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Pet travel rules

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All pet dogs, cats and ferrets can enter or re-enter the UK without quarantine provided they meet the applicable rules.

The Pet Travel Scheme is the system that allows:

  • pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries 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 European Union (EU) and certain non-EU countries, and return with them to the UK without the need for quarantine.

The rules aim to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other diseases.

Some changes to the Pet Travel Scheme came into effect across the EU on 29 December 2014. From this date:

  • animals need to be at least 12 weeks old before being vaccinated
  • microchips implanted after this date must be implanted by a qualified person
  • a new style Pet Passport with improved security features will be issued
  • a declaration will be available to facilitate travel with more than 5 animals to a show or competition. Proof must be provided that the animals are registered to attend an event and provide contact details.

Animals which do not meet all the rules must be licensed into quarantine. They might then be able to obtain early release if they comply with the necessary pet travel requirements. The rules will be different depending on the country the pet is returning from:

  • listed third countries are those where the EU considers there is negligible risk of Rabies (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) or there is convincing evidence that there are effective systems to manage Rabies (e.g. USA)
  • unlisted third countries are those that are neither in the EU nor listed as described above. 

To see which countries are listed and unlisted please visit gov.uk (external link).