Pet Travel Scheme

When travelling with your pet dog, cat or ferret, the rules you must follow depend on the country you’re going to or coming from.

Travelling within the EU (or into the EU from another ‘listed’ country)

When travelling to or returning to the UK from another EU or non-EU listed country your pet needs:

  • a microchip
  • a pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate
  • tapeworm treatment (for dogs only)

You must also use an authorised carrier and an approved route.

You must wait 21 days from the date of the rabies vaccination before travelling.

Travelling into the EU from an unlisted country

An ‘unlisted’ country is any country not included in the list of EU and non-EU countries.

When travelling to or returning to the UK from an unlisted country, your pet needs:

  • a rabies vaccination (make sure your pet is microchipped first or the vaccination won’t count
  • a microchip
  • a rabies vaccination (make sure your pet is microchipped first or the vaccination won’t count)
  • a blood test - the vet must take the blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination (the date of vaccination counts as day 0, not day 1)
  • an official third country veterinary certificate
  • tapeworm treatment (for dogs only)

You must also use an authorised carrier and an approved route.

You must wait 3 calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before travelling. The vet must give you a copy of the test results. These must show that the vaccination was successful.

You don’t have to wait 3 months if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to an unlisted country.

Guide dogs and other assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are allowed to travel in the aircraft cabin with their owner on approved routes and carriers registered to carry assistance dogs.

They can normally also travel in areas of other forms of transport where other animals aren’t allowed.

They can travel on more routes than people with pets.

Apart from that, the rules for assistance dogs travelling under the EU pet travel scheme are the same as for other dogs.

The Guide Dogs Association website has advice about taking assistance dogs abroad.

When you return to the UK

Staff from the travel company will scan your pet’s microchip and check your documents.

If you don’t have the correct documents or your pet hasn’t been properly prepared it will be put into quarantine or sent back to the country it travelled from. You must pay the costs for this.

Other types of pet

There are no restrictions on bringing pet rodents, rabbits, birds, ornamental fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles to the UK from other EU countries.

Pet rabbits and rodents from other countries must spend 4 months in quarantine. They need a rabies import licence and must enter the UK at a Border Inspection Post.

Contact the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) for more information on the rules for travelling with these or other species of pet.


Microchip

Your pet must be microchipped before it’s vaccinated against rabies.

Make sure the vet records the number of the microchip on the pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate.

Transport companies in the EU can read microchips that meet International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards when you check in for your journey.

You must bring your own microchip reader when you travel if your pet’s microchip doesn’t meet ISO standards.

Tattoo

You don’t need to have your pet microchipped if it’s been tattooed with an identification number and all of the following are true:

  • your pet was tattooed before 3 July 2011
  • the tattoo is clearly legible
  • your pet was vaccinated against rabies after it was tattooed

Your vet must record the date of tattooing, the tattoo number and the date of the rabies vaccination in the pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate.


Rabies vaccination and boosters

You must get your dog, cat or ferret vaccinated against rabies before it can travel to another EU country or back into the UK.

Get your pet microchipped before the rabies vaccination or they will need to be vaccinated again.

EU and listed countries

You must wait 21 days after the vaccination before your pet can travel to or return to the UK from another EU or non-EU listed country.

After the first vaccination and waiting period, you can enter the UK whenever you like as long as booster vaccinations are given on time and you continue to meet the other entry requirements.

Unlisted countries

Your pet must have a blood test 30 days after the rabies vaccination. The date of the vaccination counts as day 0, not day 1.

You must wait 3 calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before travelling. The vet must give you a copy of the test results. These must show that the vaccination was successful.

You don’t have to wait 3 months if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to an unlisted country.


Pet passport and other documents

Your dog, cat or ferret must have a pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate to enter (or re-enter) the UK.

Ask your vet for a pet passport.

The passport stays valid as long as you continue to meet the entry requirements.

Third country official veterinary certificate

Outside of the EU authorised vets issue official veterinary certificates instead of pet passports.

This certificate allows your pet to enter the UK (or another country in the EU). You’ll need other supporting documents too. Check your certificate for full details.

You must arrive in an EU country within 10 days of the date the certificate was issued. You can then use it for up to 4 months for travel within the EU.

Other documents

Your transport company may need a statement from your vet confirming that your pet is fit to travel.

Check with the country you’re travelling to for information about any extra documents you’ll need to enter with your pet.

Travel with more than 5 pets

You must get a health certificate for each group of more than 5 pets you want to travel with. You get this from the country you’re coming from.

You must do this at least 10 days before you want to travel.

You need this certificate in addition to the other rules for pet travel for the countries you’re travelling to and from.

This rule is for travelling with your own pets. There are different rules if the animals are being sold or re-homed.


Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)

Your vet must treat your dog for tapeworm and record it in the pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate every time you want to enter the UK.

The treatment must be given between 1 and 5 days (24 to 120 hours) before you’re scheduled to arrive in the UK.

Your vet must record the following details in your dog’s pet passport or certificate:

  • the name and manufacturer of the product used to treat your dog
  • the date and time they treated your dog
  • their stamp and signature

The treatment must have praziquantel or equivalent as its active ingredient.

You don’t need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re coming directly to the UK from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway.


Quarantine

You must put your pet into quarantine when it arrives in the UK if doesn’t meet the entry requirements. You must pay the costs for this.

You’ll need to book quarantine premises.

The quarantine premises will normally deal with all documentation on your behalf. They should:

  • submit an application form for an import licence
  • arrange to collect your pet when they land
  • organise clearance through customs
  • arrange transport for your pet to the quarantine premises

Check when making the reservation.

If they don’t do these things, you’ll need to do them yourself.

Contact the pet travel scheme helpline for advice.

Release from quarantine

Your pet will become eligible for release when it meets the entry requirements.

The veterinary superintendent or quarantine kennel owner will tell you when your pet will be released from quarantine.


For more information, contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline.

Pet Travel Scheme helpline
pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk
0870 241 1710
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays)


The above information is taken from the website www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview


If you have experience of the Pet Travel Scheme, please let us know so we can add your information to this page to help others.