Pet travel rules from 1 January 2012

From 1 January 2012 all pet dogs, cats and ferrets (including guide and hearing dogs) can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the rules of the scheme, which will be different depending on the country or territory the pet is coming from.

Animals which do not meet all the rules must be licensed into quarantine.
They might then be able to obtain early release if they can be shown to comply with the necessary pet travel requirements.

Pet cats and dogs travelling to the UK, on or after 1st January 2012, can undergo the necessary pre-entry treatment (eg microchipping, vaccination and blood testing as required) either before they travel in the country of origin, or if they enter quarantine in the UK, whilst they are in quarantine. To ensure that pets are compliant for travel on or after 1st January 2012, pets may begin the process of preparation now in any county. What you need to do if you are entering the UK from the EU and listed non-EU countries


Preparing your dog, cat or ferret

Step 1
Have your pet microchipped – Before any of the other procedures for pet travel are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified.

Step 2
Have your pet vaccinated – After the microchip has been fitted, your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination. Rabies boosters must be kept up to date. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is 21 days after the first vaccination date. A waiting period is not required for subsequent entries into the UK, provided rabies boosters are kept up to date. If the vaccination is in two parts, the 21 day wait will be from the date of the second vaccination.

Step 3
Get pet travel documentation – For animals being prepared in an EU country, you should get an EU pet passport. If you are preparing your animal in a non-EU listed country or territory, you will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate although note that Croatia, Gibraltar, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland are also issuing passports.

Step 4
Tapeworm treatment – We expect the European Commission to shortly come forward with proposals to allow UK to still require pets to be treated against tapeworms. There will be no mandatory requirement for tick treatment.

Step 5
Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route – Your pet must enter the UK from a listed country or territory travelling with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

Please check with the Defra website www.defra.gov.uk What you need to do if you are entering the UK from unlisted non-EU countries


Preparing your dog, cat or ferret

Step 1
Have your pet microchipped – Before any of the other procedures for pet travel are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified.

Step 2
Have your pet vaccinated – After the microchip has been fitted, your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination. Rabies boosters must be kept up to date.

Step 3
Arrange a blood test - After your pet has been vaccinated, it must be blood tested to make sure the vaccine has given it a satisfactory level of protection against rabies. The blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after vaccination. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is three calendar months from the date your vet took the blood sample which led to a satisfactory test result. The three month waiting period will not apply if your pet was vaccinated and blood tested in the EU and issued with an EU pet passport before it went to an unlisted country.

Step 4
Get pet travel documentation – You will need to obtain an official third country veterinary.

Step 5
Tapeworm treatment – We expect the European Commission to shortly come forward with proposals to allow the UK to still require pets to be treated against tapeworms. There will be no mandatory requirement for tick treatment.

Step 6
Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route – Your pet must enter the UK with an approved transport company on an authorised route.