Importing Pets To The UK Guide

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Are you wondering about the process for importing pets to the UK?

Read on…

Life just wouldn’t be the same without our furry, four legged companions, so it’s normal that we want to take them with us when we are away for extended periods of time.

If you’ve been living or travelling abroad with your dog, cat or ferret and you want to import your animal pal into the UK, there are certain guidelines to follow to ensure everything goes smoothly.

This is your step by step guide to importing pets into the UK…


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Step-by-Step Guide on Importing Pets to the UK

The first step to making sure your pet can enter the UK is to visit a veterinarian and make sure that he or she is over 12 weeks of age, vaccinated against rabies as well as all the regular vaccinations, microchipped (preferably to ISO standard. This must be performed before or at the same time as the rabies vaccination), and in the case of dogs coming from any other country other than Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway — treated for tapeworm.

A tapeworm treatment containing contain praziquantel or an equivalent needs to be administered to your dog 120 to 24 hours before his or her entry into the UK.

You’ll need to wait at least 21 days after the last vaccination or booster before attempting entry into the UK.

Your pet must travel with you, or if you cannot travel together, 5 days either side of you or the person travelling with your pet.

In the latter case you will need to write a letter of authorisation for the person who will be responsible for your pet during the voyage.

Importing more than 5 pets into the UK is forbidden, unless you’re attending or training them for a competition, show, or sporting event.

bring pets to the uk

Depending on the country you are importing your pet from, you may need to follow slightly different rules before entering the UK.

If you’re travelling from another EU country or one of the other accepted countries listed below, an up to date pet passport or for countries outside the EU a Veterinary Certificate to EU is sufficient.

In the case of a Veterinary Certificate, your pet must arrive in an EU country within 10 days of the certificate being issued.

A certificate is valid for 4 months further travel within the EU, but can also be exchanged for an EU pet passport if it expires whilst your pet is in the UK, or if your pet requires a rabies booster.

If your pet is arriving from an unlisted or rabies high risk country, additional rules apply.

List of accepted (non EU and listed) countries:

Andorra, Azores and Madeira, Canary Islands, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Martinique, Monaco, Norway, Reunion, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City, 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.

Here’s one couple’s experience:

Pets coming to the UK from countries not included on the list will need additional documentation.

They must undergo a valid rabies serology test performed at an EU approved laboratory, whereby a blood sample is taken at least 30 days after the date of the rabies vaccination to prove that the animal is immune to the disease.

This is followed by a further wait of three months from the date when the sample was taken before entry is possible.

All this must be documented in your pet’s EU Passport or Veterinary Certificate by your vet.

Cats travelling from Australia must have an authentic certificate from the Australian Department of Agriculture confirming that they haven’t been exposed to the Hendra virus in the 60 days before their date of departure.

Dogs, cats, and ferrets making the trip from Jamaica will need to have either been microchipped and vaccinated a different non-EU listed country , or face a quarantine period of 4 months in a quarantine premises authorised by Defra.

In this case you will need to organise with the quarantine carrier to collect your pet from an approved port or airport and transport it to the quarantine premises.

If your dog or cat will be being imported to the UK from Malaysia, you must provide an additional certificate from the Malaysian government veterinary health services to prove that he or she has not had any contact with pigs or been exposed to Nipah disease in the 60 days before your date of departure.

Your pet must also have proof of a negative blood test result for the Nipah virus antibody taken no more that 10 days before your date of departure, with the test having been carried out by a laboratory approved for this purpose.

Just like a human, your pet’s passport or other documentation will be checked by officials, and if he or she is coming from outside the EU, they will go through customs without you.

If you haven’t followed the correct procedure for your pet, he will most likely be put into quarantine, but could risk being sent back to the country you came from, so it’s crucial to get everything right first time.

If you’ve done all the paperwork, and used approved veterinarians and laboratories where necessary, there should be no reason why your dog, cat or ferret cannot be successfully imported to the UK to accompany you in your brand new adventure back on British soil.


Let us know if you have any questions about importing pets to the UK!

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