Pet Transporters to the UK
Pet Transporters, are you planning on moving your pets to the UK? Since the United Kingdom is a frequent destination for pet travel, we have decided to cover the rules and requirements for importing pets. If the following rules are followed correctly there is no quarantine for cats and dogs in the UK. It is a delicate process to ensure building a safe and smooth move.
The following guidelines will ensure your pet a safe and happy trip to the United Kingdom.
Pet Transporters and Import Requirements for the UK
Because the UK is considered a rabies-free country, the import requirements must be strictly followed to prevent quarantine upon arrival. The order in which these requirements must be completed is:
- Microchip (implanted and scanned prior to the administration of a rabies vaccine)
- Rabies Vaccination and Certificate (must be at least 21 days old prior to the final vet visit)
- Rabies Antibody Titer Test (if you’re coming from an “unlisted country”)
- EU Health Certificate (Annex IV)
- Tapeworm Treatment (for dogs only)
- Endorsement of Paperwork
Other Considerations for Pets Entering the UK:
- Pets should ideally arrive in the UK on a one-year rabies vaccine or a three-year vaccine that is in its first year of validity. What to do if your pet is in the second or third year of their valid rabies vaccine? You will need to provide additional records to prove that your pet’s rabies vaccine has never lapsed since its most recent one-year vaccine. According to most pet owners it is easier to get a new vaccine before traveling.
- The UK requires pets to be covered under a “Transfer of Residency” (ToR) declaration in order to avoid Customs VAT upon arrival. To be clear, a ToR number is not required to import your pet into the UK. However, you will need to pay the Customs VAT if you do not have a ToR number at the time of your pet’s arrival. You can read more about the new rabies requirements and the ToR updates here.
Health Certificates and USDA Endorsement
For export from the United States to any foreign country, your pet must have a country-specific health certificate issued by a USDA-Accredited Veterinarian. This health certificate must be sent to your state’s USDA office for endorsement. It must be issued within 10 days of travel and endorsed by the USDA.
You need to ask your veterinarian if they have the proper USDA accreditation. Failure to do so could result in extra time and expenses associated with additional appointments and testing. If you are working with a Van-247 coordinator, we will work closely with your veterinarian to ensure all complicated requirements are met.
Crate Training and Traveling as Manifest Cargo
Within the United Kingdom, pet transport may only arrive as manifest cargo. This is for your pet’s safety and accountability. It’s important to start acclimating your pet to its travel crate early on. Crate training should be practiced often. What to do when my pet is a very large dog? You may need to have a custom crate built to accommodate their size in manifest cargo.
Commercial versus Non-Commercial Pet Transporters
Pet owners must travel to the UK within five days of their pet’s arrival. This is done in order to avoid the move being labelled as a “commercial” shipment. The “5-day rule” is often referred to and is applicable to all countries in the European Union. If you cannot travel within five days of your pet, you can still send them a commercial health certificate. However, the timeline will be tighter, and a tax will be imposed upon the arrival of your pet.
Commercial pet moves require a health certificate to be completed (and endorsed by a government entity) within 48 hours of the pet’s departure. If you don’t have a government office (like a USDA office in the United States, for example) nearby you may need to consider having your pet depart from a different city to make the short timeframe work.
Once your pet arrives in the UK as a commercial movement, you will be expected to pay at least 44 GBP or more depending on the size of your pet in additional DEFRA taxes. Also, the arrival process for a commercial move may take more time than a non-commercial move considering the stricter requirements.
Leaving the UK with Pets
What will be required from you? You’ll need to follow the pet import requirements for your destination country prior to departure in order to leave the UK. You may need to obtain an export certificate from DEFRA depending on what country you are traveling to.
What if I want to return to the UK in the future? We recommend getting in touch with a veterinarian to issue an EU Pet Passport before leaving the country. Furthermore, it may be a good idea to have the vet in the UK also administer a Rabies Antibody Titer Test if you plan on traveling to an unlisted country. That way, you can avoid the 3-month wait period upon your return to the United Kingdom.
Do you have questions about moving your pet to the UK that we did not cover above? Let us know how we can help!
We know planning pet transport to the UK can be an overwhelming experience. Contact our Van-247 team to manage the details for you.
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