The Pet Travel Scheme allows you to bring your cat, dog or ferret back into the UK from approved countries without spending six months in quarantine. Your pet must meet the rules of the Pet Travel Scheme, which depend on the country or territory they will be entering or returning to the UK from. Animals which do not meet all the rules will be placed in quarantine until they are deemed healthy and safe.
Remember, the Pet Travel Scheme only allows you to come back into the UK.
You still have to comply with the regulations for taking your pet to other countries, if applicable.
Why does my pet need a passport?
These requirements are to keep the UK free of rabies and a species of tapeworm called Echinococcus multilocularis. Both conditions can be fatal if contracted by humans, and at present are not found within the U.K.
How does the Pet Travel Scheme work?
You are responsible for ensuring your pet meets all the requirements for entering the UK. Once the criteria have been met, your vet will certify each stage of the preparation process and perform a final health check on your pet before issuing the correct documentation. In order to do this your vet must have received additional DEFRA training and the qualification of Official Veterinary Surgeon.
For your pet to return to the UK from other EU Member States and other approved non-EU countries* there are a number of stages that have to be completed in order to obtain an EU pet passport.
1. MICROCHIP: Your pet must be microchipped at the start of the process.
2. RABIES VACCINE: Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies with an approved vaccine. This must be given after your pet is microchipped. You must wait at least 21 days after your pet’s rabies vaccination before they are able to travel.
3. CERTIFICATION: An Official Veterinary Surgeon will certify the microchip and vaccination, perform a health check on your pet to ensure it is fit to travel, and issue an EU Pet Passport. Each passport has a unique number and is logged both here at the vets and with DEFRA.
4. TRAVEL: You must transport your pet via an approved route.
5. RETURNING TO THE UK: Pets can re-enter the UK freely*** on the passport, as long as they have received tapeworm treatment at an appropriate time (step 6).
6. TAPEWORM TREATMENT: Dogs must be treated for tapeworm 1-5 days before arrival in the UK.
To travel to an unlisted country and be able to return to the UK /EU at a later date further requirements must be met. There are multiple ways of doing this that can satisfy the entry requirements for the UK/EU. However, the simplest way will be to obtain an EU pet passport as follows:
Follow steps 1 and 2 as previously detailed (microchip and rabies vaccine)
3. BLOOD SAMPLE: The pet must have a blood sample taken no sooner than 30 days after rabies vaccination that is tested to assess vaccine response. This will give a pass/fail result.
4. CERTIFICATION: An Official Veterinary Surgeon will certify the microchip, vaccination, blood test results, and perform a health check on your pet to ensure it is fit to travel, and issue an EU Pet Passport. Each passport has a unique number and is logged both here at the vets and with DEFRA.
5. TRAVEL: You must transport your pet via an approved route.
6. RETURNING TO THE UK: Once your pet has been issued with an EU pet passport they will be free to travel*** to their destination, and to re-enter the UK, assuming they have received tapeworm treatment at an appropriate time (step 7).
7. TAPEWORM TREATMENT: Dogs must be treated for tapeworm 1-5 days before arrival in the UK.
Is there anything else I should do?
While you are abroad, your pet may be at risk of other serious diseases transmitted by ticks and biting insects which are not present in the UK, and can be passed on to humans. We advise treating your pet for ticks and biting insects while you are abroad and can provide you with further information on the risk levels and options for treating your pet while you are away.
What if my move is permanent?
If your pet is travelling abroad from the UK and not returning, the Pet Travel Scheme does not necessarily apply. You should contact the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency for details of the requirements for the destination country.
Full information on the Pet Travel Scheme can be found on the GOV UK website.
The helpline number is 0370 241 1710 (Mon-Fri: 8am-6pm)
* See DEFRA website or contact DEFRA for a list of non-EU approved countries.
** Any country not in the EU and not listed by DEFRA under the PETS scheme.
***The Pet Travel Scheme only allows you to come back into the UK; you still have to comply with the regulations for taking your pet to other countries, if applicable.