Anyone familiar with transporting pets internationally knows that country rules and requirements tend to change quite a bit.
For example, the UK has made several big changes over the last few years, and in early 2017 made some particularly impactful adjustments for pets traveling across the pond.
Moving to the UK with pets? Here's what you need to know.
Change #1: Rabies Vaccine Requirements for the UK
Pets can enter the UK with a one year rabies vaccine as a primary (primary = the first rabies vaccine given after the microchip) OR a two or three year primary vaccine that has been administered within one year of departure. There are no exceptions to this rule.
The rabies vaccine must be at least 21 days old at the time of the pet's final health exam before departure.
The vaccine must have been administered after the microchip was implanted.
Example Scenario: If a pet has a microchip implanted and is then given a three year rabies vaccination, the vaccination must be within its first year when the pet arrives in the UK. Otherwise, the pet would need another vaccination in order for it to be considered valid.
Change #2: The “Transfer of Residency” Declaration
This declaration, sometimes referred to as the ToR, replaces the C5 Customs Form. Pet owners can either secure this form before travel or pay a tax upon arrival.
This new rule applies to all imported goods, not just pets.
Pet owners should apply to the ToR in advance, as we've noticed it takes two weeks to 30 days to process.
If you arrive without this form, Customs VAT will be payable on deposit before the pet is allowed to be released (and this can be expensive). Note that this deposit can be reclaimed upon proof of exit from the UK.
Change #3: The Five Day Rule (This rule has been in place since late 2014 but not everyone is aware of it)
Pet owners must fly within five days of their pet in order for the move to be considered “non-commercial.” If you are unable to meet this Five Day Rule, the move can still be carried out but it will be considered a commercial move, which increases costs and changes the import requirements and timeline.
Commercial moves require an Annex I Health Certificate and additional DEFRA taxes (44 GBP) upon arrival for commercial pets.
The final vet visit and the day of departure must be within two days of each other, so the health certificates probably need to be endorsed in person.