How to Import Your Pets into the UK

Importing pets into the UK

If you’re thinking about moving to the UK from another country, there’s a lot to consider. Moving overseas takes planning and preparation – from opening a UK bank account to getting the correct UK visa sorted out, you need to make sure that certain things are in place before you arrive in the UK. For some people wanting to move to the UK, they will also want to bring their beloved animals. Pets are like family members, and for some it is hard to imagine not coming home to their cat, dog or rabbit.

From quarantine to pet passports and regulations, here’s everything you need to know about moving your pets over to the UK.

What type of animals can come to the UK without going into quarantine?

As long as they meet the strict criteria of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), dogs, cats, ferrets and horses from outside of the UK can enter England without quarantine. However, the rules of the Pet Travel Scheme differ depending on which country your pet is from.

For rodents, rabbits, birds, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians coming to the UK from EU countries, there are no restrictions. However, if you want to bring any rodents or rabbits that are from countries outside the EU, they will need a rabies import license and must spend four months in quarantine.

What is a Rabies Import License?

A Rabies Import License is a licence that allows the importation of live animals covered by the Rabies Order 1974. This license should not be used to import pet dogs, cats and ferrets.

There are some cases where imported animals are covered by the Rabies Order and exempt from quarantine if the introduction of rabies is minimal. This form must be completed for the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) to decide if quarantine is necessary.

What is the Pet Travel Scheme?

The Pet Travel Scheme is an organisation that allows animals to travel with ease between member countries without having to go into quarantine. Included in PETS is the Pet Passport;  a document that officially records information related to a specific animal. A Pet Passport is a one off cost of between £150 and £250.

Rules for Cats, Dogs and Ferrets entering the UK

You can enter the UK with your pet cat, dog or ferret if it:

  • has been microchipped.
  • has a pet passport or third-country official veterinary certificate.
  • has been vaccinated against rabies.
  • has had a blood test if it has travelled from an unlisted country.
  • in most cases, dogs should also have had tapeworm treatment.

If you do not comply, or travel by sea, then there is a risk that your pet may be put into quarantine.

Can I import animals that aren’t native to the UK?

If you want to bring a pet that isn’t native to the UK, then there are other rules that you must adhere to. You must also apply for a license to import live non-native animals into the UK, which then helps the APHA to decide if any animals you wish to bring to the UK need to be quarantined.

You should get in touch with APHA to find out the following:

  • if you’re eligible to apply for a licence.
  • how long a licence lasts for.
  • what happens if you lose your licence.

Should the animal need to be quarantined, you must arrange this before you move to the UK. Non-native animals are usually quarantined for four months before they can come into England.

What defines an animal as non-native to the UK?

APHA defines non-native animals and plants as species that have been deliberately moved outside their natural environment by humans, and because of this, most of these non-native species are unable to survive in an unfamiliar and uncontrolled environment, causing them to eventually die out.

What does Invasive Alien Species mean?

Non-native animals who are removed from their natural habitat and can adapt to their surroundings, establish themselves in the wild and cause significant ecological and economic damage are classed as invasive alien species (IAS). If you want to bring an IAS into the UK, you need to apply for a permit for species covered by the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation.

These animals include:

  • Amur sleeper.
  • Asian hornet.
  • Small Indian mongoose.
  • Bryant’s fox squirrel.
  • Chinese mitten crab.
  • Coypu.
  • Racoon.
  • Red Eared Slider
  • Grey Squirrel.
  • Siberian chipmunk
  • South American Coati.

Once you have applied for the correct license, you will then be informed of whether your pet needs to stay in quarantine. After the quarantine period is over, you should arrange for the necessary travel arrangements, get your pet insurance sorted and book your pet in for a vet check up.

For any advice regarding your move to the UK, get in touch with our expert visa consultants and immigration lawyers today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *