Moving to the UK

What You Need to Know to Bring a Pet to the UK

Updated August 24, 2023
bring a pet to the uk

Wondering if you can you move to England with your dog or kitty? Can you bring a pet to the UK?

The answer is yes! You just have to follow the rules… and there are quite a few.

Keep in mind the same rules apply to bringing a dog, cat or ferret into the UK. Who has a pet ferret? That does seem random but I’m sure there’s a logical reason why ferrets have the same status as cats and dogs.

The main rule is pets can’t travel into the UK WITH you, they have to come via an approved route or carrier.

If you’re not sure about shipping your baby via cargo read to the bottom to find an alternative.

The Rules to Bring a Pet to the UK

Your pet will need to

1. Enter the UK via an approved route and carrier
2. Be micro-chipped
3. Have a pet passport or health certificate (see below)
4. Be vaccinated against rabies.
5. Have a tapeworm treatment for dogs

Find all the details below to find out how to bring a pet to the UK legally!

1. Bring a Pet to the UK Via an Approved Route

There are approved travel routes and companies you must use to bring a pet into England, Wales or Scotland with some exceptions.

For example, you DON’T need to use an approved route IF you’re traveling from Ireland to any country in Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

Bringing a pet to the UK from Ireland or N Ireland IS allowed via a private plane or boat.

Your pet can travel with another person if you authorize it in writing.

2. Microchip Your Pet

Before travel your pet needs to be micro-chipped

  • Before or at the same time as their rabies vaccination
  • By a an approved vet, nurse or trained microchip professional
  • Microchip number needs to go on pet passport or health certificate


3. Get a Pet Passport or Health Certificate

  • Pet Passport OR Health Certificate Countries

If you’re traveling from any of these Part 1 countries, Great Britain accepts pet passports OR a GB pet health certificate: EU countries and more

  • Health Certificate Only Countries

If you’re traveling from any of these Part 2 countries, Great Britain only accepts a GB pet health certificate (not a pet passport) : countries include the USA, Australia, Canada

  • What if Your Country’s Not Listed?

Additional rules if the country you’re traveling from isn’t on the list of Part 1 or 2.


4. Get a Rabies Vaccination

Your dog, cat or ferret must be at least 12 weeks old before they are vaccinated against rabies and must be vaccinated before travel to Great Britain.

  • Remember to get your pet microchipped at the same time as their rabies vaccination.
  • You’ll have to wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before traveling with your pet into Great Britain.
  • If your country isn’t listed as a Part 1 or 2 country then different rules apply here.


5. Get a Tapeworm Treatment for Your Dog

Dogs need to have a tapeworm treatment recorded in their pet passport or health certificate no less than 24 hours and no more than 5 days (120) hours before entering Great Britain.

If you don’t follow these rules (above) your pet may be put into quarantine for up for 4 months. Which wouldn’t be much fun for you or your pet!

Aren’t these pet carriers cute? Most are airline approved too.

More Rules to Bring a Pet to the UK

Your pet shouldn’t arrive more than 5 days before you do (it’s owner) or there’s a whole new set of rules!

You’ll also need to fill out a declaration that you’re not going to sell or transfer ownership of your pet. As if you would!

These rules only apply to cats, dogs and ferrets, If you have another pet or animal you want to bring, then different rules apply.

Arriving in Great Britain with your pet general guidance.

If you would prefer your pet to travel with you into the UK, I found this option to fly into France and use a pet courier to enter the UK. I haven’t used this service and am not endorsing it, but the reviews look solid and this could be a viable option if you’re squeamish about leaving your baby to travel via cargo.

Finally – Is Your Dog Breed Allowed into the UK?

Be aware there are banned breeds of dogs that are NOT allowed into the UK. These dog breeds are banned in the UK

  • Pit bull terrier
  • Japanese tosa
  • Dogo argentino
  • Fila brasileiro

I’ve also written a page dedicated to bringing a pet to the UK in my 6 month Guide to Living in England

All the best and let me know if you have any questions or comments on bringing your pet into the UK. Best of luck!

About Author

With over 30 years in a creative role in advertising and publishing, and a lifetime of journeys between the US and UK, I've created Hipoverfifty for you. I hope my journey and perspective will guide you on yours.