Taking a British Pet on Holiday to Croatia in a Post-Brexit World

Total Croatia News

Updated on:

Dogs with dual nationality

Pet-friendly hotels and holiday lets are amongst the most popular online searches. In 2019 Forbes published an article that said: Over two million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States, more than four million worldwide, according to the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. United alone transported 138,000 animals in 2017.”

In the UK, we have all become used to taking our pets on holiday, especially to France or other EU countries, with ease. This became even simpler after 1st October 2001, when the EU introduced the Pet Passport (PETS scheme), under which animals from any member country could freely travel to any other member country.

With the arrival of the summer holidays, more and more stories have started to appear around the difficulties people are having crossing the French/UK border. So, what’s changed?

Invalid pet passports

You can no longer use a pet passport issued in Great Britain for travel to an EU country or Northern Ireland. On the other hand, you can still use a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland to travel within the EU or to come to the UK.

My friends who travel frequently to their holiday home in France have both a French and GB pet passport for their dog. Yes, pets are getting dual nationality. They also noticed that taking your pet on holiday has become a lot more expensive. Earlier this year they paid £173 to take their pet dog on holiday with them.

However, if your pet does not have dual nationality and you want to take it on holiday there is a workaround, as long as they have the following:

  • a microchip
  • a valid rabies vaccination
  • an animal health certificate
  • tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta

These requirements also apply to assistance dogs. In addition, you must need to ensure that you go through one of the approved points of entry on arrival.

Putting pet travel into practice

Last year we travelled from the UK to Croatia with our adorable labradoodle, Buddy. Initially, we wanted to fly, and we found that we could do so with Croatia Airlines – the only airline offering the service.

However, there’s a catch. Croatian Airlines transports animals from the UK to Croatia, but they don’t transport animals on flights from Croatia to the UK. So, you can fly your pet on holiday, but you can’t take them back home.

Many people travelling from the UK to Croatia opt to use the pet taxi service or ask a family member to transport their pets for them. Here is where you run into the second post Brexit change. At the French border, some people are being told this is no longer allowed and owners must now travel with their pets.

Is this a change of rules, or Border Officials simply misunderstanding the changes?

What are the new rules?

EU guidance on pet travel is very clear. As a rule, pets should travel with their owners. However, the owner may give written permission to another person to accompany their pet on their behalf. The owner must be reunited with their pet within five days of its relocation.

Yes, Border Officials simply misunderstood the rules.

Adopting a pet

It is not only the French officials who are misunderstanding the new rules.

Last year a friend of mine adopted a rescue dog in Croatia. She contacted DEFRA for advice and guidance. As with the French Border Officials, DEFRA does not always give correct advice.

In this instance, they classified the dogs under the same rule as moving cattle and sheep. This legislation is relevant only to businesses moving a large number of dogs for commercial reasons, and not for the movement of a single pet.

So, we contacted DEFRA on her behalf and got to speak to an official who had access to the right guidance.

In summary, if you are adopting a pet from an EU country:

  • your pet needs to have an EU pet passport, be microchipped and have all relevant vaccinations
  • pet details need to be entered onto the IPAFFS system to obtain a UNN (unique identification number). The IPAFFS system is used to notify enforcement authorities about the import of live animals into Great Britain
  • if you are not traveling with your pet, you must give your friend a letter or authority or use a registered pet transport carrier
  • you need to complete a written declaration stating that pet’s relocation is for non-commercial reasons.

With all of that in mind, our little dog had a bag full of paperwork to accompany him on the journey to the UK. He arrived in London safe and well and is living happily with his new owners.

In summary, taking your pet on holiday is still possible, but you need to plan, plan, plan and be prepared for higher costs.

If you are planning to travel with your pet, make sure you know the rules. Even better, reach out to an expert who can help. The rules are very new and even those who should know are still learning!


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment