The United Kingdom is regarded as ‘pet friendly’ and is a frequent destination for pet travel, however there are strict rules and requirements for importing pets into the UK.
While there is no quarantine for cats and dogs in the UK, if the important guidelines are followed correctly, the relocation of your pet can be a delicate and smooth process.
We have produced these guidelines below, to make sure you have plenty of information to successfully bring your dog or cat to the UK.
Pet relocation/import requirements for the UK
Because the UK is considered a rabies-free country, the import requirements must be strictly followed to prevent quarantine upon arrival. The order in which these requirements must be completed is:
Microchip (implanted and scanned)
Rabies Vaccination and Certificate (must be at least 21 days old prior to travel)
Rabies Antibody Titer Test (if you’re coming from an “unlisted country”)
EU Health Certificate (Annex IV)
Tapeworm Treatment (for dogs only)
Endorsement of Paperwork
The rabies vaccination rules became stricter in 2017, as DEFRA began enforcing that the primary rabies vaccination (the one given right after the microchip) must either be a 1-year vaccination or a 3-year vaccination still within the first year when the pet travels. This means that if your pet was given a 3-year vaccination right after the microchip that is now in its second or third year, it is no longer valid for entry into the UK.
Also, the UK is now requiring pets to be covered under a “Transfer of Residency” (ToR) declaration in order to avoid Customs VAT upon arrival. To be clear, a ToR number is not required to import your pet into the UK—however, you will need to pay the Customs VAT if you do not have a ToR number at the time of your pet’s arrival.
EU Pet passports
The UK voted to leave the EU, which means there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to EU pet Passports’ in the future.
Many people believe that their pet needs an EU Pet Passport to travel to the UK. Although an EU Pet Passport does simplify the process, it is not necessary for importing pets into the UK. An EU Pet Passport can only be issued by an official veterinarian in the European Union (EU) so if your pet is coming from another country outside of the EU and does not have an EU Pet Passport yet, you’ll need to follow the above-listed requirements.
Pets that have an EU Pet Passport with an expired rabies vaccination listed or a vaccination that was updated by a veterinarian who was not in the EU will also be required to follow the import steps listed above.
On the other hand, if your pet does have an EU Pet Passport and the rabies vaccination was recorded by an EU veterinarian and is still valid, your pet will only need the EU Pet Passport to travel to the UK.
The airline your pet is traveling with may still require a health check within 10 days of travel to ensure your pet is okay to fly, but an endorsement of this health certificate is not required.
Leaving the UK with pets
In order to leave the UK with your pet, you’ll need to follow the pet import requirements for your destination country prior to departure. Also, depending on what country you are traveling to, you may need to obtain an export certificate from DEFRA.
Even if there is only a slight possibility that you will return to the UK in the future, we recommend getting in touch with a veterinarian to issue an EU Pet Passport before leaving the country. Furthermore, it may be a good idea to have the vet in the UK also administer a Rabies Antibody Titer Test if you plan on traveling to an unlisted country. That way, you can avoid the 3-month wait period upon your return to the United Kingdom.
Help is available should you be planning on relocating your pet into the UK. Planning a pet move to the UK is stressful and be an overwhelming experience.
Our grateful thanks to PetRelocation Team for their invaluable contribution to this blog article.