Importation of Animals
Importation into the UK
Quarantine regulations are still in force in the UK and it is illegal to disobey them. However, regulations for the importation of animals from Europe have been revised and for the latest information you should contact Pet Travel Scheme Opens in a new window Helpline on 0870 241 1710.
The importation of pets (including hamsters, gerbils, mice and birds) into the UK is strictly controlled and it is essential that anyone intending to import a pet should obtain the latest information.
The Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Animals) Order 1974, as amended, gives powers to destroy animals landed without a pet passport. In addition the Act has powers to fine or imprison owners of animals so it is important that the requirements are met.
New legislation introduced in 2004 has established health requirements for pet animals travelling between E.U. Member States or into the Community from third countries. The E.C. Regulation allowed the UK to broadly retain its requirements for importation of dogs and cats from certain countries, (i.e. if certain requirements are meet they can be imported without the need for quarantine). However, they go further to cover import requirements for other species including ferrets, rabbits and rodents.
Under the Regulations dogs and cats can be imported into the UK from Member States and listed third countries provided they have been micro-chipped, vaccinated and blood tested. These animals must wait at least six months after the blood sample was taken before they are able to enter the UK without quarantine and must be treated against ticks and tapeworms 24-48 hours before being imported.
Ferrets can enter the UK from Member States provided they are micro-chipped, vaccinated against rabies and treated against ticks and tapeworms. Ferrets from listed third countries must wait at least six months following rabies vaccination before they are able to enter the UK without quarantine.
Pet rodents, rabbits, birds, invertebrates (but not bees and crustaceans) ornamental tropical fish, amphibia and reptiles can enter the UK from other Member States and some other European countries without meeting any rabies requirements.
Rabbits and rodents from all other third countries are still required to undergo 6 months quarantine on arrival in the UK
Detailed information can be obtained from DEFRA Opens in a new window but the procedure is as follows:
· Reserve accommodation at an approved premise
· Reserve an authorised carrying agent to take the animal from the point of entry into the UK to the premises
· Check that the port/airport of entry is approved
· Complete the application form and send it to DEFRA
· DEFRA sends an import license to the carrying agent.
· DEFRA sends a 'boarding document' to you or your agent confirming the license and acting as evidence that importing your pet has been approved.
· Arrange for your pet to be transported, obeying the regulations (different for sea and air) about crating,labelling etc
You are advised to visit the premises and book your pet in early, as kennels and catteries are very popular. You can talk to other pet owners and see which premises they recommend or talk to other experts such as vets and breeders. You should agree all costs in advance and make sure that they cover all possible eventualities. The RSPCA Opens in a new window can provide a list of quarantine kennels/catteries.
Importation into overseas countries
Regulations for the importation of animals into overseas locations vary, depending on the country concerned. Before you move overseas you are advised to contact DEFRA. Opens in a new window