The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Pets Travel Scheme

Pet Travel Scheme into the UK

This section explains the rules for bringing a pet dog, cat, or a ferret into the United Kingdom. The PETS travel scheme covers the guidelines to take pets abroad either on a holiday or to live.

PETS SCHEME UK: Other important topics in this guide also include pet passports and the most current microchipping laws.

We cover the law for travelling with a guide dog or assistance dogs. Read on for essential information on animal rabies vaccinations and quarantine rules.

There are specific rules for bringing your pet dog, cat, or ferret into the United Kingdom.

There are no animal restrictions to enter or return to Britain with a pet dog, cat, or ferret providing:

Note: The pet will also need a blood test if you travel from an 'unlisted country' into the United Kingdom. As a rule, pet dogs need a tapeworm treatment as well.

Failing to follow these rules has its consequences. Pets may get put in rabies quarantine for a period up to 4 months. The same applies if you travel by sea and get refused entry into the United Kingdom.

Any fees or charges caused by this will be your responsibility for payment. Extra rules also apply if the animal:

Note: Different rules apply for entering other countries with your pet from the UK. It is best to check the regulations of the country where you plan to travel.

Pet Travel Scheme into the United KingdomChecks to Make Before Travelling

It is prudent to check a few things before you travel out of the United Kingdom with pets. You should find out whether the company you choose to travel with:

  1. Is going to accept your pet for travel and how their rules apply to your journey.
  2. How many pets they will accept if you plan travelling with several animals at one time.
  3. Requires any specific proof that the pet or pets are fit and healthy for travel purposes.
  4. Need a letter from a veterinarian. Some companies may ask for verification of information stamped in the pet passport.

Bringing Your Pet into the United Kingdom

The PETS travel scheme rules allow up to 5 days for pet arrivals to the UK before or after yours. There are a different set of rules to follow if the animal does not arrive within that five day window period.

As a rule, you must travel with your pet using an approved transport company and route. The exception applies when travelling between Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Note: You will need to fill in a 'Declaration for the non-commercial movement of animals'. This form is to confirm that do not intend to sell or transfer pet ownership to another person.

Authorise another Person to Travel with Pets

The Pet Travel Scheme permits someone else to travel with your pet or pets. But, you will need to provide authorisation in writing. Make sure you do this before another person travels with the animal or animals.

Bringing in other Animal Species

Note: There are some different rules that apply when bringing certain other animals into the United Kingdom.

UK Pet Travel Scheme Rules

The process of bringing your pet cat, dog or ferret into the United Kingdom varies. In simple terms the rules to follow depend on whether you are entering from:

Country's Pet Passports accepted by the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom accepts pet passport entries from all countries listed in the EU. The same applies for these other Non EU countries:

Pet Passport Listed Countries

Listed countries for bringing in pet dogs, cats, and ferrets to the United Kingdom include:

Special rules apply if you travel with a pet from Jamaica to the UK. You need to get your pet microchipped and vaccinated in a different non-EU listed country. The alternative would be to put a pet in rabies quarantine for the minimum period.

Note: Extra rules apply to pet passports and other documentation. Check the laws if you enter the UK with a cat or dog from Malaysia or a cat from Australia.

Approved Routes for Assistance Dogs

If you travel with a service dog you must use specified travel routes to enter England, Scotland, or Wales. The same rule applies to using certain travel companies.

The GOV.UK has a publication covering those routes. Check 'Pet travel: approved air, sea and rail carriers and routes' before you travel. But, be aware that they may change or only operate at certain peak times of the year.

Note: As a rule, pets will travel as cargo. Even so, different rules apply when arriving by sea or air with a guide dog or assistance dogs.

Travelling to and from Ireland and Northern Ireland

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is in control here. You can contact DAERA if your journeys goes to Northern Ireland. But, there is no need to use an approved transport company while travelling from Ireland to the UK.

Note: If you travel with a pet into the UK from Ireland you can only bring it on an airplane or by private boat.

Bringing Multiple Pets into the UK

There are strict rules about bringing more than 5 pets to the United Kingdom. You cannot do so without a valid reason. Examples include attending or training for a show, competition, or a sporting event. In this case 'all the pets' must:

Note: You must provide written evidence of the event registration when travelling.

You will need to complete a declaration confirming that you meet the requirements. There is a different declaration form if you will arrive in Northern Ireland.

What if you are not attending or training for a show, competition, or sporting event? There are other commercial rules for importing animals when you travel with more than 5 pets.

Dogs Arriving in the UK

Staff at the airport, or from the travel company, will scan the pet microchip upon arrival. They will also check your documentation when you arrive with dogs in the United Kingdom.

In some cases they will check your pet before you board. This would happen if you travel by sea ferry or through the Eurotunnel.

Border control can put the pet into quarantine or send it back to the country that it travelled from unless you:

Note: It is your responsibility to pay for any fees or charges if you fail to follow the rules.

Entering the UK from a Country Outside the EU

You cannot collect the pet until it gets taken through customs control. A travel company, agent, or the airline will often do this for you. But, there may be a fee. Failing that, you should either:

  1. Contact the customs department where you will arrive (before travelling).
  2. Get more information from the National Clearance Hub at nch@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

Also in this section...

Pet Microchipping Laws: Find out how the pet microchip rules work in the United Kingdom.
Pet Passport and Documents: A guide to help you understand how the pet passport scheme works.
Rabies Vaccination Rules: Check the rabies vaccine works for dogs, cats, and ferrets.
Guide and Assistance Dogs: Journeys abroad with a guide dog or other assistance dogs.
PET Helpline: How to contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline or make an official complaint.


Taking Pets Abroad: PETS Travel Scheme for Entering or Returning into the United Kingdom