If you’re looking to buy a holiday home in France, you may wish to take your furry friend with you when you visit. However, how have the requirements changed post-Brexit? After some confusion, the French government has now outlined the rules.
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Before Brexit, an EU pet passport would be your pet’s ticket into Europe. This was a simple and hassle-free way to take your pet on holiday. However, since Brexit, this has changed.
Confusion over the rules for pets were fuelled when some French vets began issuing French pet passports to second-home owners, as they just asked for proof of address. However, the government has since clarified that this is not permitted.
Instead, your pet will need an Animal Health Certificate to travel to the EU as a second-home owner. Unless you are a UK national who already lives in France, you EU pet passport is no longer valid.
How do I get an Animal Health Certificate?
A new ACH is required for each trip you make to France. An Animal Health Certificate should be issued by your vet no more than 10 days before you travel and is valid if your pet is travelling within 5 days of your own journey.
You will need to confirm that your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel to get the certificate, which has to signed off by an ‘official veterinarian’ (OV). Proof of your pet’s microchipping history and vaccination record will also need to be provided.
According to the Royal Veterinary College, the Animal Health Certificate costs £180, however, this price can vary. The certificate is valid for entry to the EU for just 10 days.
If your pet is travelling more than 5 days before or after your journey, it will need an Export Health Certificate instead.
What if I am planning to stay in France for more than 3 months?
If you are a second-home owner, you can only stay in France for up to 90 days in every 180 days without a visa.
However, if you are planning to move to France permanently or acquire a visa to stay longer, you will need to ask a French vet to issue you a French pet passport. To do this, your pet will need to be registered on the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD) database.
Ensure you are prepared
UK veterinary associations have recently reported delays in issuing Animal Health Certificates due to increased demand, with many people starting to travel again since the pandemic. Make sure to book an appointment with your vet in advance to ensure you receive your certificate within the 10-day window of travel.