Exporting Your Animal Health Certificate Problems

Exporting Your Animal Health Certificate Problems

Understandably, whenever a familiar veterinary procedure changes, the Society's claims consultants prepare for a flurry of claims until the profession gets up to speed with the new protocol.

As soon as it was announced the PETS scheme was to be replaced with Animal Health Certificate (AHC) post-Brexit, we were ready, up bright and early on 01 January 2021, waiting for a steady stream of claims associated with their completion.

Initially, COVID-19 restrictions reduced travel dramatically, so the expected increase was not immediately seen, but now the perfect storm of our Members under considerable work pressure due to the pandemic, a UK population desperate to finally escape to travel the world, increasingly observant EU border officials and a longwinded AHC certificate, with arguably less than clear accompanying guidance, has led to a flood of claims over the summer, hitting the heights of 3-4 per day at one stage.

Recognising the current situation may only be the tip of a melting iceberg as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, we've listed the most common errors relating to claims we have handled to date. Forewarned is forearmed of course, so although this is undoubtedly not an exhaustive list of the difficulties members may come across, the following summary provides the typical background to claims handling by the Society in more recent times.

  • Recording a date for the implantation or reading of the microchip transponder that post-dates the administration of the rabies vaccination. This is by far the most common error.
  • Failure to append to the certificate certified copies of the identification and vaccination documents upon which the OV relied in completing the AHC. It is not enough that your client travels with the original documents. This the second most common error.
  • Failing to number each page ‘X of Y’ and ensure each page bears the unique certificate number.
  • Failing to stamp and sign each page in a different colour from the printer ink.
  • Fan stamping the AHC instead of applying a single OV stamp and initials to each page of the completed document.
  • Simple clerical errors, typically involving transposing numerals in microchip numbers.
  • Incorrectly recording the final destination in the Consignee box (I.5) when the final destination is in a different country to the port of entry. Box I.5 must always state the country via which the client is due to enter the EU.
  • Failing to use Latin names for the species at I.28.
  • Failing to strike out, initial and stamp all alterations and deletions. Note, deleted options in the owner’s declaration should not be stamped and signed by the OV since these are the owner’s selections but this page must be stamped, signed and numbered at its footer as for any other page of the AHC as part of the document sign-off process.
  • Failing to ensure box I.25 is ticked on the final copy to show the animal(s) are pets.
  • Failure to enter the ‘description of commodity’ (pet dog/cat etc) at box I.18 and the quantity of animals at box I.20.
  • GB OVs entering details of rabies vaccinations into EU or NI-issued Pet Passports, thereby invalidating the document for travel.

Although no doubt there are other ways members may come a cropper, we hope by ensuring you do not fall foul of these common pitfalls via a simple checklist, claims will inevitably fall and both pets and their owners will be more likely to enjoy a stress-free break!

VDS members with any questions or concerns about AHC can contact us on +44 (0) 1565 652737

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