Guidance

Pet travel: information for pet owners

Information on pet passports, microchipping, vaccination and routes for people bringing pet dogs, cats or ferrets into the UK.

You can bring your pet dog, cat or ferret into the UK without quarantine as long as it meets the rules of the pet travel scheme. These rules also allow you to take your dog, cat or ferret to other countries and territories and return with them to the UK without the need for quarantine.

If you are looking to bring animals into the UK for sale or re-homing then you will need to comply with the rules governing trade in these animals.

It is important that you comply with these rules; they are in place to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other exotic diseases. The UK has been free from rabies for many years, but because of the existence of the disease in other countries there is a continued need for an effective system to be in place to manage the risk of rabies being introduced by imported animals.

Dogs, cats and ferrets

You are responsible for ensuring your pet meets all the rules for entering the UK under the pet travel scheme. Make sure you have had the procedures carried out in the correct order and that your pet’s documentation is correctly completed. If you do not, your pet may not be able to enter the country or may have to be licensed into quarantine on arrival. This will mean delay and will cost you money.

What you need to do

The information below outlines what preparations your pet will need to enter the UK depending on what country you are travelling from.

If you are entering the UK from the EU or a listed non-EU country your pet must:

If you are entering the UK from an unlisted non-EU country your pet must:

If you are re-entering the UK from an unlisted country with an EU pet passport:

Pets travelling to an unlisted non-EU country that have been identified, microchipped and blood sampled 30 days after vaccination demonstrating a positive titration result before leaving the UK (or another EU country) may re-enter the UK without having to meet the three month waiting period. The vaccination, blood sample and positive titration result must be recorded on the pet passport.

Microchips

Following the Tackling irresponsible dog ownership consultation in April 2012, all dogs will need to be microchipped by 6 April 2016. 

Fitting a microchip

Your pet must be fitted with a microchip to identify it. You can get your pet fitted with a microchip at any time but it must be done before it is vaccinated against rabies. Your vet should read the microchip number in your pet and record it on your pet’s vaccination record at the time of vaccination.

Make sure that the microchip number is also correctly recorded on the EU pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate at the time of issue.

The microchip should be inserted according to the manufacturer’s instructions (and any national rules that may apply). To ensure that the microchip works, its number should be read both before and after it has been fitted. You should also get your vet to read the microchip every time you visit and before you travel.

Type of microchip

We do not specify a particular type or brand of microchip to be used but, in Europe, ISO (International Standards Organisation) Standard microchips meeting specifications 11784 or Annex A of ISO Standard 11785 are generally used.

Microchip reading

ISO Standards are used in Europe, so vets and transport companies who undertake pet travel checks are likely to have only ISO-compatible scanners. If the microchip does not meet either of these ISO Standards, it is your responsibility to ensure that the microchip can be read upon entry to the UK.

This may mean that you will need to provide a microchip reader (at your expense) to allow the chip to be read. Some ports of entry may have equipment capable of reading other types of microchip and you should check this with them before you travel.

If you do not, your animal may be refused entry. It can be licensed into quarantine and released early once it has met all of the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme.

If an appropriate scanner does not read your animal’s microchip at the first attempt, further attempts should be made moving the scanner slowly and thoroughly over the animal. A more powerful scanner should be tried if available.

Updating the microchip database before travelling

If your pet’s microchip number is registered on a database, consider updating its record with your holiday details before you travel. This could help reunite you with your pet should it go missing while on holiday.

Failure of Virbac microchips

Virbac have identified a functionality issue with some microchips supplied before April 2012.

The following chips with these batch numbers need to be replaced:

  • chip numbers with the format 900088000XXXXXX
  • chip numbers up to 900008800259207

Virbac has contacted all of its veterinary surgeon customers with a list of their clients who have received these microchips. It has also written to all of the pet owners that may be affected, advising them to get their pets’ chips checked. If you have not received a letter but think your pet may be affected, speak to your vet.

What to do if the microchip has failed

In the event your vet is unable to scan and read the original microchip, the pet must be re-chipped. If the pet has been previously prepared for travel, then it must be re-prepared in accordance with pet travel rules and a new pet passport issued.

Your vet should note in ‘Section XI. OTHERS’ of the new EU pet passport that there is another microchip present that cannot be scanned and read, in case the fault is intermittent and the chip is picked up at the port when the pet is checked for compliance for entry to the UK.

What to do if the microchip has not failed

We recommend that  a new chip is inserted in case the existing chip fails at some point in the future. The following procedure must be carried out in order to maintain a pet’s compliance:

  1. The original microchip, implanted prior to the initial rabies vaccination, must be scanned and a reading made.
  2. Having gained a reading, a new microchip may then be inserted.
  3. ‘Section XI. OTHERS’ of the EU pet passport may then be annotated by your vet to read (or similar): “On (date), I scanned and read microchip number (original microchip number). Upon gaining this reading, I inserted microchip number (new microchip number) on the same day, in accordance with Defra requirements.”

This statement does not need to be exactly as shown, but the dates of chip readings and the numbers of the chips must be stated and this statement should be signed and stamped by the OV.

Provided this procedure is carried out as stated above, the pet will remain fully compliant with UK entry requirements under EU pet movement rules.

Alternatively, pet owners may choose to fully re-prepare their animal in line with the failed microchip procedures outlined above, and have a new pet passport issued.

Tattoos

All pet dogs, cats and ferrets entering the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme must be identified. This will usually be by microchip.

There is one exception for pets that have been identified by a tattoo which was applied on or before 3 July 2011. If the tattoo is clearly legible, and the tattoo was applied before the pet was vaccinated against rabies, then the pet does not need to be microchipped. The date of tattooing, the tattoo number and vaccination must be recorded in the pet passport or official third country veterinary health certificate.

If a pet cannot be readily identified by a tattoo before it enters the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme, it may be refused entry. It can be licensed into quarantine and released early once it has met all of the requirements of the Scheme.

Vaccination

After the microchip has been fitted your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination.

When to vaccinate

Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the recommendation on the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet. This can be done any time after it has been implanted with a microchip. Before vaccinating your pet, make sure your vet reads its microchip number and enters it on your pet’s vaccination record.

If your pet has been vaccinated against rabies before it was identified by a microchip, it will have to be vaccinated again. This is to make sure that your pet is correctly identified when it is vaccinated.

An approved inactivated vaccine or recombinant vaccine must be used. The vaccine must be approved in the country of use.

21 day wait

From 1 January 2012, there is a wait of 21 days from the date of the first rabies vaccination before a pet can enter or re-enter the UK if you are travelling from an EU or a listed non-EU country. If the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet requires more than one vaccination to complete the primary course of vaccinations, the 21 day wait applies from the date of the final vaccination of that course. It is important to note that the day of vaccination counts as day 0 not day 1. Ask your vet for advice.

A 21 day waiting period is not required for subsequent entries into the UK, provided rabies boosters are kept up to date.

For pets entering the UK from unlisted countries, different rules apply. After your pet has been vaccinated, it must be blood tested to make sure the vaccine has worked and then serve out a 3 month waiting period.

Booster vaccinations

After your pet has been vaccinated, it will need regular booster vaccinations. These must be kept up to date and be given by the “Valid until” date in the relevant section of the EU pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate.

Booster vaccinations are valid for entry to the UK and other EU countries from the date given provided they are given on time (according to the instructions in the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet where the previous vaccination was given).

If the revaccination date is missed your animal will not meet the conditions of the scheme and will have to be vaccinated again and have to wait 21 days before it can move under the scheme.

Vaccination record

When your pet is vaccinated, make sure that your vet has recorded the following details on its vaccination record and passport or third country official veterinary certificate:

  • date of birth and age
  • microchip number, date of insertion and location of the microchip on the animal
  • date of vaccination
  • vaccine product name
  • batch number
  • date its booster vaccination is due (calculated by reference to the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet)

Blood test

A blood test is required for pet dogs, cats and ferrets entering the UK from unlisted third countries.

A blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after the pet is vaccinated against rabies. The vet will then send the sample to an EU approved blood testing laboratories for testing and the laboratory will send the test result back to the vet.

It is important to note that the date of vaccination counts as day 0 not day 1.

A satisfactory blood test result must show the rabies antibody titre was equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml. If the test result is satisfactory, the date the blood sample was taken will be recorded by the vet in the official third country veterinary health certificate and the vet will sign the certificate to show that the pet passed the blood test.

If the blood test is satisfactory, then the pet will be allowed to enter the UK three calendar months after the date the blood sample was taken. Please note that the date of sampling is counted as day 0 and not day 1.

Please note: The three month waiting period will not apply if your pet was first vaccinated and blood tested in the EU and issued with an EU pet passport before it went to an unlisted country. The pet passport must show the date of the blood sample and that the vet has signed it to show that the test result was satisfactory.

Documentation

To bring your dog, cat or ferret into (or back into) the UK, it must be accompanied either by an EU pet passport or a third country official veterinary certificate. The passport or certificate must show that your pet has been microchipped (a tattoo is only acceptable in certain circumstances), vaccinated against rabies and if necessary blood tested. It must also show that your dog has been treated against tapeworm.

Cats coming from Australia must be accompanied by a certificate showing protection against Hendra disease. Cats and dogs coming from the Malaysian Peninsula must be accompanied by a certificate showing protection against Nipah disease.

You are responsible for making sure you have the necessary documentation for your pet to enter the UK. Make sure it is correctly completed and your pet meets all the rules. If your pet does not meet the entry rules, it will not be allowed to enter the UK unless it is licensed into quarantine.

If you are bringing more than five pets with you to the UK, either from Europe or another country, then you will require additional documentation.

Pet passport

How to get an EU pet passport

In Great Britain, a pet passport is issued by an Official Veterinarian (OV). If your veterinary practice does not have a resident OV, your vet will tell you where the nearest one works. Your local Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Office AHVLA can also provide these details.

When you go to get the pet passport, take your pet with you, along with its identity and vaccination record and, if applicable, the blood test result. Your pet will only need a blood test if you are taking it to an unlisted third country and bringing it back to the UK or other EU Member State later. In that case, the blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after your pet was vaccinated

Before you take your pet out of the UK, make sure that the vet has completed sections I-IV of the pet passport, and section V if it has needed a blood test.

Validity of the passport

The passport is valid for entry (or re-entry) to the UK 21 days after your pet was vaccinated against rabies. If 21 days has already passed and your pets vaccinations have been kept up to date, then you can use the passport immediately to travel or return to the UK. The passport will remain valid provided your pet is re-vaccinated by the “valid until” date in section IV.

Replacing the passport

When the passport is full, you should apply to your vet for a new one. Take the old passport and your pet with you.

Third country official veterinary certificate

A new Pet travel: third country certificate (PDF, 1.19MB, 12 pages) became available from 1 January 2012 for the non-commercial movement of up to 5 pets from all third countries into all EU Member States, including the UK. This can be issued by official veterinarians in all third countries. 

There is new certification for three groups of dogs, cats and ferrets entering the EU from third countries:

  • non-commercial movement of up to five pets (Annex 2 certificate)
  • non-commercial movement of more than five pets (Annex 1 certificate)
  • commercial movement from third countries (Annex 1 certificate)

Validity of the certificate

For non-commercial movements, the Annex 1 or Annex 2 certificate is valid for entry into the EU for 10 days from the date of issue and remains valid for a total of four months from the date of issue for further intra-Community travel. The Annex 1 certificate does not apply to all third countries but only those listed in  EU Regulation 998/2003 and  in Part 1 of Annex II of EU Regulation 206/2010.

If your pet is due a rabies revaccination when it is in the EU and before the certificate expires, the certificate cannot be renewed and will have to be exchanged for an EU pet passport.

Changing the certificate for a pet passport

If the certificate expires while you are in the EU, and you wish to continue travelling in the EU with your pet, you will need to exchange it for an EU pet passport. In addition to the certificate, you will need to provide the vet with your pet’s identity and vaccination record and blood test result (if needed).

Parasites (ticks and tapeworms)

Have your pet treated against tapeworms

Tapeworm rules apply to pet dogs only. Not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1 to 5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme, your dog must be treated against tapeworm and the treatment recorded in the EU pet passport or the third country official veterinary certificate.

No treatment is required for dogs entering the UK directly from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway.

Your dog must be treated against the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis using an approved/licensed veterinary medicine whose active ingredient is Praziquantel, or an equivalent product. You should check with your vet to ensure the correct treatment is used.

A qualified vet must carry out and record the treatment in your pet’s passport or third country certificate. You must not administer the treatment yourself. The treatment must be carried out every time your pet enters the UK.

Before leaving the veterinary practice you are advised to check that the following details have been recorded accurately in the EU pet passport or the third country official veterinary certificate:

  • manufacturer and name of product
  • date
  • time
  • stamp and signature

If any of the above details are not clearly and precisely recorded, it would be a deemed a document failure and the carrier would be correct to refuse entry of the pet into the UK.

If, before you enter the UK, less than 24 hours has passed since the treatment, you will have to wait until the full 24 hours have passed before you can enter with your pet. If the treatment was done more than 120 hours before you enter the UK, you will have to have your pet treated again, have the treatment recorded in the relevant document, and wait at least 24 hours before entry. In these circumstances the waiting period and treatment for tapeworm can be carried out in quarantine.

Pets being taken abroad from the UK on day trips will need to have the treatment carried out in the UK not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before they enter the UK on the return journey. In these circumstances, it is recommended that a further treatment should be administered 28 days after return.

Pet owners are reminded that it is considered good practice to regularly treat their animals against a range of ticks and tapeworms as part of their routine health management, especially if travelling abroad. Veterinarians are advised to discuss with their clients the appropriate course of action.

Dog owners should practice good hygiene when handling their animals. The NHS provides public health advice on contact with pets and preventing tapeworm infection.

Why dogs have to be treated for tapeworm

The tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis can cause a serious or fatal liver disease in humans. Symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice, fever and anaemia and tapeworm cysts may develop in the liver. Treatment may involve surgery or lifelong chemotherapy. Without treatment the disease is usually fatal. This tapeworm is not found in the UK, but is present in France, Germany, and other parts of continental Europe. The treatment needs to be given not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before the dog enters the UK to ensure that the tapeworm eggs are not shed in the UK.

Qualitative risk assessments have been carried out on the risk of incursion of the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis and various tick borne diseases:

Import controls relating to tapeworm are implemented under EU Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1152/2011.

Routes and transport companies

Only certain transport companies and routes can be used to bring pet dogs, cats and ferrets into the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme. These are known as approved routes. This means they have been authorised by the AHVLA to bring pets into Great Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme and as part of that approval, are responsible for checking that the animal meets the rules of the Scheme. For pets arriving by air, the transport company may delegate those checks to a third party, such as the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow airport.

The procedures for registered assistance dogs differ from those for a pet - details of these requirements can be found in the travelling with assistance dogs detailed guide.

You can use any of the routes and transport companies on the following lists to bring your pet into the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme. However, any carriage of pet animals is subject to the agreement of the transport company. There may also be a limit to the total number of pets that the transport company will let you travel with. Check with them that they are prepared to carry your pet(s).

You are not permitted to bring a pet into the UK on a private boat or plane from outside the UK.

Approved routes and transport companies

The following routes and transport companies may be used to bring pet dogs, cats and ferrets into the UK. On some air routes, registered assistance dogs may travel in the cabin. Other dogs, cats and ferrets will travel as cargo.

Routes may change and new ones may be added. Some routes may be irregular and some may only operate during certain times of the year.

Once you have chosen a route, contact the transport company to make sure they are willing to transport your pet to the UK before making a booking. You should check all your proposed travel arrangements with the transport company, including how they will transport your pet before booking your trip to the UK as they may have their own additional conditions of travel. These conditions may include a health declaration for your pet.

Charter routes by air (other air routes)

Note that for these routes the aircraft must be booked for travel. The listed air companies operate into the UK from various airports overseas. Contact the air company direct if you wish to use one to bring your pet into the UK.

Fitness for travel

The transport company that you use to bring your pet into the UK may require you to provide a veterinary statement that it is healthy and fit to travel before they will allow it to board.

Before you bring your pet into the UK you should check with the transport company if they need this veterinary statement, and if so, what form which it should take. The veterinary statement may be provided either by:

  • Completion of section IX of the EU pet passport by a veterinarian confirming that ‘the animal is in good health and able to withstand carriage to its destination’ or
  • a private statement from a veterinarian stating that: ‘On [date], I examined the animal described in EU Pet Passport/third country official veterinary certificate numbered [enter serial number] and found it to be free from clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease, including external parasites, and in my opinion, is fit to travel’

Checks by transport companies

Entering the UK by rail or sea

Before you board Eurotunnel or a ship travelling to the UK from Europe on an approved route, you must present your pet to transport staff so that its microchip and official documentation can be checked. Pets travelling on an approved sea route from outside the EU and guide dogs travelling on Eurostar will be checked on arrival.

After a satisfactory check, pet owners travelling by Eurotunnel or ship from Europe will be given a badge or sticker which should be displayed as instructed by the transport company staff. This should not be removed until you have left the port of arrival in the UK.

Entering the UK by air

For pets travelling by air, the checks will be carried out on arrival in the UK, usually at the airport’s Animal Reception Centre which deals with animals travelling as cargo. Checks on assistance dogs travelling in the passenger cabin will usually be done immediately on landing.

It is normal practice for the airline to cover flight and UK handling charges in their pet ticket price. You may wish to check this when making your booking. No charges are made by Defra.

If your pet fails the check, it will either have to go into quarantine or be re-exported. If your pet has failed only because it has not met the rules on tapeworm treatment, it may be possible to have it treated on arrival and then held for 24 hours after treatment. If the animal arrives at Heathrow, this can be done there. In all other cases it must be done at the local quarantine premises. If it is treated in quarantine, you will have to seek approval for its early release once it has met all the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme.

We strongly recommend that if you intend to take your pet abroad and bring it back later, check that it meets the Pet Travel Scheme rules before you go.

All treatment costs and/or quarantine costs will be at the pet owner’s expense.

Customs formalities – Pets entering the UK from outside the European Community

Owners of pets entering the UK from outside the EU are required to complete Customs formalities. An agent, travel company or airline will do this for you for a fee. You are advised to discuss these charges before you travel as they might be included as part of a package. These charges are not made by the UK Government.

Alternatively if you want to make your own arrangements you should contact the Customs authorities at your arrival point in the UK to obtain details of the necessary procedures.

Make sure that you know the terms and conditions under which the transport company will carry your pet, and that you have made a booking or reservation for its travel if required. Tell them if your animal is a guide or assistance dog so that special arrangements can be made.

Travelling with more than five pets?

The number of pets that can be moved between EU Member States – including into and out of the UK – is limited to five per person. If there are more than 5 pets moving with an accompanying person, the following rules apply:

  • The movement of the pets should be as a consequence of the move of the owner – there should be no transfer of ownership involved.
  • For moves from the UK to another EU Member State: each pet animal will require a specific health certificate issued by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, in addition to having a completed and valid pet passport. Applications for the certificate should be made at least 10 working days prior to the date of travel. The new health certificate is not evidence that your pets meet the Pet Travel Scheme rules.
  • For moves to the UK from another EU Member State: an official veterinary surgeon in that Member State will supply the health certificate.
  • Animals entering with this certificate will travel on an approved route and be subject to pet checks at the point of entry.
  • Couriers may transport more than 5 pets if meeting these conditions.

For more information (including advice on rules for transporting more than 5 animals to non-EU countries) contact the Carlisle Specialist Service Centre Exports Team.

Dogs cats and ferrets moving for sale or re-homing will need to move under Balai conditions.

Do owners need to accompany their pets?

If you are not travelling on the same mode of transport as your pet, or if your pet is travelling on a different flight (or on the same flight but in the aircraft hold as cargo) then you must sign a Declaration of owner not accompanying pet during its journey (PDF, 18.6KB, 1 page) .

This declaration must accompany the animal and its pet passport during the journey. It allows the pet to be considered as accompanied, even though you may not be with your pet throughout every part of its journey. The declaration is required for:

  • Moving your pet between EU member states (including the UK) on an EU pet passport
  • Moving your pet from a third (non EU) country on an EU pet passport

If the declaration is not with the animal’s pet passport when the animal arrives in Great Britain, then it will be treated as an unaccompanied animal and may have to be checked at a Border Inspection post for an additional charge.

For sea and rail journeys your pet will either remain with you, or travel in your vehicle. In these circumstances no declaration will be required with the pet passport when the animal is checked by the carrier staff.

For movements of less than five pets from a third country, a separate declaration is not required as the owner will sign the declaration in the Third Country Certificate (point ll.7 in the Annex ll to Decision 2011/874/EU). This document will travel with the pet and allow the carrier staff and officials performing checks to treat the pet as accompanied.

Pets which are being moved commercially are issued with trade certificates. If these pets are entering the EU from a non-EU country then they must be presented at a Border Inspection Post.

Countries and territories

Under the Pet Travel Scheme, all pet dogs, cats and ferrets (including assistance dogs) can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the rules of the scheme. These rules are different depending on which country or territory the pet is travelling from.

EU countries

European Union (EU) countries and territories:

  • Austria
  • Azores
  • Balearic Islands
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canary Islands
  • Ceuta
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus (1)
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Guadeloupe (2)
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Melilla
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Reunion
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

(1) Dogs, cats and ferrets prepared for the Pet Travel Scheme in, or returning to the UK from the Republic of Cyprus, may enter or re-enter the UK without a blood test. However, animals travelling from north Cyprus (the area north of the Buffer Zone) must be blood sampled at least 30 days after vaccination against rabies and wait 3 months before travelling to the UK.

(2) Includes St Barthelemy and St Martin (French part of the island)

There are no requirements for pets travelling directly between the UK and either the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Owners of pets entering the Channel Islands, Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland from outside the UK should contact the appropriate authorities in those countries for advice on approved routes and any other requirements.

For Jersey visit the States of Jersey website or e-mail rva@gov.je.

For Isle of Man visit the Isle of Man government website.

For the Republic of Ireland visit www.agriculture.gov.ie or e-mail pets@agriculture.gov.ie, or ring the Helpline on +353 1 6072827.

Non-EU countries

Non-EU listed countries and territories are those which the EU considers do not present a higher risk of rabies incursion compared to pet movements within the EU. Some of these are able to issue EU pet passports:

  • Andorra
  • Faroe Islands
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Vatican City State

The remaining non-EU listed countries and territories are:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Aruba
  • Ascension Island
  • Australia (1)
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Bermuda
  • BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba) (6)
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Curacao (5)
  • Falkland Islands
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Hong Kong
  • Jamaica (2)
  • Japan
  • Malaysia (4)
  • Mauritius
  • Mayotte (until 1 January 2014)
  • Mexico
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Russian Federation (3)
  • Saint Maarten (6)
  • Singapore
  • St Helena
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Taiwan
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Arab Emirates (5)
  • USA (7)
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis and Futuna

(1) Cats from Australia are prohibited from entering the UK unless they are accompanied by a certificate from the Australian Veterinary Authorities confirming that they have not been on a holding where Hendra virus has been confirmed during the 60 days prior to export.

(2) Although Jamaica is a qualifying country under the EU Regulation, Jamaican law currently prevents the involvement of that country in the Pet Travel Scheme. Animals prepared for the Scheme may not enter Jamaica and animals may not be prepared for the Pet Travel Scheme in Jamaica.

(3) The Russian Federation consists of 88 subjects (regions). Please note that the following Republics are not part of the Russian Federation: Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

(4) The import into UK quarantine of dogs and cats from Malaysia (Peninsula) is prohibited unless health certification provided by the Malaysian veterinary authorities is provided which confirms that the cat or dog:

  • has had no contact with pigs during at least the 60 days prior to export
  • has not been resident on holdings where during the past 60 days any case of Nipah disease has been confirmed
  • has been subjected with a negative result to an IgC capture ELISA test carried out in a laboratory approved for testing for antibody against the Nipah disease viruses by the competent veterinary authorities on a sample of blood taken within 10 days of export

In order to enquire about arrangements for the test to be carried out and obtaining the health certification, you will need to contact the Malaysian veterinary authorities on 006 03 88702000. The original health certification must accompany the dog/cat to the UK and be handed to the authorised carrying agent nominated to collect the dog/cat from the port/airport of landing in the UK.

(5) The UAE consists of the following states Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Al Fujairah.

(6) Formally known as the Netherland Antilles. The BES Islands are Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba.

(7) The mainland United States of America as well as American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Unlisted countries

An unlisted country is any country not listed in the list of EU or non-EU countries.

These countries have not applied or been accepted for listed status because of less robust veterinary or administrative systems or higher rabies incidence. The rules for how to bring your pet into or back into the UK are different for unlisted countries than they are for EU member states and listed countries.

Health and welfare of your pet abroad

If you take your pet abroad, it may be exposed to diseases which we do not have in the UK, for example diseases transmitted by the bite of certain ticks, and parasites such as heartworm and tapeworm. It may not have a natural immunity to such diseases and could become infected. Some of these diseases can affect humans.

We recommend you consult your vet about your pet’s health and fitness to travel before you take it abroad. Depending on where you are going, your vet should be able to advise you on preventative treatments, or any other precautions you need to take and how to look for signs of ill health in your pet.

If your pet shows signs of illness after returning from abroad, notify your vet so that they can consider the possibility of a disease or infection contracted by your pet whilst it was abroad.

Looking after your pet during the trip

We recommend that if you are travelling on one of the longer ferry routes you arrive at the port early so your vehicle can be positioned in the best place in the hold for the welfare of your pet. Travelling overnight is also recommended if possible as your pet will be used to sleeping then. It is also better to feed your pet earlier in the day rather than just prior to travelling.

Travelling in hot weather

Animals should never be left in vehicles in direct strong sunshine and/or high temperatures as it is difficult to ensure sufficient ventilation to keep them cool. Unless animals are fully acclimatised, overheating, distress and suffering is likely when the temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius for more than a few minutes. The temperature in a car in full sun on a hot day can rise to double that outside of the vehicle in a short time, leading rapidly to distress for any animal in the vehicle.

Other documents you might need to enter the UK

Cats from Australia

Cats from Australia are prohibited from entering the UK unless they are accompanied by a certificate from the Australian Veterinary Authorities confirming that they have not been on a holding where Hendra virus has been confirmed during the 60 days prior to export.

Dogs and cats from the Malaysian Peninsular

A dog or cat from Malaysia (Peninsular) is prohibited from entering the UK unless it is accompanied by a certificate issued by the Malaysian government veterinary health services which confirms:

  • it has had no contact with pigs during at least the 60 days prior to export
  • it has not been resident on holdings where during the previous 60 days any case of Nipah disease has been confirmed
  • it has had a negative blood test result carried out in a laboratory approved for testing for Nipah virus antibody on a sample of blood taken within 10 days of export

Other animals

Currently there are no rabies or tapeworm import requirements for other species of pet animals (rodents, rabbits, birds, ornamental fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles) transported to the UK from EU Member States and other European countries (Andorra, Switzerland, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State). These species of pet animals may move freely to the UK.

Pet rabbits and rodents imported into the UK from any non-EU country, other than those listed above, must be licensed into quarantine for 4 months under the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974. However quarantine will not be required if the animal is a rodent or lagomorph which is licensed into a zoo or research premises for scientific research.

Commission Decision 2003/459/EC prohibits the import into the EU of prairie dogs originating in or travelling from the USA and certain rodents and squirrels originating in or travelling from certain countries of the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Information on the import of pet birds

Legislation

Pre-entry rabies conditions

EU Regulation 998/2003 lays down the rabies import conditions which pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) must comply with when being moved between EU Member States and into the European Union from non-EU countries. The conditions are directly applicable in all EU Member States and have the objective of protecting public and animal health from the risk of rabies.

The number of pet dogs, cats and ferrets permitted to travel to the UK from EU or non-EU countries at any one time is limited to 5 per person.

Enforcement

The conditions in Regulation 998/2003 are directly applicable and part of UK law.

The Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order 2011 implements and enforces the EU import conditions in relation to the movement of pets into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). Northern Ireland has introduced separate legislation for the movement of pets into Northern Ireland.

Pets which fail to meet the rabies and, where applicable, tapeworm import conditions on entering Great Britain are treated as an illegal landing and subject to the provisions of the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974 where they may be re-exported or quarantined in Great Britain until they meet the entry controls. Any pet owner caught smuggling a pet into Great Britain which fails to meet the entry controls may be prosecuted under the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974.

Contact us

Pet Travel Scheme helpline

Pet Travel Section
Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency
Hadrian House, Wavell Drive
Rosehill Industrial Estate
Carlisle
CA1 2TB

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays). Calls can cost up to 7p per minute for BT users. Calls made using other service providers or mobiles may cost more.

Complaints

Complaints at ports / airports should be sent to the Pet Travel Scheme Helpline. Please ensure you provide the following information for any investigation to take place:

  • date of complaint
  • full name of complainant
  • full name of pet owner, if different from above
  • species of pet
  • date and time of travel
  • carrier and route
  • ticket number (or Airway Bill (AWB) for pets travelling by air). Most, if not all, Carriers should be able to retrieve travel details from this information.
  • nature of complaint
  • any contact with Animal Health (or other) staff at the time of the incident and if so, with whom and from what office
  • contact details of complainant (in case further information is required)

Whilst we endeavour to investigate all complaints, failure to provide any of the above may delay our investigations or even result in our inability to investigate further.

Routes may change and new ones may be added. Some routes may be irregular and some may only operate during certain times of the year. You are advised to check this and all your other proposed travel arrangements with the transport company, including how they will transport your pet, before booking your trip to the UK as they may have their own additional conditions of travel. These conditions may include a health declaration for your pet. Check the costs, requirements and procedures with your transport company well before you travel.

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