What You Should Know About Moving to the UK With Your Pet


For many pet owners, the thought of moving to the UK to start a new life without their furry friend is inconceivable, similar to leaving behind a loved one. However, navigating through the various rules and regulations can make the process more daunting than simply tucking the pet into a holdall and hopping on a plane.

If you are travelling to the United Kingdom and wish to bring your furry companion along, there are several aspects to keep in mind. Whether you are considering pet travel from the US to the UK or from the EU to the UK, the process can be bewildering to the novice. In this comprehensive read, we aim to get into the gist of things and discuss the steps involved in moving to the UK with your pet and the preparations necessary before setting foot in the county with your furry friend.

What Pets Are Allowed into the United Kingdom?

When it comes to travelling with your pet to the UK, you must meet specific criteria depending on the type of animal you intend to bring. Common pets like dogs, cats and pet ferrets are generally allowed, provided you have the necessary health and documentation requirements for the animal.

It’s also paramount to note that some dog breeds are banned in the country and therefore won’t be allowed. If you wish to import a puppy into the UK, you’re required to first get a non-commercial UK health certificate done by a licensed vet. It should also be issued within 10 days of entering the country.

The regulations for bringing other animals into the UK vary depending on whether they’re being imported from the EU or outside this region. Importing pet rodents, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and rabbits from the EU to Great Britain is generally unrestricted, but if you intend to bring a pet bird, you’ll need to provide a health certificate.

In regards to bringing in pets from outside the EU, the rules and regulations on pets that are permitted differ slightly. If you intend to bring in pet rodents or rabbits, they will be required to be put into quarantine for four months from the date you arrive. You are allowed to bring in pet amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates without the need for a health certificate. However, you’re required to have a signed declaration from the owner stating that the animals are not for sale, are healthy and fit, and are able to complete the journey.

What Dog Breeds are Banned in the UK?

Unfortunately, there are several dog breeds prohibited in the UK, and therefore, not allowed to enter the country. These include the Japanese Tosa, Pit Bull Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, and Dogo Argentino.

Quarantine Requirements

Quarantine regulations and requirements in the UK have undergone significant changes. In the past, it was customary to subject pets, especially dogs and cats to a mandatory 6-month quarantine period in kennels. However, since the implementation of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), quarantine is no longer necessary as long as the rules of the scheme are followed.

PETS is responsible for allowing pet owners to travel with their cats, dogs and ferrets to the UK. Qualified EU nations and ‘’listed’’ non-EU countries are eligible for entry or re-entry. The list encompasses select non-EU nations in Europe and various countries worldwide. Notably, pet travel from New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Australia and the USA is also included in the scheme.

To avoid quarantining your furry friend, there are some rules that you need to follow. These include getting the pet microchipped, getting tapeworm treatment, rabies vaccination and a blood test after 30 days to ascertain rabies inoculation has succeeded in providing adequate protection.

The primary requirements for pet travel to the UK are:

  • Vaccination & health certifications
  • Pet travel document or passport
  • Tapeworm treatment
  • Microchip

When obtaining a passport, ensure you have your pet, their identification, vaccination records and if required, rabies blood test results. In addition, ask for a Great Britain pet health certificate from your veterinarian. However, please note that your furry friend must arrive in GB within 10 days of the certificate’s issuance.

What are the Pet Travel Requirements from the EU?

If you’re travelling with your pet from the EU and hold a pet passport issued within the EU, then you won’t need an animal health certificate. Also, there are specific regulations applying to different types of pets being brought into the UK from the EU. GB allows the entry of pet rabbits, rodents, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates from EU nations without any restrictions or the need for a health certificate.

To bring your furry companion from the EU to the UK, you must hold one of the following documents:

  • A pet passport issued in Part 1 listed nation.
  • A pet passport issued in a European Union nation.
  • A pet passport issued in the UK before Jan 1st, 2021, provided the journey is a direct one from an EU country to the UK.

What are the Requirements for Pet Travel from the US?

If you are considering moving to the UK with your pet from the USA, the process differs slightly compared to travelling from the EU. Similarly, it is important to ensure that your pet is individually identified with an ISO-compliant microchip.

It is also important to get a UK health certificate for the pet. This can be issued by either a Military Vet or a USDA Accredited Vet. The former refers to a Veterinary Corps Officer or a civilian government vet employed by the United States Army Veterinary Service at military treatment facilities.

Once the UK or EU health certificate has been completed and signed by the pet’s USDA Accredited Vet, it should be endorsed by the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services Endorsement Office.

What are the Pet Travel Requirements from other Nations?

If you are travelling with your pet from an unlisted country, there are specific requirements that must be followed. Your pet must be microchipped according to the standards set by the UK government, and it must also be vaccinated against rabies. It is important to note that there are no exemptions to this requirement for pets coming from unlisted countries, even if they have a current rabies vaccination.

After your pet has been vaccinated against rabies, a blood sample must be taken at least 30 days following the vaccination. It’s crucial to note that entry into the UK is not permitted until three months have passed since the satisfactory blood sample was taken by your vet. In addition to this, you will need to acquire an official third-country veterinary certificate, as specific documentation is required. Keep in mind that if you are travelling from an unlisted country, it is mandatory to follow an authorized route and use an approved transport company for your pet’s travel arrangements.


With the different regulations and requirements specific to the type of pet and country of origin, navigating the process of pet travel is not always straightforward. As such, it is important to familiarise yourself with the specific guidelines and documentation required to ascertain a smooth and stress-free journey for both you and your furry friend.

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