Northern Ireland Pet Passport & Import Regulations
There will be no quarantine imposed on your pet when entering Northern Ireland as long as the following requirements are met. Unless otherwise stated, the regulations below apply to domestic dogs, cats and ferrets only. Owners of other pets should refer to item 10.
For owners of pets entering or returning to the European Union (EU) from the United Kingdom (UK): as of October 31, 2019, if there is no ratified deal between the UK and EU, the UK is likely to be treated as an unlisted (high-rabies) country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. If this is the case, then a titer test will be required a minimum of 3 calendar months in advance of travel any EU Member State from the UK. (see step #3) Your pet will also need an EU health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of travel. (see step #5) Your pet will need to enter the EU at an approved Border Inspection Post.
For owners of pets returning to the UK from the EU, your pet will need either an existing EU pet passport (both for UK and EU citizens) or the EU health certificate issued in the UK used to travel to the EU.
All regulations stated here are subject to change according to the results of Brexit negotiations. Those changes will be posted as soon as information is received.
The first step to prepare your dog, cat or ferret to enter Northern Ireland is to have your pet microchipped with an ISO 11784/11785 compliant 15 digit pet microchip.
If your pet currently has a microchip that is not ISO 11784/11785 compliant, then you have 3 choices:
- You can bring your own microchip scanner.
- You can contact the officials at the Border Inspection Post where you will enter the UK and inquire as to whether they have scanners that can read your pet's chip.
- If your pet's current microchip can still be read, your veterinarian can implant compliant chip. The number and implant dates of both microchips must be documented on the EU Health Certificate (see step #5).
A tattoo is an acceptable form of identification as long as it was given prior to July 3, 2011, is clearly visible and your pet was vaccinated for rabies after the tattoo was applied.
All dogs, cats and ferrets must have proof of a current rabies vaccination administered after a microchip was implanted to enter Northern Ireland.
The first rabies vaccination after the microchip is implanted is called the primary vaccination and it must be a one year vaccine. If your pet's previous vaccination had expired before being revaccinated, the next vaccination becomes the primary vaccination and it also must be a one year vaccine.
All vaccinations that are administered after the primary vaccination are called booster vaccinations.
If your pet is entering Northern Ireland from a rabies-free (click here) or rabies-controlled country (click here), the primary rabies vaccination must be administered no sooner than 21 days before entering Northern Ireland.
There is no waiting period after booster vaccinations as long as:
- the previous vaccination was administered after a microchip was implanted AND
- the previous vaccination had not expired when the booster was given.
Northern Ireland does honor the 3 year rabies vaccination for dogs, cats and ferrets; however, it should only be administered as a booster, not as a primary vaccination. You can speak to your veterinarian about this.
Once your pet has entered Northern Ireland, a 21 day waiting period is not required for subsequent visits, provided rabies boosters are kept up to date, and the other entry requirements are met.
If your pet is entering Northern Ireland from a high-rabies country, it must wait for a minimum of 30 days after vaccination before receiving a rabies titer test (see step #3).
Rabies Titer Test
If your pet is entering Northern Ireland from a high-rabies country (click here), your pet must be microchipped, then vaccinated for rabies (in that order). After waiting 30 days, a Rabies titer test (FAVN) must be administered (Have your veterinarian scan your pet's microchip prior to the titer test.) Samples must be processed at approved laboratories. Assuming test results within acceptable limits, your pet can enter Northern Ireland no sooner than 3 calendar months after the date the blood was drawn and avoid quarantine. This step is not required unless entering Northern Ireland from a high-rabies country. If you do not have 3 calendar months before traveling, your pet will be quarantined for the balance of time required to fulfill the 3 months.
Tapeworm Treatment - Dogs Only
Before your dog can enter Northern Ireland, it must be treated against certain tapeworms between one and five days prior to entering the country unless your pet is entering directly from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway.
Here is where the rules differ and depend on whether or not you or a legal representative of yours is traveling within 5 days of your pet's transport.
The owner or a legal representative of the owner is traveling with or within 5 days of the pet. If this is correct, then your pet will travel under non-commercial regulations as follows:
Non-commercial Transport to Northern Ireland from a country outside of the EU:
Regulations in steps 1 and 2 apply. f traveling to Northern Ireland from a high-rabies country, step 3 will apply.
A licensed veterinarian in the originating country must complete the non-commercial EU health certificate for Northern Ireland within 10 days of travel. (Note: new form is required if issued by a licensed veterinarian after August 31, 2016.) If your pet is traveling from the United States or Canada, the veterinarian must be accredited by the USDA or CFIA respectively and the non-commercial EU health certificate must be endorsed by the local USDA (United States) or CFIA (Canada) office. If traveling from another country, then the forms must be endorsed by the government agency responsible for the import and export of animals.
This form is good for transports of 5 or less dogs, cats or ferrets. (see item 5 if you are traveling with more than 5 pets.)
You or your representative must sign a Declaration of Non-Commercial Transport stating that your pet's transport does not involve the sale or transfer of ownership of your pet.
Non-comemrcial Transport to Northern Ireland from another EU Member State:
Regulations in steps 1 and 2 apply.
Have your veterinarian update an EU Pet Passport for your pet. A non-commercial EU health certificate is not required for pets traveling to Northern Ireland from another EU Member State unless a rabies booster was administered by a veterinarian outside of the EU at any time after your pet received its microchip.
The owner or a legal representative of the owner is not traveling with or within 5 days of the pet OR the purpose of the transport involves a sale or transfer of ownership. If either of these is correct, then your pet will travel under commercial regulations as follows:
Commercial Transport to Northern Ireland from a rabies-free or rabies-controlled country outside the EU:
All dogs, cats and ferrets may enter Northern Ireland commercially from EU countries, rabies-free or rabies-controlled countries. Dogs, cats and ferrets from other countries may only enter Northern Ireland with or within 5 days of their owners or their owner's representative. In this case, non-commercial regulations will apply.
Regulations in steps 1 and 2 apply.
A licensed veterinarian in the originating country must complete the commercial EU health certificate for Northern Ireland within 48 hours of entry. If your pet is traveling from the United States or Canada, the veterinarian must be accredited by the USDA or CFIA respectively and the commercial EU health certificate must be endorsed by the local USDA (United States) or CFIA (Canada) office. If traveling from another country, then the forms must be endorsed by the government agency responsible for the import and export of animals.
This form is good for transports of 5 or less dogs, cats or ferrets. (see step 7 for transports of more than 5 pets).
Your pet must enter through an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP) at an international airport in London Heathrow or Gatwick. Notice must be given 24 hours prior to arrival.
All dogs, cats and ferrets may enter Northern Ireland commercially from a rabies-free or rabies-controlled countries. Dogs, cats and ferrets may only enter Northern Ireland commercially from these high-rabies countries and must have a titer test according to step #3 above.
Commercial Transport to Northern Ireland from another EU Member State:
Regulations in steps 1 and 2 apply.
If your pet is traveling to Northern Ireland alone from another EU country, it must travel from a licensed premises which is registered with the governing authority in your EU country responsible for the import and export of pets. Your veterinarian must obtain and update an EU Pet Passport for your pet. Your pet's transport must be accompanied by an Intratrade health certificate completed within 48 hours of entry and entered into the TRACES system.
All dogs must be vaccinated against distemper.
You must send an Importer Notification form to the local DAERA office in your destination more than 24 hours in advance of import.
Entering Northern Ireland from Malaysia & Australia
If your pet is entering Northern Ireland from peninsular Malaysia, the following conditions must be met:
1. Your pet has had no contact with pigs during at least the past 60 days prior to export.
2. Your pet has not lived in a place where cases of Nipah disease have been confirmed during the past 60 days.
3. Your pet has been tested with negative a result to an IgG capture ELISA test carried out in a laboratory approved for testing for Nipah disease viruses within 10 days of export.
Cats may only enter Northern Ireland from Australia under the condition that they have not lived in areas where cases of Hendra disease have been confirmed during the past 60 days.
Traveling with more than 5 pets
If you are traveling with 6 or more cats, dogs or ferrets, in order to transport them under non-commercial regulations, they must be 6 months or older and attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event. If this is not the case, your pets must meet the requirements for commercial transport. (see step #5)
Entering Northern Ireland by Air
Because Northern Ireland does not have approved border inspection posts, pet owners accompanying their pets can bring their animals from abroad as manifest air cargo through the United Kingdom (London or Edinburgh) or Ireland when accompanied (Dublin) to Northern Ireland. Animals using this service must meet all the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme detailed above. Within the British Isles pets can be carried on any route subject to the transport company's agreement and conditions of carriage.
Pets traveling unaccompanied from outside the EU must custom clear at Edinburgh, London Heathrow or Gatwick Airports.
Owners who travel directly into Northern Ireland must do so under an Import Authorisation issued by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. An Import Authorization must be completed at least 10 days before your pet enters Northern Ireland. You must also engage the services of an approved quarantine establishment to facilitate the checking of accompanying paperwork as there are not facilities at the airport to do this. There is a charge for this service.
Pets should enter Northern Ireland directly or transit through another EU Member State. If your pet transits through a high-rabies country, then a Transit Declaration will be required stating that your pet has had no contact with rabies-carrying animals and remained secured within the airplane or airport.
All domestic dogs and cats must be free of evidence of disease communicable to humans when examined at the port of entry in London. If your dog or cat is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at your expense.
Beginning April 1, 2017, Value Added Tax (VAT) will be due for pets entering the UK from outside the EU. If entering the UK as visitors, the VAT will be refunded when exiting the UK.
If your pet is transferring residency to the UK, then a Transfer of Residency Form must be filed with customs to avoid paying the tax. Pet owners who have not filled out the form will be refunded when the form is completed and filed.
Pets returning to the UK from another EU country will not be charged VAT as long as proof that the pet exited the UK with the owner is provided.
Pets who have not been owned for at least 6 months or are being purchased are subject to 20% of the value of the pet and the cost of transport and import charges.
Puppies and Kittens
Unvaccinated puppies and kittens under 12 weeks of age are not permitted to enter Northern Ireland. Puppies and kittens must be microchipped, then vaccinated for rabies no sooner than 12 weeks of age. All regulations in steps 1-5 will apply.
The following breeds are not permitted to enter Northern Ireland: Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa Inu or American Staffordshire Pit Bull Terrier. If you have a wolf hybrid or Savannah cat, then you must seek advice from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency before you travel.
Exporting Pets Living in Northern Ireland
All dogs, cats and ferrets leaving Northern Ireland for another EU Member State must be microchipped, vaccinated for rabies (in that order) and wait 21 days before leaving the country. Have your veterinarian issue an EU pet passport if you intend to return to the EU.
If you are planning to take your pet on a trip to a high-rabies country, your veterinarian should administer a rabies titer test before you leave Northern Ireland if you intend to return to the EU.
Export certificates are required for exporting resident dogs and cats commercially (see step #5 for definition of commercial transport). The form must be filed at least 28 days prior to export.
There are no rabies requirements for other species of rodents, rabbits, birds, ornamental fish, intervebrates, amphibians and reptiles (except red-eared sliders) imported to Northern Ireland from other EU Member States as well as Andorra, Switzerland, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and San Marino. However, pet rabbits and rodents imported to Northern Ireland from any other non-EU rabies-controlled country will be quarantined for 4 months. Red-eared sliders have been banned in the United Kingdom.
Birds, invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibia, mammals such as rodents and rabbits should have a health certificate to enter Northern Ireland. Pet owners are strongly advised to seek further information from the relevant authority of their country and/or that of the destination country.
If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, and especially if it is a turtle or parrot, you should verify that it is not protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). You will need to apply for additional permits if this is the case. Over 180 countries participate and enforce CITES regulations. .
Need More Assistance?
To the best of our ability, we ensure that recommendations given on PetTravel.com reflect the current regulations. We cannot predict how a given country may enforce these regulations. Noncompliance may result in the need to make arrangements to put your pet into quarantine at your expense, return your pet to the country of origin, or euthanize your pet. We suggest that you minimize the disruptions that may occur by following the rules of the country you are visiting.
Further detail on import permits, costs, tests and procedures are available at minimal cost at PetTravelStore.com. We also stock all the equipment and accessories you will need for traveling with your pet. Same day shipping Monday through Friday until 4:00 PM EST.
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