Relocating Your Pet to the UK: a Step-by-step Guide
You only need to look at the figures to see Great Britain is a nation obsessed with its furry friends: the country has 17 million pet-owning homes, meaning almost two-thirds of households are animal lovers.
If your pet is like a member of the family, you will want them to join the 12 million dogs and 11 million cats when you move there. To make this happen, follow these steps.
Check you can bring your pet
Don’t arrange your dream move to London before checking your pet can travel with you.
Before you enter or return to Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) with a pet cat, dog or ferret the UK government requires you to:
- Get it microchipped
- Get it a pet passport or health certificate
- Vaccinate it against rabies – it will also need a blood test if you’re travelling from a country that is not ‘listed’
Additionally, you must:
- Use an approved route – unless you’re travelling within the UK or from Ireland
- Fill in a declaration if you are not going to sell or transfer the ownership of your pet
- Get your dogs treated for tapeworm
You run the risk of your pet being put into quarantine for up to four months if you do not adhere to these rules – or refused entry if you travel by sea.
Different rules may apply to guide and assistance dogs.
Get your pet microchipped
Your pet must be microchipped before, or at the same time as, their rabies vaccination – otherwise, they’ll need to be vaccinated again. This gives them the best chance of being identified and returned if they get lost or stolen
This can be performed by:
- A vet
- A vet nurse, student vet or student vet nurse (directed by a vet)
- A person trained in microchipping before 29 December 2014 who has practical experience
- A person who has completed an approved training course – contact DAERA if the course was in Northern Ireland
Ensure whoever performs the procedure enters the microchip number in your pet passport or health certificate – the date must precede your pet’s vaccinations.
Get your pet vaccinated against rabies
Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel it must be vaccinated against rabies with an inactivated vaccine or recombinant vaccine that’s approved in the country of use.
Your vet should request proof that your pet’s at least 12 weeks old before administering the vaccination.
For further details about rabies vaccinations for your pet, seek guidance from the UK government.
Get a pet travel document
If you’re entering Great Britain with a pet, you will need one of the following documents:
- A pet passport, if you’re travelling from a ‘Part 1’ listed country, or if it was issued in Great Britain before 1 January 2021.
- An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued in Great Britain – valid up to four months after it was issued.
- A Great Britain pet health certificate, if you’re travelling from a ‘Part 2’ or ‘not listed’ country, or a ‘Part 1’ country that does not issue pet passports
Your pet will not need this documentation if it’s entering Great Britain from: Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.
You must bring the originals of all your pet’s documents.
If you’re bringing a cat into Great Britain from Australia, you must obtain a certificate from the Australian Department of Agriculture confirming it has not been exposed to the Hendra virus in the 60 days before you left.
All this admin will be worth it when you’re enjoying your new life in London with your furry friend.