The Government has warned that pet passports could take four months to be processed if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal this October.
As a result, the RSPCA is strongly recommending that pet owners start their applications now, to avoid being turned back at the border when travelling to the EU later this year with their cat or dog.
Once the UK leaves the EU, current pet passports will not be valid for travel to Europe and a new type of passport will have to be applied for. However, if the UK is no longer recognised by the EU as a ‘trusted country’, essential checks such as rabies testing could take an additional three months to complete, meaning there could be a four month wait for pet passports to be processed.
David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “Anyone who plans to travel with their dog or cat after the end of October 2019 should be talking to their vet right now.
“For the past 15 years, it has been very simple to take a pet abroad, but many pet owners don’t realise just how lengthy and complex the process could now become if we leave the EU without a deal.
“Getting the necessary travel documentation for pets could take much longer than at present – up to four months. And without the right paperwork, pets and their owners’ risk being delayed or even turned back at borders. Additionally, travel with your cat and dog will only be allowed through a small number of designated ports rather than anywhere as is the case at present.”