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Moving with Your Pet to the UK

By Alexandra Yanik

Summary: If you're moving to the UK with a pet, the regulations that apply to your pet are determined by the type of animal, breed of dog and where you are moving from.

Moving to the UK - Moving with Your Pet to the UK

Congratulations, you and your family are making the move to the UK - and so are your furry friends. Whether Fido has been a part of the family for half a decade or Percy is a new addition, there are things you should know before taking your dog or cat into the UK.

The regulations that apply to your pet will depend on not only which animal, but also where you are coming from - either the EU/listed country, or unlisted country.

Moving to the UK with your pet from the EU or listed country

You can bring in pet rodents, rabbits, birds, fish, and reptiles to the UK from other EU countries without restrictions, which is great for Nemo.

However, if you are coming from an EU or listed country with your pet dog, cat, or ferret, you will need to follow these 6 steps before they can enter the UK with or without you:

  1. Your pet must be microchipped before having a rabies vaccination. The microchip number must be recorded on the Pet Passport (see #3).
  2. Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies and you must wait 21 days from the date of the vaccination before travelling.
  3. Your pet must have a Pet Passport (or third-country official veterinary certificate). Yes, even pets need the proper paperwork to enter
  4. If travelling from a listed country[1] (including Australia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, and USA), you must fill in a declaration stating you aren't going to sell your pet. This is to eliminate illegal sales of pets, not to force you to reconsider your relationship with your furriest child.
  5. Dogs need a tapeworm treatment no less than 24 hours and no more than 5 days before entry, so make sure to add that to your moving abroad checklist.
  6. You must use an approved transport company, unless you're travelling between the UK and Ireland.

Moving to the UK with your pet from an unlisted country

When you move to the UK with your pet from an unlisted country (including South Africa), as well as your pet meeting the EU entry requirements, they must also:

  1. pass a blood test 30 days after vaccination
  2. wait for 3 months before entering the UK

Pet rabbits and rodents from outside the EU must spend 4 months in quarantine, and they also need a rabies import licence. On the bright side, this means that you will have time to get your new flat or house ready for them.

The Pet Travel Scheme

The Pet Travel Scheme (PTS) has made it easier to bring your pets to the UK. Quarantine is no longer necessary for your cats and dogs if all the steps above are followed.

As part of the PTS, a Pet Passport is needed for your dog, cat, or ferret if moving from the EU. To obtain a Pet Passport, you'll need to take your pet, his/her vaccination records and any blood test results and present them to your vet.

From 29th December 2014, a new Pet Passport was introduced, to provide extra security, although the old style ones can be used until they run out.

If you're coming from outside the EU to enter the UK, you need a third-country official veterinary certificate.

Don't forget that when you enter the UK from a non-EU country, your pet will also have to clear customs before you can collect him/her. If you have a different country passport from your pet - it happens - this doesn't mean you have to fill out separate landing cards and stand in different queues at Border Control.

Specific Regulations

If your pet doesn't originate from the countries mentioned above, keep reading. Certain pets fall under tighter regulations, depending on where they originate from:

  • If you're travelling from Jamaica to the UK, you need to put your pet into quarantine or prepare your pet in a different non-EU country.
  • If you're travelling from Australia with your cat to the UK, you must have an Australian Department of Agriculture certificate confirming your cat hasn't been near the Hendra virus in the last 60 days.
  • If you're travelling from Peninsular Malaysia, you must have a certificate that shows your dog or cat hasn't been in contact with pigs in the last 60 days, hasn't been near the Nipah disease, and has a negative blood test result for Nipah virus - taken no more than 10 days before you leave.

Banned dog breeds in the UK

Certain dog breeds are banned from entering the UK based on their traits. These include:

  • Pitbull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Prairie from the USA

Moving with more than five pets?

You can't enter the UK with more than five pets, unless you're attending or training for a competition or show. If may contact the property authorities if you believe that you may be exempt, however all competition related pets must:

  • be attending the event (need written evidence)
  • be over 6 months old
  • meet the pet travel rules

Now that you have the information you need to make sure your much loved pet moves to the UK with you, it's time to schedule those vet appointments.

[1] The listed counties are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba), Bosnia-Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Saint Maarten, Singapore, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Taiwan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, USA (includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.

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About the Author

Alexandra Yanik writes on behalf of MoveHub, an online platform that helps people move abroad. She is also an expat living in London and loves dogs.

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First Published: Oct 13, 2015

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