Moving my dog to the UK

So you want to move to the United Kingdom, but aren’t sure how to bring your pet along with you. Here’s what to expect when moving my dog to the UK.

You can bring your dog to the UK only if they meet these requirements:

  • You will need to have appropriate rabies vaccinations (your dog may also need a blood test if you’re travelling from certain unlisted countries)
  • They have been microchipped
  • Has a pet passport or third-country official veterinary certificate (once microchipped, your vet should put the microchip number in this document)
  • Usually, dogs must also have tapeworm treatment

If you intend on selling the animal in the UK or for the animal to be rehomed, you’ll need to follow additional steps. When you arrive in the UK, you also need to fill in a declaration confirming that you are not going to sell or transfer the ownership of your pet.

What is a pet passport?

Pet passports are basically just that: documentation used when a pet is travelling between countries. These passports include what treatments and vaccinations your pet as had.

For those of us with pets, this document is vital when moving my dog to the UK.

To get the passport, you’ll need to bring the animal, its identity, vaccination records and any additional test results and treatments (such as rabies blood tests or tapeword treatment).

Certain veterinary clinics in EU countries can provide pet passports, or other approved countries like Norway, Switzerland, Canada, United States and various others. Make sure your countries pet passport is accepted by the UK before travelling. Of course, even if the passport comes from an approved country, it will only be valid if you meet the entry requirements.

It’s obvious why a pet passport is so important: the UK wants to ensure your dog is safe, healthy and won’t infect local animals. It’s a great preventative measure to protect animals already in the UK.

You can keep your pet passport until all the treatment spaces are full before getting a new one.

Information included on the pet passport must have:

  • Details of the pets ownership (you must sign section I if your pet passport was issued on or after 29 December 2014)
  • Description of animal (including marking or identification of animal)
  • Vaccination against rabies details
  • Rabies blood test (if needed)
  • Details of the vet issuing the passport (for passports issued from 29 December 2014)
  • Your dog’s tapeworm treatment (if needed)

Of course, Brexit rules may change this agreement between the UK and EU countries, including EU pet passports. However until rules have officially changed, we can assume the current rules will continue for now.

How to move my dog to the UK

What if I don’t follow these rules?

If you try to enter the UK without fully meeting the requirements for your dog, they may be put into quarantine for up to four months (or potentially refused entry). If UK customs and border control are required to follow these additional steps, you’ll be responsible for any charges or fees.

While it may be annoying to provide all these details about your dog, you certainly do not want to travel all the way to the UK just to be turned away.

Taking your dog on a plane to the UK

Different airlines will have various rules on taking a dog onboard during your flight to the UK. Before you travel to the UK, you’ll need to check with your airline about their rules surrounding bringing dogs and pet transport rules. If you have multiple dogs, you’ll need to check if there is a limit on how many you can bring onboard.

Most likely, you’ll need to provide proof that your pet is healthy for travel. You can usually do this with a letter from your vet or provide information in your pet passport. Just like the UK, the airline will want to make sure that your dog is safe and healthy.

If someone is bringing your pet to the UK on your behalf, they will need authorisation in writing that they are able to travel with your dog. Otherwise, the animal will likely be refused on the airplane.

Of course, there are specific rules depending on the type of animal being brought into the UK. Make sure to check the UK Gov website for rules surrounding your particular animal.

There may also be additional rules depending on your country or origin. For example, if you’re coming from a country with less-strict regulations surrounding dog vaccinations, you may need to provide additional documentation when you travel to the UK with the animal.

Moving my dog to the UK

The biggest and most important aspect of moving your dog to the UK is ensuring you have all the necessary paperwork before leaving your home country. A pet passport or third-country official veterinary certificate is absolutely vital. Make sure your dog is healthy with all its required vacations (and proof of vacations).

Once all the documents are sorted, you’ll be on your way to the UK!

Of course, make sure your visa is in order, too (whether it’s just a UK Tourist Visa or a working visa like the Tier 5 Working visa).