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Pet passports: Second-home owners in France left ‘upset’ by stalemate

They say the UK government is not doing enough to push the EU to recognise a British pet passport which would be easier and cheaper for pet owners

Dog getting into car with suitcase

British vet must issue ‘animal health certificate’, valid for four months, for each trip, costing about €150 Pic: ako photography / Shutterstock

Many British visitors and second-home owners in France hold out hope that the UK might once again be allowed to issue EU-recognised pet passports – but how likely is this?

Since 2021 and the end of the Brexit transition period, British pet passports are no longer recognised in the EU. 

UK pet check needed every four months

The UK had hopes of being designated as a ‘Part 1’ listed third (non-EU) country for pet travel purposes, which would have meant it could issue new British pet passports recognised by the EU.

Instead, the European Com­mission classed it as ‘Part 2’, meaning pet owners need to go to a British vet for an ‘animal health certificate’, valid for four months, each time they wish to travel, at a cost of around €150.

UK does not meet ‘EU animal health legislation’

The European Commission told The Connexion at the time that Part 1 listing was only for countries that fully apply EU animal health legislation, such as Switzerland and Norway, and it is a kind of ‘Schengen for pets’.

Despite this, UK government sources say Britain continues to seek Part 1 listing, believing it meets the criteria due to its rigorous pet-checking regime.

An EU spokeswoman had no comment as to whether the EU is open to a review of the UK’s status. 

She reiterated that Part 1 listing is for countries which “dynamically apply EU animal health legislation” and “the UK still does not [do this]”.

Pet owners lobby UK parliament

Chris Slade, 74, from Sussex, who has a second home in Brittany, has been petitioning for the UK government formally to negotiate with the EU.

He said he is “enormously sceptical” that anything is actively being done. “They have the ability but not the will.” 

Chris Slade (with dog Rudy)

Chris Slade (with dog Rudy) wants British pet passports restored Photo: Chris Slade

He said a recent MPs’ debate on pet travel – in Westminster Hall, for general debate without a vote on a bill – had left it “kicked it into the long grass”, although he said two (SNP and Labour) backbenchers had urged the Defra minister of agriculture to “get behind negotiations with the EU”.

He has submitted his own petition on this to the Defra minister, which is still open and is now nearing 15,000 signatures. 

Mr Slade said that some second-home owners have managed to obtain EU pet passports from French vets, but many other visitors to France, including those using mobile homes, remain upset about the much-increased costs.

I-CAD register only for stays over three months

I-CAD, an agency of the French Agriculture Ministry, has said holders of (defunct) UK pet passports or other UK owners wanting a French pet passport must first ensure the animal is registered on its database, which can be done by a vet.

Read more: What is I-CAD? France’s pet database explained

Read more: How to get a French EU pet passport as a British second-home owner

I-CAD also said UK pets can only be registered if they and their owner are staying for more than three months – the maximum for Britons to visit without a visa. 

Under French law, anyone moving long-term to France from another country for more than three months is obliged to register their pet with I-CAD.

Visitors on long stay visa must register pets on I-CAD

One vet from Normandy confirmed that I-CAD registration is required for a pet passport and these would usually be for residents only, but he said if a person gives a French address, they do not necessarily ask questions about residency rights.

We note, however, that second-home owners who visit France on temporary long-stay visas for up to six months fall outside the ‘three-month’ restriction, and in theory are actually obliged to register their pets.

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