Relocating to the UK and want to bring your pet across the ocean? Here are some important tips to help get them to their new home happy and safe.


Requirements differ depending on whether your furry (or non-furry) friends are arriving from a non-EU listed country, like Australia and New Zealand, or an unlisted country, like South Africa.

Are you coming from an unlisted country?

Here’s what you must do when bringing your pet to the UK:

Are you coming from a listed non-EU country?

When entering from a listed country, it’s much easier to bring your pet with you. All you require is a pet passport from your nearest vet.

We advise that you double-check your vet has filled out the following information on the passport:

  • Details of ownership
  • Description of animal
  • Marking or identification of animal
  • Vaccination against rabies
  • Rabies blood test (if needed)
  • Details of the vet issuing the passport (if needed)
  • Your dog’s tapeworm treatment (if needed)

It is also important to note that you’ll have to wait 21 days from the date of their rabies vaccination before travelling.

Do you have exotic friends?

If you want to bring an exotic pet such as a rodent, rabbit, bird, invertebrate, amphibian or reptile, they must spend four months in quarantine. If you’re bringing a rabbit or rodent with you, you’ll also need a rabies import license.

When taking an animal that is not indigenous to the UK, you will need to apply for a special license. You also need to need to contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to find out:

You can be fined or prosecuted if you:

  • Allow any non-native animal to escape into the wild in the UK
  • Release any non-native animal without a license to do so
  • Keep a non-native animal without the proper license

When entering from an unlisted country the requirements are the same as above, but with one addition: A blood test must be taken at least 30 days after the animal’s rabies vaccination.

You’ll also have to wait three calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before travelling. The copy of the test results, supplied by your vet, must show that the vaccination was successful and should be sent to an approved blood testing laboratory.

Don’t leave your pet behind

It’s very important that you meet all the requirements before arriving in the UK. Failing to do so will mean that your furry (or feathery, or scaly) friends will be put in quarantine and you’ll have to pay for both the transport costs and the accommodation.

Alternatively, if this all sounds like too much to deal with and you don’t want to risk getting it wrong, there are a number of professional services who will take care of the admin for you. Three popular companies are FlyPets, Pet Movers and Airpaws.

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