United Kingdom (Great Britain) Pet Passport & Import Regulations
For the purpose of these instructions, the United Kingdom includes only England, Scotland and Wales. Due to its shared border with the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland has remained under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. Find pet import regulations for Northern Ireland if you are planning to import a pet to this country.
Pets can enter the United Kingdom (UK) from Ukraine, Poland, Belarus or Romania under commercial regulations (see step #5)
if the importer has been approved for Approved Importer Status.
The importer must be established in the UK and have proof of the organization they represent and have proof that this business or organization will be
responsible for the import of the pet. The exporter must provide proof that they are registered in the exporting country.
More details on applying for Approved Importer Status.
There will be no quarantine imposed on your pet when entering the United Kingdom as long as the following requirements are met. Unless otherwise stated, the regulations below apply to domestic dogs, cats and ferrets including service and emotional support dogs and cats. Owners of other animals should refer to step 14.
The United Kingdom (England, Scotland and Wales) is no longer a part of the European Union (EU); however, their regulations regarding the import of pets are similar to those of the EU.
The EU and United Kingdom classify countries as either EU Member States, Listed Third Countries and territoriers and Unlisted Countries.
The requirements to import a dog, cat or ferret to the United Kingdom will depend on the classification of the origination country, and whether your pet has visited an Unlisted Country within the past 4 months.
Importers and pet owners should always check their country's classification to see if additional requirements are necessary. For example, the United Kingdom requires pets imported from an unlisted country to have a blood test administered 3 calendar months before entry.
The first step to prepare your dog, cat or ferret to enter the United Kingdom 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 and the tattoo number is recorded on the rabies certificate, vaccination booklet or UK Pet Passport.
All dogs, cats and ferrets must have proof of a current rabies vaccination administered after a microchip was implanted to enter the United Kingdom.
The first rabies vaccination after the microchip is implanted is called the primary vaccination and it should be a one year vaccine unless manufacturer specifications permit its use as a primary vaccination. If your pet's previous rabies vaccination had expired before being revaccinated, the next vaccination becomes the primary vaccination.
If your pet is entering the United Kingdom from a Listed Third Country or a country included in step 7 the primary rabies vaccination must be administered no sooner than 21 days before entering the United Kingdom. If entering the United Kingdom from an Unlisted Country, the primary rabies vaccination must be administered no sooner than 30 days before the administration of a rabies titer test (see step 4).
The United Kingdom 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.
Rabies Titer Test
A rabies titer test is required for all dogs, cats and ferrets who are either entering the United Kingdom from an Unlisted Country or have visited/resided in an Unlisted Country within 4 months of import to the United Kingdom. The recommended type is the Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) as it is accepted at the majority of countries that require titer tests.
Steps 2 and 3 will apply (in the order given). After waiting a minimum of 30 days after the primary or booster vaccination, a rabies titer test must be administered. Samples must be processed at approved laboratories. Assuming test results are within acceptable limits, your pet can enter the United Kingdom no sooner than 3 calendar months after the date the blood was drawn and avoid quarantine.
Tapeworm Treatment - Dogs Only
Before your dog can enter the United Kingdom, it must be treated against certain tapeworms by a licensed veterinarian between one and five days prior to entering the country unless your pet is entering directly from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway. The treatment must be recorded on the health certificate (next step).
Health Certificate (Non-Commercial versus Commercial Transport)
All live animals imported to the United Kingdom will need a current health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in the origination country. The type of health certificate will depend on the purpose of the transport and how the transport is accomplished.
Choose from two options below.
Non-Commercial: The pet owner or a legal representative of the pet owner is traveling with or within 5 days of the pet AND the purpose of the transport is not for adoption, sale or exchange of ownership AND the number of pets involved in the transport is not more than five unless proof of participation in a show or competition is available.
Non-Commercial Transport to the United Kingdom from another EU Member State or countries listed in step #7 excluding Northern Ireland:
Regulations in steps 1 and 2 apply. Step 4 applies unless your pet enters the United Kingdom directly from Ireland, Norway, Malta or Finland.
Have your veterinarian update an EU Pet Passport (resident pets) with all your pet's microchip and vaccination information or issue an non-commercial GB Health Certificate (non-resident pets). A health check prior to travel is always recommended.
You or your representative must sign a Declaration of Non-Commercial Transport stating that your pet's transport does not involve the sale, adoption or transfer of ownership of your pet.
Unless entering the United Kingdom from Ireland, your pet must enter at a Border Control Post with an approved carrier.
Non-Commercial Transport to the United Kingdom from Northern Ireland:
All pets entering the United Kingdom from Northern Ireland are not subject to any requirements at this time.
Non-Commercial Transport to the United Kingdom from an Unlisted Country
Regulations in steps 1, 2 and 3 apply.
A licensed veterinarian in the originating country must complete the non-commercial UK health certificate for the United Kingdom within 10 days of travel. Endorsement by a government veterinarian must occur within 10 days of issuance.
This form is valid for transports of not more than 5 dogs, cats or ferrets. (Transport is commercial 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.
Your pet must enter through an approved Border Control Post (BCP) with an approved carrier.
Commercial Regulations: 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, adoption
or transfer of ownership OR the number of pets involved in the transport is greater than five when not
competing in shows.
All dogs traveling under commercial regulations must be vaccinated for distemper.
Commercial Transport to the United Kingdom from another EU Member State and Northern Ireland:
Regulations in steps 1 and 2 apply. Step 4 applies unless your pet enters the United Kingdom directly from Ireland, Norway, Malta or Finland.
A licensed agent registered in the origination country must enter the transport into TRACES and handle the transport.
Your veterinarian should obtain and update an official EU Pet Passport for your pet, especially if your pet will be returning to the EU. (This requirement also applies to countries listed in step 7.)
Your pet must have a health check within 48 hours of transport and your veterinarian must complete a commercial GB health certificate.
If flying, your pet must enter the United Kingdom through an approved Border Control Post (BCP) at an international airport in London Heathrow, Gatwick or Edinburgh.
Prenotification in IPAFFS (Import of Products, Animals, Food & Feed System) must be provided at least 1 day in advance of transport.
Commercial Transport to the United Kingdom from a Listed Third Country outside of the European Union:
Regulations in steps 1, 2 and 4 apply. Step 3 does not apply.
A licensed veterinarian in the originating country must complete the commercial GB health certificate within 48 hours of travel.
GB Health Certificate must be endorsed by the government agency in your country that is responsible for the import and export of animals.
This form is good for transports of 5 or less dogs, cats or ferrets. The form is good for 4 months of travel within the United Kingdom as long as the rabies vaccination documented on it does not expire.
Your pet must enter through an approved Border Control Post (BCP) at an international airport in London Heathrow, Gatwick or Edinburgh on an approved carrier. Note: Ferry companies will not permit the boarding of pets entering the United Kingdom under commercial regulations.
Commercial Transport to the United Kingdom from Unlisted Countries:
Steps 2,3 and 4 will apply.
Dogs, cats and ferrets can only enter the United Kingdom from these Unlisted Countries. Pets must conform to all commercial rules above.
Pet Passports accepted by the United Kingdom
If your pet resides in one of the following countries and your veterinarian has issued your pet a pet passport, the United Kingdom will accept it in lieu of an EU Health Certificate as long as it is updated with all rabies vaccinations and the tapeworm treatment.
Andorra, Azores and Madeira, Canary Islands, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Liechtenstein. Martinique, Monaco, Norway, Reunion, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City.
Entering the United Kingdom from Malaysia & Australia
If your pet is entering the United Kingdom 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 the United Kingdom 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 the United Kingdom by Air
Due to regulations set by commercial airlines approved to fly animals to the UK, pets must arrive as manifest (air) cargo on an approved airline unless they are medically certified service animals or documented emotional support animals and your airline has a program that supports the transport of these animals in the cabin.
Unless traveling from Ireland, pets traveling non-commercially entering by air from outside the UK must do so on an approved airline at Border Inspection Posts of London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Manchester, Edinburg, Glasgow or Dublin. Pets traveling commercially must enter the United Kingdom at London Heathrow, Gatwick or Edinburgh Airports.
Pets entering the UK by private charter aircraft can enter at Biggin Hill, Farmborough, Stansted, Cambridge, Blackpool, Doncaster Sheffield, Gloucestershire, London Ashford or London Oxford if their airline is approved to transport live animals to these airports.
Pets should enter the United Kingdom 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 to the United Kingdom. If your dog or cat is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at your expense.
Beginning January 1, 2021, Value Added Tax (VAT) will be due for pets entering the UK from the EU as well as any other country. 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 the UK. Puppies and kittens must be microchipped, then vaccinated for rabies no sooner than 12 weeks of age. Steps 2 and 3 will apply. Step 4 will apply if entering the United Kingdom from an Unlisted Country. Step 4 will apply unless entering the UK directly from Ireland, Norway, Malta or Finland.
The following breeds or their mixes are not permitted to enter or transit the UK: Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa Inu or American Staffordshire Pit Bull Terrier. Also some kinds of American Bulldogs have been found to be classified as Pit Bulls. It is illegal to enter or transit the UK with any of these breeds or their mixes.
Dogs can only be considered for exemption from UK Dangerous Dog Laws through the courts. Pet owners cannot apply fo exemption when importing their dogs. Only dogs who are returning to the UK after being placed on the exemption list can reenter the UK.
Please note that the ban also applies to dogs that spend time in the United Kingdom during transit to other countries.
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 from the United Kingdom
All dogs, cats and ferrets leaving the UK must be microchipped, vaccinated for rabies (in that order) and wait a minimum of 21 days before leaving the country.
All dogs, cats and ferrets leaving the United Kingdom for an EU Member States must have an Animal Health Certificate issued by an Official Veterinarian unless they have a current EU Pet Passport issued in the European Union and received no rabies vaccination while in the United Kingdom. All pets must enter the EU or Northern Ireland at travelers point of entry (border inspection posts).
Dogs, cats and ferrets leaving the United Kingdom for non-EU Member States must have an Export Health Certificate issued by an Official Veterinarian and meet all requirements of the destination country.
Dogs traveling to Northern Ireland, Ireland, Malta, Finland or Norway must have a tapeworm treatment administered by a veterinarian between one and five days of entry.
If you are planning to take your pet on a trip to an Unlisted Country, your veterinarian should administer a rabies titer test before you leave the United Kingdom if you intend to return.
There are no rabies requirements for other species of rodents, rabbits, birds, ornamental fish, intervebrates, amphibians and reptiles imported to the UK 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 the UK will be quarantined for 4 months unless they have lived in an EU Member state for at least 4 months prior to import. They should travel with current health certificates and will need an import license.
Red-eared sliders will need a special license to be imported to the United Kingdom.
Bird owners or their representative are permitted to enter the UK from World Organization of Animal Health (WOAH) member countries countries with their birds under the following conditions:
- Application for a Licence to Import Pet Birds, health certificate and Owner's Declaration must accompany your bird.
- Your bird must reside in an WOAH member country.
- You are not importing more than 5 birds.
- Your bird must have undergone isolation for 30 days prior to export OR
- Two vaccinations against avian influenza with the H5 vaccine between 60 days and 6 months of import OR
- 10 days of isolation and undergone a test to detect the H5N1antigen or genome OR
- 30 days of quarantine in a registered premise in the United Kingdom or other EU countries.
- All permits must accompany birds that are covered by CITES.
- Export permits may be required by the wildlife authority in the exporting country.
Invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibia, mammals such as rodents and rabbits should have a health certificate to enter the United Kingdom from another EU country. When entering from a rabies-controlled country outside of the EU, rabbits and other small mammals (not rodents) will be quarantined for 4 months when entering the UK. 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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