A UK Pet Passport will allow you to travel to the UK with a dog, cat or ferret without enduring a lengthy quarantine period. The UK is a popular destination for pet owners as it is extremely pet friendly, with many restaurants and hotels that are happy to welcome furry friends.
Obtaining a UK Pet Passport, is a rather straight forward process that can take between 1 day and 4 months. How long it takes to get a UK Pet Passport depends mostly on where you are traveling from. This is because there are different requirements for pets travelling from different country groups (EU, non-EU listed or unlisted). The process will be quicker when traveling from the EU or listed countries as your pet will only need a microchip and rabies vaccination. However, those traveling from an unlisted country, will require a rabies titer test that will take around 4 months. Only dogs, cats and ferrets are permitted to get UK Pet Passports. However, you can travel to the UK with other pets, there are just other requirements which we will discuss in this article.
In this article we will walk you through the requirements of obtaining a UK Pet Passport for each pet species, and how long it will likely take you.
On October 17, 2019, United Kingdom and the European Union reached an agreement on the conditions for the departure of the UK from the EU and also defined a transition period to negotiate terms for that agreement. The agreement has been approved by both the UK Parliament and the EU Commission.
The next step in the process will be the negotiating period. During this time, all legislation currently in effect for pets traveling to the UK and between the UK and the EU will remain in effect. Until the end of December 31, 2020, UK Pet Passports will be valid for travel within the EU.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is a UK Pet Passport?
- What does a UK Pet Passport contain?
- What is the process of obtaining a UK Pet Passport?
- What are the requirements of obtaining a UK Pet Passport and how long will each take?
- How much does a UK Pet Passport cost?
- What breeds are banned from the UK?
- What are the requirements for birds, rabbits, rodents, lizards and amphibians?
- Can I take my puppy or kitten?
- What if I lose my UK Pet Passport?
- Can I travel to the UK without an UK Pet Passport?
- Can I fly with my pet in the cabin of the plane?
- Bottom line
What is a UK Pet Passport?
Since 2000, your dog, cat or ferret can have their very own Pet Passport under the Pets Travel Scheme, which is also known as ‘PETS’. Having a UK Pet passport means that pet owners are able to bring their pets to the UK without having to endure a lengthy quarantine period. A pet passport essentially shows that your dog, cat or ferret is fit and healthy to travel with you.
What does a UK Pet Passport contain?
A UK Pet Passport contains all the documents required to travel with your pet. It will basically prove that your pet is fit and healthy to travel.
A UK Pet Passport contains the following information:
- Details of ownership (name, address, passport number, telephone, etc.)
- Description of the animal (name, species, breed, date of birth, etc.)
- Microchip details
- Official veterinarian’s details
- Rabies vaccination certificate
- An optional photo
- Rabies antibody titer test results
- Anti-echinococcus treatment record
- Additional parasite treatment records
- Additional vaccinations recorded and treatment records
At minimum, your UK pet passport will contain those listed 1-5. These are compulsory in order to travel to the UK. Those listed 6-10 are potential requirements that your pet may need if you are traveling outside the UK.
All records are signed and stamped by your official veterinarian with official stickers from the medication used.
What is the process of getting a UK Pet Passport?
The UK Has different entry requirements depending on where you are travelling from, and the species of your pet.
You will need to check the requirements for your pet’s species and where you are travelling from. The rules for bringing your pet dog, cat or ferret into the UK depend on whether you’re coming from:
- an EU country, or another country the UK accepts pet passports from
- a listed country
- an unlisted country – a country the UK does not accept a pet passport from, and one that is not a listed country
If you are traveling from within the EU, the process will be simple. It is likely that your pet will only require a rabies vaccination and microchip. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are traveling to the UK, Finland, Republic of Ireland or Malta with a dog, he or she will need a tapeworm treatment.
If you are travelling from outside of the EU, it is likely that your pet will require additional treatments and vaccinations.
Find out the requirements of your destination country before visiting the vet. You will also need to check whether there are any requirements to return to your home country.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Andorra Azores and Madeira Canary Islands French Guiana Gibraltar Greenland and the Faroe Islands Guadeloupe Iceland Liechtenstein Martinique Monaco Norway Reunion San Marino Switzerland Vatican City
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba), Bosnia-Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Russian Federation, Saint Maarten, Singapore, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, USA (includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US virgin Islands), Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
VISIT THE VET
Before booking an appointment, make sure that the vet is authorised to issue UK pet passports. Not all of them are.
At the appointment, your vet will administer a microchip and rabies vaccination if your pet hasn’t already had them. They will also perform a basic health examination to ensure your pet is well enough to travel. Once the veterinarian is happy your pet is ready for travel, they will review all the paperwork and complete the pet passport book.
The appointment should take no longer than half an hour.
You will need to bring the following with you to the vet appointment:
- Your passport
- Your local address
- Microchip information (if your pet already has one) – date of implantation, chip number and issuing company information (this info is also on the Annex IV)
- Pet’s rabies certificate or rabies titre test results no less than 21 days old (if your pet has one)
- Annex IV form completed by your home vet and endorsed by your country’s official veterinary regulatory body (if you are from outside the EU)
- Pet photo (optional but recommended) – the size should be 2 x 2 inches (5cm x 5cm). It is better to have one as you do not want to give any customs official a reason to deny your pet entry into a country.
If your pet hasn’t yet been microchipped or vaccinated against rabies, don’t worry, your vet will complete these at the appointment.
What are the requirements for a UK Pet Passport and how long will each take?
No matter where you are traveling from, in order to get a UK pet passport, your dog, cat or ferret will need the following basic requirements:
- Rabies vaccination
- Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)
REQUIREMENT 1: MICROCHIPPING
Your pet must have a microchip (“transponder”), if you would like to get them a UK pet passport.
We recommend that this is the first step in the process of obtaining a pet passport. This is because if your pet isn’t microchipped before they get their rabies vaccination, then the vaccination may not be valid. This would mean your pet would have to get vaccinated again.
Only dogs, cats and ferrets require microchips. In order to get your pet microchipped, you will simply need to take them to the vet. Alternatively, some UK charities offer this service for free, check How to get Dog Microchipping for Free in the UK .
REQUIREMENT 2: RABIES VACCINATION
In order to qualify for a UK pet passport, your dog, cat or ferret must be up to date on their rabies vaccinations. There is no exception to this rule. Other pet species do not require rabies vaccinations.
In order to travel to the UK, your dog, cat or ferret must be vaccinated against rabies. Your vet needs proof that your pet is at least 12 weeks old before vaccinating them.
In order to get your pet vaccinated against rabies, you will just need to book an appointment with your vet.
TRAVELLING FROM EU COUNTRIES OR LISTED COUNTRIES
You must wait 21 days after the vaccination (or the last of the primary course of vaccinations) before bringing your pet to the UK.
TRAVELLING FROM UNLISTED COUNTRIES
Your dog, cat or ferret must also have a rabies titer test, also known as a rabies blood test. This test will show that your pet’s rabies vaccination was successful. See the rabies blood test section for more information.
REQUIREMENT 3: TAPEWORM TREATMENT
If you are traveling to the UK, dogs will also need a tapeworm treatment. This doesn’t apply to cats or ferrets, or if you are travelling from Finland, Norway or Malta.
Your dog must have been treated against tapeworms between 24 hours (1 day) and 120 hours (5 days) before entering these countries. If you fail to have your dog treated within this time scale, then he or she may be put into quarantine for up to 4 months.
This must be administered by a vet and officially recorded in your pet’s UK pet passport.
If you are traveling outside the EU your pet may require the following additional treatments or vaccinations:
- Rabies titer test / rabies blood test
- Import permit / quarantine
REQUIREMENT 4: RABIES TITER TEST
If you are traveling to the UK from an unlisted country, your pet will require a rabies blood test to show that their rabies vaccination was successful.
- Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination.
- Your vet must then send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory from either inside the EU or outside the EU.
- Your pet’s blood test results must show a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml.
- You must then wait 3 months from the date the blood sample was taken before you travel – you do not need to wait if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to an unlisted country.
- The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in a third-country official veterinary certificate.
REQUIREMENT 5: IMPORT PERMIT / QUARANTINE
Dogs, cats and ferrets will not require an import permit, as they are able to obtain UK Pet Passports. However, rabbits and rodents will require an import permit and may need to stay in quarantine.
If you are traveling to the UK from a non-EU country or an unlisted country with a rabbit or rodent, they will likely need to stay in quarantine on arrival. You do not have to put your pet rabbit or rodent in quarantine if it travels from an EU country and it’s been living there for at least 4 months.
- You must book a quarantine carrier and premises that is authorised by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
- You must then ask the premises for an ‘Application for a Licence to Land an Animal for Detention in Quarantine’ form. You must fill in part A, then send the form to the quarantine premises.
- The quarantine premises or APHA will send you or your representative a landing licence, boarding document and rabies cargo sticker, which you must show to the transport company when your pet travels.
For more information on quarantine, check the gov website here.
How much does a UK Pet Passport cost in 2020?
The cost of a UK Pet Passport will generally cost around £60-£100, £60 for the passport application and around £20 for a microchip and £20 for a rabies vaccination. This is an average cost. The price you pay will depend on the following:
- The country you get your pet’s passport in
- The veterinary clinic that you visit
- The species of your pet
- Whether your pet already has a microchip and rabies vaccination
Firstly, different countries and veterinary clinics will have different prices for a UK pet passport. If you want to save some money, check the prices of a few different veterinary clinics.
Additionally, some pets species may require more treatments and vaccines than others. For example, only dogs will require tapeworm treatments when travelling to the UK.
If your pet already has a microchip, and a recent rabies vaccination, you will probably pay less for your UK pet passport. This is because you will only be paying for the health check and the documents.
For more information on the cost of a UK Pet Passport, check How Much Does a Dog Passport Cost in the UK?  or How Much Does a Cat Passport Cost in the UK? .
What dog breeds are banned from the UK?
In the UK, it’s against the law to own certain types of dog. These are the:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasileiro
It’s also against the law to:
- sell a banned dog
- abandon a banned dog
- give away a banned dog
- breed from a banned dog
For more information, please check the government website here.
What are the requirements for other pet species?
There are no restrictions on bringing pet rodents, rabbits, birds, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles to the UK from EU countries.
Contact APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) if you’re travelling with a different pet.
Telephone: 03000 200 301
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
Can I take my puppy or kitten to the UK?
Yes, as long as your puppy or kitten is at least 4 months old. This is because Ireland requires dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies, which can only be administered to pets over the age of 3 months. You must then wait 21 days after the vaccination, before entering Ireland. Additionally, proof of age should be available.
Can I travel without an UK Pet Passport or EU Pet Passport
You may enter the UK with a dog, cat or ferret as long as they are mircochipped, vaccinated against rabies. If you do not have an official pet passport, you can enter with a third-country official veterinary certificate.
What if I lose my UK Pet Passport?
If a passport is lost or stolen, it can be replaced as long as you have evidence of the animal’s vaccination record and blood test result (if applicable). Both records must also show your pet's microchip number. Details of the lost or stolen passport, including its serial number, country and date of issue (if known) should be recorded on the Pet Passport Control Sheet. We recommend that you scan photos of your pet passport in case you lose it.
Can I take my pet in the plane cabin with me?
It is a possibility yes. If you are the owner of a small dog or cat, then you may be able to take them in the cabin with you. However, only some airlines will allow this.
Obtaining a UK Pet Passport is pretty straightforward and should take you no longer than 24 hours. However, there are some strict requirements when it comes to the timings.
Getting your pet’s microchip and rabies vaccination will just an hour or so at the vet.
However, if you are traveling from outside the EU or from an unlisted country, your pet will also require a rabies titer test. In these cases, you should allow yourself at least 4 months. If you want to be extra careful, allow yourself even longer in case your pet’s rabies blood test fails.
Additionally, if bringing a dog to the UK, you will need to have him or her treated against tapeworm between 24 hours and 5 days before entering the UK.
Hope this has been helpful.
Happy & safe travels!