If you are planning a move to the UK from another European Union country or from the US, there is good news: your pets qualify for the EU’s Pet Travel Scheme. This program allows animals to travel more freely among EU member nations (and a few others designated as “approved countries”) with somewhat less stringent regulations. Nonetheless, you will need plenty of paperwork. The biggest advantage of Pet Travel Scheme eligibility is avoidance of quarantine.
Each of your pets will need the following documents, tests, etc. to create their “passport” for travel to the UK:
- A physical exam.
- Current rabies vaccination greater than 21 days old at the time of their exam.
- Dogs are recommended to also be vaccinated for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus and panleukopenia.
- Cats are recommended to also be vaccinated for feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia.
- Recommended additional vaccines should be given at least two weeks before departure.
- Microchip (AVID 9, AVID 10 or ISO compliant) – must be implanted prior to rabies vaccination, to link proof of vaccination with pet identity. If your pet was microchipped after receiving their vaccination, they will need a booster in order to meet this requirement.
- EU Health Certificate – filled out by an accredited veterinarian and signed in a different ink color. This certificate is valid only for 10 days after signing, but once your pet enters the UK, the certificate remains valid for another 4 months or until your pet’s rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first.
- USDA endorsements for microchip, rabies vaccination and the EU Health Certificate.
- International Health Certificate (USDA APHIS Form 7001).
- Tapeworm treatment for dogs, within 24-120 hours of departure.
There are more rules and regulations.
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, Britain does not allow importation or ownership of pit bull, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino or fila Brasileiro dogs, although technically the definition of “dangerous” is based on certain physical characteristics, not specific breeds.
Assuming your pooch isn’t dangerous – or you’re a cats-only kind of person – Fido and/or Fluffy will have to travel on an authorized airline, on authorized flights, in an airline-approved carrier.
Smart pet parents get professional help.
By now you’ve noticed several of these requirements have specific timeframes associated with them. This can all get quite confusing, and you can’t afford to make a mistake because your pet’s ability to enter the UK is at stake. All will go smoothest if the first call you make is to an accredited international pet transport company. Here’s why:
- They are the pros who do this kind of thing every day. They know what needs to be done and how to accomplish it as efficiently as possible.
- They are pet people. They understand that dogs, cats or both, your pets are cherished members of your family and should be treated accordingly, with a focus on safety and comfort to minimize stress.
- You won’t have to drive yourself crazy worrying about whether you’re getting the right paperwork, tests, exams, etc.
- You won’t have to wonder if you’ve made appropriate flight arrangements for your pets.
- You won’t have to personally usher your animals through customs when you finally arrive in the UK, with your fingers crossed behind your back hoping all goes well.
If you let the pros handle all the details, you can concentrate on keeping your pets calm and confident during the flurry of moving preparations around your house. You can help them get acquainted with their airline-approved travel kennel so it feels like “home” on their journey. Wouldn’t you rather be doing that?
Take it from these pet parents who have been through the maze of moving a pet to the UK, from Wisconsin to Surrey: “I have never been so happy to get to the other side of the process. You and your company were great to work with, very calming, professional and always available. I would not have wanted to attempt this without you.”
Or these parents of two golden retrievers who flew from Brooklyn, NY to London: “Your service in managing the paperwork, the customs clearance, selecting the best airline and route and hand-holding the vets through this timely but critical process was, I am sure, the only reason everything went through without delay or undue stress.”
Less stress is good, for you and for your pets. Moving to the UK will be a wonderful adventure, and it will be tail-wagging purrfect if your four-legged family arrives happy and on time with no paperwork glitches to mar the experience.