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.

Additional Details:

  • 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.

  • This rule applies to pets coming from EU countries and listed countries such as the United States -- if you're coming from an unlisted country, stricter rules will apply.

  • 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.

Additional Details:

  • 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.

  • The form is available here and it can be submitted to

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.

Additional Details:

  • 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.

Have questions? Our UK team is here to help! Read more about bringing pets to the UK and contact us if you're ready to set up a pet transport consultation.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Microchips, News


Cats, Dogs




Add a Comment

By Katherine Taylor on November 30, 2017 at 9:25 am

Please advise where you received the information above on the rabies vaccine needing to be in one year of travel. I have scoured the site to confirm and cannot find this stated (however they seem to have lots of little rules that aren't made clear). I do not want to get my dog an extra vaccine; her 3 year was given on 11/21/16 so will only be one month over a year by the time we travel. However it is of course more important that she not be turned away or quarantined at the UK airport! Here is the site I have been referencing, and I do not see any sub-links where I might be missing the information you quote above. Thanks for your help!

By on November 30, 2017 at 10:26 am

Hello Katherine,

That information was provided to us by the Animal Reception Centre in London. However, the USDA's website now lists this information on their website here in case you'd like to reference it.

To further explain, if your dog's primary rabies vaccination (after the microchip) was a 1-year vaccine and did not lapse before she was given the 3-year vaccine, this will be acceptable as long as you provide proof of her vaccination history. Often times, though, it is difficult to provide this proof so we recommend getting a new vaccination to avoid any issues or possible quarantine.

We hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions.

By Patricia Spurrell on December 4, 2017 at 3:39 am

Hi - we are travelling back to the UK from Spain with our two dogs via the English Channel ferry. All passports/inoculations etc are up to date. Do we need any other paperwork?Thanks

By on December 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Hello Patricia,

The UK will also require a tapeworm treatment for dogs that must occur between 24 and 120 hours of arrival. You can have your vet complete this prior to your travels and note it in their passports to meet the import regulations.

Also, please ensure that your dogs' microchip was implanted prior to their latest rabies vaccination otherwise you'll be forced to revaccinate and wait another 21 days prior to travel.

Safe travels to you all!

By Irma Landa on December 7, 2017 at 10:26 am

Hello! We are planning to arrive with our dog in the cabin to Paris and then cross by the Eurotunnel. Will we need the ToR? We will be here for 3 years to study,

By on December 7, 2017 at 11:06 am

Hello Irma,

VAT may still be required for your dog to enter the UK and the ToR helps prevent you from paying these taxes upon arrival. We would recommend reaching out to DEFRA directly to ensure your dog does not fall under VAT (because then you will not need the ToR). Either way, you can obtain the ToR and receive reimbursement for the VAT for up to a year after your move.

We hope this helps! Good luck with your travels!

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