Animal welfare – guidance

Pet travel: travelling with assistance dogs

Information for people entering the UK with assistance dogs.

You can bring your assistance dog into the UK without quarantine as long as it meets the rules of the EU pet travel scheme.

It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that their dog is fully compliant with the scheme. If your assistance dog doesn’t comply with the rules it may not be able to enter Great Britain, or may be licensed into quarantine on arrival.

Travelling with assistance dogs by air, sea or rail

You can bring your assistance dog into the UK on many air, sea or rail routes, providing that the requirements of the EU pet travel scheme are fully met. Which routes can be used depends on whether the air, sea and rail carriers are subject to EU or GB rules on the transport of assistance dogs.

All assistance dogs will be checked for compliance with the EU pet travel scheme. For assistance dogs arriving in Great Britain by air, the airport managing body is responsible for carrying out these checks and airports must have checking facilities in place to do so. Assistance dogs arriving by sea will be checked by the ferry or cruise company.

You should plan your journey as early as possible. Routes may change and new ones may be added. Some routes are seasonal or irregular so check availability and all your other proposed travel arrangements with the transport company before booking your journey to the UK. Check the costs, requirements and procedures. Companies may have their own additional conditions of travel.

Travelling by air

Airlines with a valid operating licence issued by an EU country (Community air carriers) are required to transport recognised assistance dogs in the cabin of aircraft. Airports are also required to provide services to disabled persons and arrange for the handling of assistance dogs. These rules are laid down in EU Regulation 1107/2006.

If you are travelling with a non-EU carrier different rules apply. While many airlines will accept assistance dogs it is worth checking with them directly.

Community air carriers bringing assistance dogs into Great Britain are requested to agree a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Non-EU air carriers transporting assistance dogs should have a Required Method of Operation (RMOP) in place with APHA and the receiving airport, which will set out how the dogs are checked on arrival.

Details of those carriers with an MOU or RMOP for the carriage of assistance dogs are set out in Assistance air routes and approved airports (PDF, 17.1KB, 5 pages) .

Guidance for air carriers

Travelling by sea or rail

Ferry and rail operators subject to EU legislation are legally obliged to accept disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility, who might be accompanied by a recognised assistance dog.

The EU rules governing travel by sea apply to all ferry services entering and leaving the UK, as well as cruise services which embark from any EU country (including the UK) and which disembark or make a transit stop at a UK port. Guidance on EU Regulation 1177/2010 relating to passenger rights when travelling by sea.

Ferry operators and cruise ships carrying assistance dogs into Great Britain are requested to agree a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with APHA:

Non-EU carriers operating cruises that start outside the EU will need a Required Method of Operation (RMOP) for disembarkation in the UK if this is the first point of arrival in the EU, but will be covered by an MOU for any moves from another EU port on arrival in the UK.

Guidance for ferry and cruise companies

Guidance for ferry and cruise companies on how their business operations in Great Britain may be affected by the introduction of EU Regulation 1177/2010 on 18 December 2012 is set out in: