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BREXIT

Travel between France and UK: Pet owners warned about four-month waiting period

Pet owners wanting to travel between France and the UK from January are being warned of a four-month waiting period to register dogs, cats and ferrets to travel.

Travel between France and UK: Pet owners warned about four-month waiting period
Don't risk having to leave your pet behind. Photo: AFP

At present we are still in the Brexit transition period during which most travel rules – for both humans and animals – stay the same.

But when the transition period ends on December 31st that will change, and the British government is now warning pet owners that they should begin preparations for travel at least four months in advance.

So if if you want to make a trip in January, you need to begin preparations in September.

At present the EU Pet Passport scheme allows for fairly frictionless travel for four-legged companions but that will no longer apply to the UK once the transition period ends.

From January, the UK needs to become a listed country in order to keep restrictions on pet travel light.

But with just five months to go this has not been agreed, and the UK still needs to thrash out a raft of other agreements with the EU, as well as the small matter of a trade deal.

The UK government's Brexit web page is therefore now telling pet owners: “From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead you’ll need to follow a different process, which takes 4 months.

“To make sure your pet is able to travel from the UK to the EU from 1 January 2021, you should contact your vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.”

The latest British government advice. Find more information on the UK government page here.

If the UK does not become listed before January 1st 2021, this is what will happen.


The Pet Passport is an EU scheme. Photo: AFP

Going from the UK to the EU

1. Firstly if your dog, cat or ferret is not already, it needs to be microchipped.

2. Your pet then needs to have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its most recent rabies vaccination (whether that is a vaccination or a booster).

3. Your vet then needs to send the blood sample to an EU approved blood testing laboratory (of which there are only two in the UK) which will check that your pet has the correct level of rabies antibodies in its blood. If the level is not high enough, then your pet will need a booster vaccine.

4. You cannot travel until three months after a successful rabies test.

5. When you get to within 10 days of your travel date, you then need to get an animal health certificate from your vet. To get the certificate you will need to provide; proof that your pet is microchipped, its vaccination history and the successful rabies antibody test result. The certificate will only be accepted at the border if it has been issued within 10 days of your date of travel.

6. You do not need a new blood test every time you travel, but you will need a new animal health certificate for each trip.


The restrictions apply to cats, dogs and ferrets. Photo: AFP

Going from the EU to the UK

Going the other way is easier, because the UK  has stated that for the moment it will continue to accept Pet Passports. Your Pet Passport and microchip information will be checked at the border.

Tapeworm requirements for dogs will not change from the current system.

Going from the UK to the EU if you live in the EU

Good news for people who are resident in an EU country, as their waiting time for travel after the rabies test is slightly shorter – instead of waiting three months after a successful test they only need to wait 30 days, as long as the test is carried out in an EU country.

If you don't have the correct paperwork your pet could be put into quarantine for up to four months or they might be refused entry if you travelled by sea, and you will be held responsible for any fees or charges.

The above rules apply for all unlisted countries, which the UK will become automatically if an arrangement it not reached before December 31st. If the UK does gain listed status, the restrictions are lighter and the waiting times after rabies tests are generally shorter.

There are full details on the UK government site here, or there is a helpline on 0370 241 1710 which is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm (UK time) except on bank holidays.

For this and all other information on life in France after Brexit, head to our Preparing for Brexit section.

 

 

 

 

Member comments

  1. I have European family who live in Europe and we never thought the EU would work.It was promoted as free movement and the same monetary system (except for England) so the people bought it. It is just a way to create a one world system just as the powers that be are trying to do with Latin American, The US, and Canada. There are too many different cultures with a history of war and they are expected to agree on everything. Not happening. I do find it interesting as to how many people from England who don’t want to live in their own country. I have travelled Europe before the EU and after many times and i liked the way it was before. And for many reasons. All the best .

  2. never could understand the “thinking” behind even having a vote but we shall see
    don’t think it’s going to be plain sailing either side of la manche for a long time, if i shot everybody i disagreed with , would only be me left in a week

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BREXIT

Is new court ruling the end for Britons fighting to remain EU citizens?

The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed on Thursday that Brexit really does mean that Britons are no longer EU citizens. Claudia Delpero looks at whether there's any other way they can keep their rights.

Is new court ruling the end for Britons fighting to remain EU citizens?

The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed on Thursday that Britons lost EU citizenship when the UK left the EU, on 1st February 2020. 

It is the first time the EU’s top court has rules on the matter, after a number of legal cases challenged this specific Brexit outcome. The decision also sets a precedent should other countries decide to leave the bloc in the future. 

What has the EU Court decided?

The Court of Justice decided on a case brought by a British woman living in France.

Before Brexit, she could vote and stand as a candidate in her town of residence, Thoux. But after the UK withdrawal from the EU, she was removed from the electoral roll and excluded from the municipal elections that took place in March 2020, during the transition period.  

As the mayor refused her appeal to restore the registration, she took the case to the regional court in Auch, which agreed to request an interpretation of the rules to the EU top court. 

Julien Fouchet, the barrister supporting her and several other cases on the EU citizenship of British nationals, argued that the loss of EU citizenship and voting rights was disproportionate. It would also be contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, given that the woman also lost her voting rights in the UK, having lived abroad for more than 15 years.

Alice Bouillez, who has lived in France since 1984 and is married to a French national, could have applied for French citizenship, but did not do so because she said “this was not necessary” before Brexit and, as a former UK official, she had taken an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

On Thursday the Court of Justice announced the decision about her case. The court ruled that the “possession of the nationality of a member state is an essential condition for a person to be able to acquire and retain the status of citizen of the Union and to benefit fully from the rights attaching to that status.”

The court therefore confirmed that British nationals automatically lost their EU citizenship as a result of Brexit and, as a consequence, Britons also lost their voting and electoral rights in municipal elections in the EU (unless the country where they live set different rules). 

What is EU citizenship?

EU citizenship was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht of 1992, when borders were opening and the bloc was integrating economically after the end of the Cold War. 

Under the treaty, every person holding the nationality of an EU member state is a citizen of the Union. EU citizenship is additional and does not replace nationality, the treaty specifies. But this creates the first form of a transnational citizenship that grants rights across borders.

EU citizens have the right to access each other’s territory, job market and services under the principle of non-discrimination. If they are economically active, they have the right to reside in other EU states and be joined by family members, access healthcare at the same conditions of nationals (for emergency treatment also when travelling temporarily), obtain social security benefits and see their professional qualifications recognised.

Beyond free movement, at the core of EU citizenship there are also political rights, such as participating in the European Parliament election, voting and standing as candidates in municipal elections when living in other EU countries, receiving consular protection from other EU states outside the EU, and taking part in European Citizens’ Initiatives asking to the EU to legislate on certain matters. 

Which EU citizenship rights have Britons lost with Brexit? 

For British citizens who were living in the EU before Brexit, the Withdrawal Agreement protects some of these rights. Britons covered by deal have their residence, access to work and education, healthcare, social security and qualifications secured, but only in the country where they were living before Brexit.

But the right to free movement in other EU states, consular protection in third countries, and the political rights attached to EU citizenship were lost, the Court confirmed. 

For British citizens in the UK, the trade and cooperation agreement has preserved some social security rights and, in theory, the possibility to have professional qualifications recognized when moving to an EU country. These provisions however lack details and may take a long time before they work in practice. 

As the “European Union” no longer features on British passports, the possibility to access EU lanes at airports to skip passport control queues has also vanished. 

“The loss of those treasured rights has been clear to those of us living in the EU from the early days of Brexit. But for Brits in the UK, the realities of life outside the EU, and the consequences of Brexit, are only just dawning. Long queues at the borders, roaming charges, obstacles to working abroad, etc. are the new reality,” said Sue Wilson, Chair of the group Remain in Spain. 

While she said the court’s decision was “no real surprise,” she argued that “this is not the Brexit the public were promised, or that the majority voted for.”

Can British citizens get some of these rights back?

Julien Fouchet was disappointed at the Court decision and promised to continue the legal fight, bringing the case at the European Court of Human Rights (which is not an EU institution). 

Other two cases on the matter of EU citizenship for British nationals are still pending at the Court of Justice of the EU. One of them aims to determine whether EU citizenship is a “fundamental status” that cannot be removed but Thursday’s decision could have already provided the answer.

Another option to reconsider some of the rights is the renegotiation of EU-UK trade agreement, when it will be reviewed in 2025. 

Meanwhile, the EU is revising the rules for non-EU citizens living in EU countries on a long-term basis, making it easier to move across borders. 

Applying for citizenship is so far the only option to regain voting rights, although not all EU countries allow dual nationality. 

Sue Wilson, who has long campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU, said: “There is only one way to restore the loss of our rights, and that’s to rejoin the single market, rejoin the customs union, and eventually, rejoin the European Union… Until that day, we will continue to be second class citizens whose rights have been diminished for the sake of an ideology.”

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