the UK.
You are permitted to bring up to 5 birds as long as you have no intention to sell, rehome or transfer ownership in any way. All birds traveling from UK to France will require the following:
- A health certificate;
- Stay in a quarantine facility for 30 days prior to transport;
- Avian influenza H5 vaccine at least 60 days before transport; and
- Tests for H5N1 PCR with negative results.
Which dog breeds are banned from entering France?
Mastiff and Boerbull breeds and their crosses are prohibited from being imported to France.
France prohibits the import of the following breeds without pedigree certification:
- Staffordshire Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
These breeds must be a registered pedigree and crossbreeds are not permitted.
Owners of class 2 dogs must conform to import regulations above. Owners must have insurance to protect against liability. Your dog must receive approval from the local town council, have a detention permit, have behavioral evaluations and be leashed and muzzled when in public.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
Can I take my puppy or kitten to France from the UK?
Yes, as long as your puppy or kitten is at least 4 months old. This is because France requires dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies, which can only be administered to pets over the age of 3 months. You must then wait 21 days after the vaccination, before entering France. Additionally, proof of age should be available.
Can I take my dog or cat in the Eurotunnel with me?
Yes, the Eurotunnel allows dogs, cats and ferrets to travel with their owners from the UK to France. You will need to organise travel beforehand, and pay a £19 fee.
What if I lose my Pet Passport?
If a passport is lost or stolen, it can be replaced as long as you have evidence of the animal’s vaccination record and blood test result (if applicable). Both records must also show your pet's microchip number. Details of the lost or stolen passport, including its serial number, country and date of issue (if known) should be recorded on the Pet Passport Control Sheet. We recommend that you scan photos of your pet passport in case you lose it.
Can I take my pet in the plane cabin with me?
It is a possibility yes. If you are the owner of a small dog or cat, then you may be able to take them in the cabin with you. However, only some airlines will allow this.
Taking pets from the UK to France is pretty straightforward. You will need to obtain an animal health certificate. This involves getting your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at an official veterinarian (OV). If you are taking another pet species with you, then they will not need a microchip or rabies vaccination, but you will need an animal health certificate at minimum. Once you arrive in your destination EU country, you can visit the vet to obtain an EU Pet Passport.
Traveling from the UK to France with pets in a car is far simpler than flying. This is because airlines have strict rules and regulations to follow when traveling with pets. If you are planning on flying with pets to France, ensure you select an airline that will permit the transport of your pet, and plan your trip well in advance.
Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!
- How Much Does an EU Pet Passport Cost?
- How to get an EU Pet Passport [GUIDE]
- How Much Does a Dog Passport Cost in the UK?
- How to take a Dog on The Eurotunnel [Guide, FAQ & Prices]
- How to take a Cat on The Eurotunnel [Guide, FAQ & Prices]
- How to take a Ferret on The Eurotunnel [Guide, FAQ & Prices]
- What is The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)? [GUIDE]