Importing Dogs and Cats to the UK
Pet Transport to the UK is possible to do safely and smoothly with the right preparation. By enlisting help where you need it and learning about the country’s import rules and best practices for pet travel, you can plan a successful trip for your dog or your cat.
For example, a microchip is mandatory when bringing dogs to the UK, as are a number of vaccinations and an international health certificate. Additionally, before importing dogs to the UK be sure to talk to your veterinarian about any health concerns you may have. It's also important to help your furry friends grow accustomed to the crates they will be traveling in, as this can help them manage the entire travel process with less stress and anxiety.
Your PetRelocation Specialists can help simplify the process of bringing pets to the UK and ensure you have all the documentation necessary to bring your best friends safely to your new home.
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Overview: Bringing Pets to the UK
Attention: This information is to be used as general guidelines and may not be updated to meet the current requirements. Before you travel, be sure to contact the appropriate authorities for your destination country.
The UK’s rabies free status means it operates with stricter import rules than many other countries. To start, here are a few things you’ll need for bringing pets to the UK:
- Rabies Vaccination and Certificate
- Tapeworm Treatment (for dogs)
- EU Health Certificate
- Additional paperwork/endorsements depending on country of origin
Bringing pets into the UK also means following general recommendations and requirements for pets traveling to any country, which include:
- Having an airline approved travel kennel
- Choosing a pet friendly airline
- Setting up pet friendly housing before you move
- Discussing any health questions with your vet before you travel
Bringing dogs to the UK and bringing cats to the UK will entail following slightly different processes, and in general it’s recommended to allow at least 30 days of planning time. Starting the process 1-3 months ahead of your desired departure date is ideal, as this allows plenty of time to organize all the details and deal with any unexpected challenges that may arise.
Learn more about how PetRelocation can help you plan your pet’s safe move to the UK.
Detailed Regulations for Importing Pets to the UK
Note: This information is geared towards pets arriving from the United States.
Each pet shall be identified by means of a microchip. No other form of identification is acceptable. The microchip used should comply with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785. The United Kingdom currently accepts AVID 9 and AVID 10 in addition to ISO. The microchip must be implanted before the rabies vaccine is administered.
Rabies Vaccination and Certificate
All pets must have an original Rabies Certificate signed by the vet. The rabies vaccine must be at least 21 days old at the time of the final health exam.
Further, pets may enter the UK without quarantine with the following:
- A one year vaccine (also known as a “primary” vaccine).
- A 3 year vaccine that was administered less than a year ago (otherwise this is considered a booster).
If a vaccine lapses, then another primary (one year) vaccine must be administered.
Though not required, we suggest that pets receive the following vaccines, as well:
Dogs: Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHLPP) and Bordetella.
Cats: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP).
These should be valid at the time of import and administered no less than two weeks before export date for maximum effectiveness.
Tapeworm Treatment (Dogs Only)
Each dog must receive a tapeworm treatment (Drontal recommended) between 24-120 hours prior to arrival. The treatment given, manufacturer name, date and time must be listed on the EU health certificate with your vet's signature.
EU Health Certificate (Form Annex IV)
This form is used for dogs, cats and ferrets traveling non-commercially and it will be provided by your PetRelocation Specialist. This is the standard health certificate to be filled out by your accredited veterinarian and must be signed in a different color than that of the certificate's printing (usually blue ink).
This certificate is valid for 10 days from the date of issue by the official veterinarian until the date of the checks at the EU point of entry. For the purpose of further movements within the EU, this certificate will be valid for a total of four months from the date of issue or until the date of expiration of the rabies vaccination, whichever date is earlier. Note: pets traveling commercially will travel on an Annex I and birds will travel on an Annex II.
Up to five pets may travel on the same EU Health Certificate and cats, dogs and ferrets can all go on one form together.
The forms below must be sent to your local USDA for their stamp of approval. Please contact your PetRelocation Specialist to learn more about the best way of handling this.
- Microchip Implantation Record
- Rabies Certificate
- Vet Letter
- EU Vet Health Certificate
Airline Health Certificate
Your vet should have these in stock. (It’s a good idea to call ahead and ask.) This is a “fit to fly” health certificate that needs to be completed by your vet within 10 days of departure in order to show the airline your pet is healthy and okay to fly. This certificate is sometimes (but not always) labeled as the APHIS 7001 for pets going to the UK.
Note that different species of pets need to have their own Airline Health Certificate/APHIS 7001, but multiple pets of the same species may be on the same certificate.
All original documentation listed above must travel with the pets.
Microchip numbers must be read from the chip in the pet and not from other paperwork. You must double check to make sure the chip can be scanned and that ALL NUMBERS of the microchip are recorded correctly.
In order for us to successfully clear customs we will need the following document supplied prior to the pet’s arrival:
Completed C5 Form (provided by your PetRelocation Specialist)
The EU Pet Passport
For animals originating in an EU Member State, the “pet passport” can be used and comes in a booklet form, blue in color with the EU emblem of yellow stars. This passport is a document standardized throughout the EU.
In the case of pets originating in a qualifying country other than an EU Member State, the “passport” is in the form of a “Veterinary Certificate” and must consist of a single sheet, be printed in the language of the Member State of entry and in English and be completed in the language of the Member State of entry or English.
Note: North American vets sometimes write dates inconsistently—sometimes in two different formats on the same document. The correct layout requested, and the ISO Standard, is dd/mm/yyyy.
The Five Day Rule
If you or a family member/friend cannot travel within five days of your pet, your pet’s move will be classified as a commercial move. Commercial moves require the following:
- Annex I Health Certificate
- Vet visit and travel must be within two days of each other so the health certificates probably need to be endorsed in person
- Additional DEFRA taxes (44 GBP) upon arrival for commercial pets
Please check with your PetRelocation Specialist if you have questions about the Five Day Rule and how to best manage your pet’s relocation.