taking pets from the UK to Spain

Everything you need to know about taking pets from the UK to Spain

When planning a move to Spain, most families understandably want to take their beloved pets with them. When we moved in 2019 it was fairly easy to bring our cat with us – a few jabs and a pet passport and he was ok to travel.

Post-Brexit however, taking pets from the UK to Spain is more difficult and will take both more planning and more money. Moving to Spain with dogs or cats is still possible, as long as you understand the requirements.

Below we’ve detailed some of the things you need to know about taking pets from the UK to Spain. (For the purposes of this advice, the government considers a pet to be a dog, cat or ferret.)

If you are moving to Spain with a dog, cat or ferret make sure you also know the law for having a pet in Spain as some rules could be different in UK and in Spain. ​

Can I still bring my pet to Spain?

The short answer is yes, you can still bring your pet from UK to Spain.

However, you can no longer use a pet passport issued in Great Britain (England, Wales or Scotland) for travel to Spain or any other EU country. You can still use a pet passport if it was issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland.

If you don’t have an EU pet passport you can travel with your pet on an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) – see more below.

What does my pet need to travel to Spain?

To travel from the UK to Spain, your pet will need the following:

  • a microchip
  • a valid rabies vaccination
  • an animal health certificate (AHC) if your pet is travelling within 5 days of your own journey (unless you have a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland)
  • an export health certificate (EHC) if your pet is travelling more than 5 days before or after your own journey

You must get your pet microchipped before, or at the same time as, their rabies vaccination. If you don’t they’ll need to be vaccinated again.

Animals must be at least 12 weeks old to be vaccinated and you must wait 21 days after the vaccination before travelling.

What is an Animal Health Certificate?

Taking pets abroad within the EU requires an Animal Health Certificate. The Animal Health Certificate (AHC) confirms that your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

You’ll need to get a new certificate for your pet each time you travel to an EU country and you must obtain it within 10 days of the date you travel.

The certificate will be issued by your vet and is valid for four months, for a single trip into the EU, onward travel within the EU, and for re-entry to Great Britain.

What are the transport options for travelling to Spain with a dog or cat?

There are a few ways you can travel to Spain with your pet…

Fly – Some airlines allow you to fly with your pet, whether in the cabin or putting them in the hold. However, none of the budget airlines offer this so you will need to book a flight on one of the bigger airlines such as British Airways. Taking pets on flights can be quite stressful if you think they won’t be a calm flyer, to make sure you think this through carefully.

Drive – You can take your dog or cat to Spain by car and are allowed to take pets on the ferry. This is cheaper than flying but depending where in Spain you are travelling to it can take a long time.

Use pet transport – Another option for bringing pets to Spain is to use a pet transport service. There are companies who do regular trips from the UK to Spain and will have a van with cages to accommodate cats and dogs. This can be easier than taking them yourself, just make sure you ask questions about rest stops and feeding.

What do I need to do when I arrive in Spain with my pet?

When you arrive at a Spanish airport or port, you’ll need to go through a travellers’ point of entry. Here you’ll need to show your pet’s animal health certificate along with proof of their microchip and rabies vaccination.

I live in Spain, can I take my pet back to the UK?

If you live in Spain and have a pet passport that was issued in Spain or another EU country, you’ll be able to use it to take your pet back to the UK after Brexit.

You will also be able to return to Spain with the EU-issued pet passport.

Where can I get an EU pet passport?

Once you are in the EU, how to get an EU Pet Passport is easy as you can get one from any authorised vet. This is useful if you plan to travel with your pet between EU countries and for future travel to the EU.

Visit this website for full details on EU pet passport requirements.

If you are using a pet passport issued in the UK, it’s advisable to speak to your vet before you travel to make sure you’re compliant with EU rules.

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  1. Hi I have been told that post Brexit Alicante airport doesn’t have the facilities to check pets coming from the UK my cat has an eu passport and I am a Spanish resident. Could I fly to an airport in Spain where entry is possible, then take a connecting flight to Alicante. Eg are there facilities in Madrid and Barcelona airports?
    Are pets allowed on Spanish trains such as the AVE.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Michele, I’m afraid I have no idea – this is just a personal blog so I don’t have any access to official information. I would recommend contacting the airports/airlines directly.

    2. Hi, there are facilities in Madrid. They will let you get your dog into the AVE/train but make sure you select the appropiate option as you might need to pay ban extra for the dog, etc.

  2. My friend and I want to travel to Spain for 3months we have 3 small dogs very well behaved so if anyone can help please thanks

    1. Hi Sandra, I’m not sure what you need help with but this is just a personal blog. We share helpful info for those moving to or traveling to Spain, but we aren’t a company. If you want to let us know what exactly you need help with we might be able to point you in the right direction.

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