Moving Pets to the UK

The British have no rabies in their country, and want to keep it that way. (At the end of 2002, they had their first case in 100 years, from a bat bite in Dundee, Scotland.)

Formerly, all pets (dogs and cats) had to go through a 6 month quarantine before being able to enter the UK. Finally, the Pet Travel Scheme became available, which the US was recently included in it’s list of allowed countries!

Quarantine is very hard on the pets and it is also quite expensive to board them, so this came as great news to us. It is common knowledge that a large porportion of pets died during these six month quarantines. There are now approved carriers and labs for the required blood work.

Pet Travel Scheme

“The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is the system that allows pet animals from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules. It also means that people in the UK can, having taken their pets to these countries, bring them back without the need for quarantine. The Scheme: only applies to pet cats and dogs* (”pets”) including guide dogs and hearing dogs. is limited to pets coming into the UK from certain countries and territories only operates on certain sea, air and rail routes to England *It is against the law in Great Britain to possess certain types of dogs and meeting the requirements of PETS will not change that.”

The Procedures

You will need to have your pet microchipped, vaccinated, arrange blood test, get PETS certificate, have it treated for ticks/tapeworm, sign declaration of residency, and arrange your pet’s travel on an authorized route with an authorized carrier.

You can get more information about PETS and quarantine by contacting Defra: Pet Travel Scheme Helpline Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Area 201, 1a Page Street, London, SW1P 4PQ

Telephone: +44 (0)870 241 1710 (Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 5pm UK time. If you cannot get through, please leave a message on the voice mail) Fax: +44 (0)20 7904 6206 E-mail: (please enclose your postal address and a day time telephone number)

A comment left by Hitchiker: "It is important to note that although your pet does not have to go through quarantine in the UK, they are required to wait 6 months after a successful rabies titre before they will be allowed in the country, so there is a need to plan ahead."

Other Notes

Be aware that in the UK exists a Dangerous Dogs Act.

Breeds of this type are prohibited:

  • the Pit Bull Terrier
  • the Japanese tosa
  • the Dogo Argentino
  • the Fila Brasileiro

It is important to note that, in the UK, dangerous dogs are classified by “type”, not by breed label. This means that whether a dog is considered dangerous, and therefore prohibited, will depend on a judgment about its physical characteristics, and whether they match the description of a prohibited 'type'. This assessment of the physical characteristics is made by a court.

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Holz's picture

Moving Pets

It's also important that you check with your vet to make sure that your pet is microchipped with an approved chip. We originally used a HomeAgain chip which is not compatible with the UK standard, now we will have to get our cat chipped with an approved chip.

what is the approved chip


just read your piece about microchip. We also used the HomeAgain microchip. Will our dog not be allowed to enter the country with this chip? Which chip needs to be used? Our vet said to use this chip? We will be moving in 2 months...... is this still enough time?


moving my cats


I am considering a move to Scotland but am concerned about bringing my cats in as cargo; there are enough stories I've heard from reliable sources to make me want to find an alternative way of getting them there. Have there been any successful work-arounds (i.e. flying them (in cabin) to, say, France and then bringing them in over the channel? I'd be very curious to hear about this.

Many thanks!


Pet Travel Forms

Help!!! I am brining my cat to UK soon, but am so confused about the proper way to go about it. I'm doing the paperwork myself, to save $2,000. I know it would be a LOT easier if I hired a pet transport co., but I can't afford it. The internet has so much information that it's confusing to me at this point. I have the Annex II form and my vet has the form that goes to the USDA. Do I need any more forms and if so, which ones? My cat does not need a blood test or tick/tapeworm either. She has all her vaccines, microchip, and rabies. I'm confused about this 10-day period of waiting before travelling. Any advice helpful! Thanks.

the price of pet travel

The price of pet travel to the UK is expensive either way. When we calculated what it would cost to bring a cat in over the summer of 2013, we found it would cost us at least $1200 USD to do it ourselves, in plane tickets and immigration fees. Instead we paid $1850 to hire the travel agency Pacific Pet Transport, and they were great. So worth the extra $650. The best part is that they check your paperwork at every step -- crucial because bad paperwork can cause your pet to be quarantined for up to 4 months when they arrive.

I wrote down what our experience was like, in case you're interested in the details of what it was like to immigrate a cat to the UK in the summer of 2013.

Good luck!

pet travel to UK

On the English consulate website you will find updated information for your pets travel. I would check that webpage or call them to get accurate information as this information changes a lot. So since we moved 1 year ago this might have changed already.

With regard to the microchip, make sure you use the HomeAgain chip that has 10 digits, otherwise the chip readers here in Europe will not be able to read it and they will not allow your pet to enter. It is also important that you have proof that the chip was brought in before the rabies shot was given.

As far as the paperwork is concerned, I had an updated list of all my pets vaccinations handy just in case....... Also my pet has a health condition and I had a signed letter from my vet regarding this condition.

Then you need to make sure that your pet is dewormed 2-3 days before the flight. This paperwork needs to be verified by an USA offcial, it needs a stamp!!!!!!!!!

At the time we left USA different officials told me to bring different papers to enter. As nobody was sure what was accurate I just had everything signed to be safe. We definitely had a European union common veterinary entry document, an Annex II form

Also make sure you have the right carrier. if the carrier is too small you can get a fine from UK customs up to 5000 pounds.

UK vets are extremely expensive, make sure to bring all medications necessary from USA for at least a few months.

Good luck, I know it is stressful for you and the pet. Make sure he has a safe environment when he arrives and make sure he drinks plenty on the plane and after the flight.


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