The Pets Travel Scheme exists to enable pet dogs, cats and ferrets to travel between the UK and other EC member countries without the need for them to enter quarantine for an extended period. The aim of the scheme is to prevent the introduction of Rabies into the UK.
The scheme includes travel to and from all EC member states and certain other listed countries, for a full list of countries that are listed, consult the DEFRA website.
If you are planning to travel with your pet from an EC member state or a listed country, you must follow the steps outlined below.
- 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.
- 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 travel is 21 days after the first vaccination date. A waiting period is not required for subsequent entries into the UK, providing 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.
- 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).
- 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 into the UK. There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. No treatment is required for dogs entering the UK from Finland, Ireland or Malta.
- 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.
In the less likely event that you are planning to travel to the UK from (or through) a non-listed country, the rules are different. We are happy to discuss this with you, should the need arise. Further information is available on the Defra website.