United Kingdom

1. Overview

You must meet the entry requirements for your pet dog, cat or ferret for the country you’re going to or coming from.

You’re responsible for any fees or charges for your pet if you don’t meet the entry requirements.

Enter the UK from the EU or a listed country

When you enter or return to the UK from another EU or non-EU listed country your pet needs to meet the entry requirements. These include:

You must also use an authorised carrier and an approved route unless you’re travelling between the UK and the Republic of Ireland (all other rules still apply).

You must wait 21 days from the date of the rabies vaccination before travelling.

Enter the UK from an unlisted country

An ‘unlisted’ country is any country not included in the list of EU and non-EU countries.

When you enter or return to the UK from an unlisted country, your pet needs to meet the entry requirements. These include:

You must wait 3 calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before travelling. The vet must give you a copy of the test results. These must show that the vaccination was successful.

You don’t have to wait 3 months if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to an unlisted country.

You must also use an authorised carrier and an approved route.

Guide dogs and other assistance dogs

The rules for assistance dogs travelling under the EU pet travel scheme are the same as for other dogs.

However assistance dogs can:

  • travel on more routes than people with pets
  • normally travel in areas on other forms of transport where other animals aren’t allowed
  • travel in the aircraft cabin with their owner on approved routes and carriers registered to carry assistance dogs

The Guide Dogs Association website has advice about taking assistance dogs abroad.

When you return to the UK

Staff from the travel company will scan your pet’s microchip and check your documents.

Your pet will be put into quarantine or sent back to the country it travelled from if:

  • you don’t have the correct documents
  • your pet hasn’t been properly prepared for travel

You’re responsible for the costs of quarantine or the re-export of your pet.

Other types of pet

There are no restrictions on bringing pet rodents, rabbits, birds, ornamental fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles to the UK from other EU countries.

Pet rabbits and rodents from countries outside the EU must spend 4 months in quarantine. They need a rabies import licence.

Contact the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) for more information on the rules for travelling with these or other species of pet.

2. Microchip

Your pet must be microchipped before it’s vaccinated against rabies. The vaccination won’t count for travel if your pet isn’t microchipped first.

Make sure your vet records the number of the microchip on the pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate.

Transport companies in the EU can read microchips that meet International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 when you check in for your journey.

You must bring your own microchip reader when you travel if your pet’s microchip doesn’t meet ISO standards.

The microchip can’t be read or sometimes can’t be read

Your vet should try to read the microchip – if they get a reading they can then re-chip your pet (the original chip isn’t removed). This must be recorded in the pet passport.

You’ll have to fully re-prepare your pet for travel if your vet can’t read the microchip. You’ll also have to re-chip your pet and get a new pet passport.

Your pet could be refused entry or quarantined if its microchip can’t be read when you return to the UK.

Tattoo

You don’t need to have your pet microchipped if it’s been tattooed with an identification number and all of the following are true:

  • your pet was tattooed on or before 3 July 2011
  • the tattoo is clearly legible
  • your pet was vaccinated against rabies after it was tattooed

Your vet must record the date of tattooing, the tattoo number and the date of the rabies vaccination in the pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate.

3. Rabies vaccination, boosters and blood tests

You must get your dog, cat or ferret vaccinated against rabies before it can travel to another EU country or back into the UK.

Get your pet microchipped before the rabies vaccination or they’ll need to be vaccinated again.

Most vaccines can only be used on animals over 3 months old.

EU and listed countries

You must wait 21 days after the vaccination (or the last of the primary course of vaccinations) before your pet can enter another EU or non-EU listed country.

This is because your pet isn’t protected against rabies until 21 days after its rabies vaccination. The day of vaccination counts as day 0 not day 1, eg if you have your pet vaccinated on the 1st of the month the earliest it can travel is the 22nd.

After the first vaccination and waiting period, you can enter the UK whenever you like as long as booster vaccinations are given on time and you continue to meet the other entry requirements.

Unlisted countries

The following rules must be followed:

  • your pet must have a blood test 30 days after the rabies vaccination (the date of the vaccination counts as day 0, not day 1)
  • your vet must send the the blood test to an EU approved blood testing laboratory
  • you must wait 3 calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before you travel
  • the results of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful
  • your vet must give you a copy of the test results

You don’t have to wait 3 months if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to an unlisted country.

Booster vaccinations

You must get regular booster vaccinations for your pet before they’re due. Check the ‘valid until’ date in the relevant section of the pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate to find out when the booster vaccination is due.

If you miss the booster

Your pet will need to be pet vaccinated again and 1 of the following will apply:

  • if you’re travelling from the EU or a listed country you’ll have to wait 21 days before entering the UK (the day of vaccination counts as day 0 not day 1)
  • if you’re travelling from an unlisted country your pet will need to get a blood test and then wait 3 months before entering the UK

Living abroad

You must follow the rules for getting your pet vaccinated for the country you’re in.

Your pet must meet all the EU pet travel rules to re-enter the UK if you’ve lived abroad.

Vaccination record

Check that your vet has recorded the vaccination in your pet’s passport or third country official veterinary certificate. The vaccination record must show:

  • your pet’s date of birth and age
  • microchip number, date it was put in and where it is on your pet’s body
  • vaccination date
  • vaccine product name, eg Nobivac
  • vaccine batch number
  • date the vaccination is valid until

Your pet can be stopped from travelling if the details in their record are in the wrong place.

4. Pet passport and other documents

Your dog, cat or ferret must have a pet passport to enter or re-enter the UK or the EU. It must have been issued in the UK or EU.

You’ll need a third country official veterinary certificate if you’re entering the UK or EU and don’t have a pet passport issued in the EU. It will be valid for 4 months.

Pet passport

Ask your vet for a pet passport if you’ll be travelling:

  • within the EU
  • from the EU to a listed country and then returning to the EU
  • from the EU to an unlisted country and then returning to the EU

The passport stays valid as long as you continue to meet the entry requirements.

You’ll need to also get a ‘fit and healthy to travel certificate’ if you’re travelling with more than 5 pets.

Third country official veterinary certificate

To enter or return to the EU from an unlisted country you’ll need:

  • a third country official veterinary certificate
  • additional third country official veterinary certificates if you’re travelling with more than 5 pets
  • any other supporting documents listed on the third country official veterinary certificate

You must arrive in an EU country within 10 days of the certificate being issued. It is valid for 4 months from the day it was issued.

Any other health certificates aren’t valid and your pet won’t be allowed to enter the EU.

Exchanging the certificate for a pet passport

The certificate will have to be exchanged for an EU pet passport if:

  • it expires while your pet’s in the EU
  • your pet is due a rabies booster vaccination while it’s in the EU

You’ll have to give the vet:

  • the certificate
  • your pet’s identity and vaccination record
  • the blood test result

Travel with more than 5 pets

You must get a ‘fit and healthy to travel certificate’ for each group of more than 5 pets you want to travel with. You get this from the country you’re coming from.

You must do this at least 10 days before you want to travel.

You need this certificate in addition to the other rules for pet travel for the countries you’re travelling to and from.

This rule is for travelling with your own pets. There are different rules if the animals are being sold or re-homed.

Other documents

Your transport company may need a statement from your vet confirming that your pet is fit to travel.

Cats from Australia

To bring a cat into the UK from Australia, you must have an Australian Veterinary Authorities’ certificate confirming your cat hasn’t been on a holding where Hendra virus was present in the 60 days before you left.

Dogs and cats from Malaysia

To bring your dog or cat into the UK from Malaysia, you must have a certificate from the Malaysian government veterinary health services which shows that your pet:

  • hasn’t had contact with pigs in the 60 days before you left
  • hasn’t been on a holding where Nipah disease has been found in the 60 days before you left
  • has a negative blood test result for Nipah virus antibody – this must be done in a laboratory approved for Nipah virus testing no more than 10 days before you leave

Check with the country you’re travelling to for information about any extra documents you’ll need to enter with your pet.

5. Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)

Your vet must treat your dog for tapeworm and record it in the pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate every time you want to enter the UK.

You don’t need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re coming directly to the UK from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway.

The treatment must have been given within 1 and 5 days (between 24 and 120 hours) before you’re scheduled to enter the UK.

Your pet can be refused entry into the UK or put into quarantine if the treatment hasn’t been given between 24 and 120 hours.

Your vet must record the following details in the ‘Echinococcus treatment’ section of your dog’s pet passport or certificate:

  • the name and manufacturer of the product used to treat your dog
  • the date and time they treated your dog
  • their stamp and signature

The treatment must have praziquantel or an equivalent as its active ingredient.

Day trips

Your pet must be treated before you leave the UK. To return to the UK, the treatment must have been given within 24 and 120 hours by the time you re-enter the UK.

You should give another treatment within 28 days of returning to the UK.

6. Quarantine

Your pet will be put into quarantine when it arrives in the UK if doesn’t meet the entry requirements.

You will have to pay for:

  • the transport costs for your pet
  • the quarantine charges for your pet

Arrange quarantine in advance

You can arrange where your pet will stay in quarantine if you’re entering the UK and know that your pet won’t meet the entry requirements.

You’ll need to book quarantine premises.

The quarantine premises will normally deal with all documentation on your behalf. They should:

  • submit an application form for an import licence
  • arrange to collect your pet when they land
  • organise clearance through customs
  • arrange transport for your pet to the quarantine premises

Check when making the reservation.

If they don’t do these things, you’ll need to do them yourself.

Read detailed guidance on quarantine or contact the pet travel scheme helpline for advice.

Release from quarantine

Your pet will become eligible for release when it meets the entry requirements.

The veterinary superintendent or quarantine kennel owner will tell you when your pet will be released from quarantine.

7. Contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline

Contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline for more information.

Pet Travel Scheme helpline
pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0370 241 1710
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays)

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Official web site:

//www.gov.uk/