Pet travel: 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.
From 1 January 2012, the UK applied revised rabies import conditions under EU Regulation 998/2003, as applied by other EU Member States, to bring its Pet Travel Scheme in line with the EU-wide scheme (Article 5 and Articles 8(1)(a)(i) and 8(1)(b)(i)).
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.
Pre-entry tapeworm conditions
Import controls relating to tapeworm are implemented under EU Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1152/2011, which lays down the tapeworm import conditions which pet dogs must comply with when being moved into the UK from other EU Member States or 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 the tapeworm Echinococcus Multilocularis.
These tapeworm controls only apply to pet dogs. Pet dogs moving to the UK from Ireland, Malta and Finland do not have to meet the tapeworm import conditions as those countries have submitted evidence to the EU Commission to confirm they are tapeworm free.
Read about how to have your pet treated against tapeworms.
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.
The carriage of assistance dogs
EU Regulation 1077/2006, relating to air transport, and EU Regulation 1177/2010, relating to maritime transport, require certain carriers operating routes to and from the EU to transport recognised assistance dogs accompanying disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility free of charge.
For further information, including details of the carriers/routes which are caught by this EU legislation, please see travelling with assistance dogs.
Assistance dogs must comply with the same rabies and tapeworm import requirements that apply to other pet dogs and will subject to the same compliance checks when entering Great Britain via air or sea.