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United Kingdom > Moving

United Kingdom

How To Bring Your Pets Into The UK

Published Wednesday September 26, 2018 (14:50:29)


Moving from one country to another can be stressful. Therefore, having everything neatly ordered is a must. Between finding a place to call your own in an exciting new country, to getting your belongings packed and ready to be sent to your new home, there are so many steps you must take to make your transition as smooth as possible. Such a move can be hard enough for you and your family, but what if your furry, feathery or even cold-blooded loved ones are moving with you?

The rules and regulations regarding traveling with your four-legged friends will depend on the type of animal you are intending to bring, where you are travelling from and any conditions that may be set by your country of choice concerning the transportation, vaccinations and documentation for the proposed animals.

This article will look at the rules and regulations for bringing pets into the UK, which are also outlined here.

Planes, Trains, Boats And Automobiles

There are many ways for you to travel to the UK with your pets; always check with your transport provider for conditions concerning traveling with your animals. You may bring up to five animals into the UK at any one time. If you are intending to travel with more than five creatures, permission must be obtained and may be granted, but this will only be if you are attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event. More information about this can be found here.

Most animal owners like to travel at the same time as their faithful companions, but this is not always possible. If you are unable to travel at the same time, the UK insists that all animals arrive no more than five days before or after you. If this is impossible, you will be subject to a different set of rules and regulations.

An approved transport company and animal route must be used when planning your trip to the UK unless you are travelling between Ireland and the UK. A list of these companies can be found here. You will also need to complete a form declaring that you have no intention of selling your pet or transferring their ownership to someone else.

Assistance dogs are subject to slightly different travelling rules, and more routes are available when considering your transport choices in this situation.

Now you have the transportation and route arranged, it’s time to concentrate on what you need so your animal can enter the UK without having to spend up to four months in quarantine. All dogs, cats, ferrets and horses must be microchipped, have a pet passport or veterinary certificate of health and be vaccinated against rabies. A blood test will also be required if you are entering the UK from an unlisted country. All dogs must be treated for tapeworm.

If these rules are not followed, your animal will face up to four months in quarantine or be refused entry if travelling by boat. All fees accrued will be expected to be paid for by you.

Pet Passports, Veterinary Certificates And Vaccinations

I remember as a child coming back from Dubai to the UK with my mother and our beautiful Airedale dog, Charlie. The poor boy had to be put into quarantine for months and my mum used to spend hours at the kennels reading to him so he wasn’t lonely; these were some of the longest weeks of our lives. Happily for animal lovers, those days are over!

Nowadays, your dogs, cats, ferrets and horses need to have a passport from either an EU country or another country UK approved country. A list of these countries can be found here. If you are unable to obtain a pet passport, you will have to provide a third-country official veterinary certificate showing the animal’s current health, up-to-date vaccination records, microchip number, owner contact details and any special markings. This is the same information that can be found in the pet passport. All pet documents must be originals and not photocopies.

Rodents, rabbits, birds, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles have no such restrictions as long as they are entering the UK from other EU countries. Such animals entering the UK from outside the EU will still be required to spend four months in quarantine and will need a rabies import licence.

In order to get a pet passport or veterinary certificate, your dog, cat or ferret must be microchipped, fully vaccinated and have had a recent rabies vaccination. This must be an inactivated vaccine or recombinant vaccine that is approved in your home country. If you are traveling from a high-risk area, a blood test and a rabies Titer Test may be required.

A period of 21 days must be observed between your animal receiving the rabies vaccination and its arrival in the UK. If you are travelling to the UK from an unlisted country, you will need to adhere to certain rules after having your pet vaccinated. Pet passports are normally available through your usual vet.

If you’ve arrived in the UK with your pet passport or veterinary certificate, up-to-date vaccination documents and microchip number at the ready, all you need to do now is to collect your precious cargo from the travel company or airport. Staff there will scan your pet’s microchip and check your documents before reuniting you with your bundle of joy.

If you are entering the UK from outside the EU, you will only be able to collect your animal once it has been brought through customs. You can usually arrange for an agent, travel company or airline to do this for you. If you are unable to do this, please contact customs in the area you will be arriving at in the UK. If you require more information you can ask the National Clearance Hub at

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