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31 January 2024

The animal health certificate: what you should know

Pets will need certain documents if you plan on taking them abroad, which then may need to be notarised. We will tell you what you need to know about taking pets abroad.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

A grey cat a larger golden retriever cuddled together on holiday after being issued an animal health certificate

There are certain requirements that people from England, Scotland and Wales who plan on taking their pets abroad will need to meet for them to be able to take them into certain countries. For example, for the EU and Northern Ireland, you will need an Animal Health Certificate

Depending on whether you are travelling to Northern Ireland and the EU, or to a non-EU country, you will have different conditions to meet. 

Dogs, cats and ferrets all have the same requirements, so we will focus on them first. 

Animal Health Certificate for the EU and Northern Ireland

Once, you would have needed a British pet passport to travel to EU countries and Northern Ireland. Since Brexit, you instead need to use an Animal Health Certificate. 

To get an Animal Health Certificate, you will need to take your pet to a vet no more than 10 days before you plan on travelling. 

However, if you have a pet passport issued from an EU country or Northern Ireland, you can still use that. 

Aside from the health certificate, the requirements your pet needs to meet are:

  • A microchip
  • A valid rabies vaccination
  • Tapeworm treatment (PLEASE NOTE: this only applies to Finland, Malta, Northern Ireland, and Norway)

You cannot take more than five pets with you to Northern Ireland or EU countries, unless it is for a show or competition. 

Requirements for non-EU countries

For non-EU countries, you will not need an Animal Health Certificate. You will instead need an Export Health Certificate. This certificate is also used if you plan on selling animals abroad. 

The Export Health Certificate requirements of each country will vary greatly and would be too long to list here. Thankfully, the Government has a tool where you can check the requirements that every country has for taking pets into their respective countries. There are filters on the left, so ensure it is set to just pets. 

A vet must also check your certificate to ensure that your pet meets the requirements of the target country, and that your pet is healthy. 

Taking other pets abroad

All of the aforementioned requirements have just been for dogs, cats and ferrets. 

For other pets, such as reptiles, birds, rodents, and other exotic pets, the requirements will vary. 

You will need to check the individual rules of the country you want to go to to see what you need to do for your pet to be allowed entry. 

How we can help

Our Notary Public with years of experience, Nathan Woodcock, can assist you with all of your notary needs. 

You can arrange to meet him at one of our offices in either London, Manchester, or Sheffield.

Alternatively, you can use our mobile notary services to arrange an appointment for a suitable time at a place that is convenient for you, whether this be at home, an office or somewhere else. 

Additionally, we can help you with the processes of embassy legalisation and getting an apostille from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). We offer a standard service and a fast-track service to get you an apostille during a time-scale that suits you the best. Please note the time it takes for your documents to be issued with an apostille by the FCDO can vary based on the time of year.

Get in touch with us today to arrange for your Animal Health Certificate to be notarised. 


If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 (free to call) or email

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 (free to call) or email