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Pet Passport

The Pet Travel Scheme is the system that allows:

  • Pet dogs, cats and ferrets to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules.
  • People in the UK to take their dogs, cats and ferrets to other countries and territories, and return with them to the UK without the need for quarantine.

The rules are to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other exotic diseases. The UK has been free from rabies for many years, but because of the existence of the disease in other countries there is a continued need for an effective system to be in place to manage the risk of rabies being introduced by imported animals.

From 1 January 2012 all pet dogs, cats and ferrets including guide & hearing dogs can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the rules of the scheme, which will be different depending on the country or territory the pet is coming from.

Animals which do not meet all the rules must be placed into quarantine until they are compliant. They might then be able to obtain early release if they can be shown to comply with the necessary pet travel requirements.

Pet travel within the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) are not subject to movement controls.

What you need to do if you are entering the UK from the EU and listed non-EU countries

Step 1 – Have your pet microchipped – Before any of the other procedures for pet travel are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified.
Step 2 – Have your pet vaccinated – After the microchip has been fitted your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination. Rabies boosters must be kept up to date. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is 21 days after the first vaccination date. A waiting period is not required for subsequent entries into the UK, provided rabies boosters are kept up to date. If the vaccination is in two parts the 21 day wait will be from the date of the second vaccination.
Step 3 – Get pet travel documentation – For animals being prepared in an EU country, you should get an EU pet passport. If you are preparing your animal in a non-EU listed country or territory you will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate (apart from Croatia, Gibraltar, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland who also issue pet passports).
Step 4 – Tapeworm treatment – (dogs only): before entering the UK, all pet dogs (including assistance dogs) must be treated for tapeworm. The treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK. There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. No treatment is required for dogs entering the UK from Finland, Ireland or Malta).
Step 5 – Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route – Your pet must enter the UK from a listed country or territory travelling with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

What you need to do if you are entering the UK from unlisted non-EU countries

Step 1 – Have your pet microchipped – Before any of the other procedures for pet travel are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified.
Step 2 – Have your pet vaccinated – After the microchip has been fitted your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination. Rabies boosters must be kept up to date.
Step 3 – Arrange a blood test – After your pet has been vaccinated, it must be blood tested to make sure the vaccine has given it a satisfactory level of protection against rabies. The blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after vaccination. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is three calendar months from the date your vet took the blood sample which led to a satisfactory test result. The three month waiting period will not apply if your pet was vaccinated and blood tested in the EU and issued with an EU pet passport before it went to an unlisted country.
Step 4 – Get pet travel documentation –You will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate.
Step 5 – Tapeworm treatment– (dogs only): before entering the UK, all pet dogs (including assistance dogs) must be treated for tapeworm. The treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK. There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. No treatment is required for dogs entering the UK from Finland, Ireland or Malta).
Step 6 – Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route – Your pet must enter the UK with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

Type of microchip

DEFRA do not specify a particular type or brand of microchip to be used but, in Europe, ISO (International Standards Organisation) Standard microchips meeting specifications 11784 or Annex A of ISO Standard 11785 are generally used. PeddyMark microchips conform to this standard.

Microchip reading

ISO Standards are used in Europe, so vets and transport companies who undertake pet travel checks are likely to have only ISO-compatible scanners. If the microchip does not meet either of these ISO Standards, it is your responsibility to ensure that the microchip can be read upon entry to the UK.

This may mean that you will need to provide a microchip reader (at your expense) to allow the chip to be read. Some ports of entry may have equipment capable of reading other types of microchip and you should check this with them before you travel.

If your pet’s microchip number is registered on a database (Petlog if a PeddyMark chip), consider updating its record with your holiday details before you travel. This could help re-unite you with your pet should it go missing while on holiday. https://www.petlog.org.uk/pet-owners.aspx