(239) 344-8959

Get a Quote

Brexit and Traveling with Your Pet to the UK

Published on: January 14, 2019  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

London Bridge

This article has been updated on January 23, 2023.


The rules for importing pets to the UK have not changed. 

The pet owners who should be concerned are British citizens/residents who want to travel or move with their pets from the UK to an EU country.

If you will be traveling with your pet from the UK to the EU or Northern Ireland, the pet import requirements have changed from January 1, 2021, onwards. The rules will vary depending on which country you are traveling from and arriving to. 

So what will it take to bring your pet into the UK?

We’ll assume your furry friend is a cat, dog, or ferret, as those are the most common pets entering Britain. If you're coming from the United States, here are some general rules for you to follow:

  • Pets and their owners must arrive in Britain within 5 days of each other. So, your pet can arrive 5 days before or 5 days after you do. Anything more than that, and the rules change a bit because your pet becomes a commercial shipment. *If you have 6 or more pets traveling together, then this will also be considered a commercial shipment.
  • Your pet can only arrive via an approved route.
  • If you are moving a pet to the UK, you will be charged an import tax (VAT). However, you might be able to claim relief for this tax by applying for the Transfer of Residence (ToR).

Documentation your pet will need

To enter the UK from the US, your pet must have:

  • Microchip. Microchipping must be done before the rabies vaccination, and the chip number must be recorded on all of your pet's paperwork. The UK prefers 15-digit microchips that meet ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 standards. 
  • Rabies vaccination. Cats and dogs must be at least 12 weeks old to be vaccinated for rabies. The UK accepts either 1-year or 3-year vaccines, as long as it is an inactivated or recombinant type vaccine approved for use in the US. However, the vaccination will only be considered valid for one year. Cats and dogs must wait 21 days after a valid rabies vaccination before they can enter the UK. The vaccination certificate must have certain details on it and must be signed in original ink by a veterinarian - this original document must travel with your pet.
  • DOGS ONLY - Tapeworm treatment. Dogs must receive a tapeworm treatment administered by an accredited veterinarian between 1 and 5 days prior to the date of entry into the UK. The treatment must contain praziquantel or another ingredient proven effective against Echinococcus multilocularis. This treatment must be reported on the international health certificate.
  • Great Britain pet health certificate. This document must be completed by a USDA-accredited veterinarian within 10 days prior to travel and must be endorsed by the USDA. This original endorsed document must travel with your pet.

You can make copies of your pet's travel documents for your records, but the originals must accompany them into the UK. Pets who do not meet the UK pet import requirements can potentially be quarantined or sent back to their origin country.

Make it easy on yourself

With all the other complications of an international trip or relocation, why add the uncertainties of Brexit to the mix? The one way you can be confident you’re following the correct rules is to let our Starwood team handle all the intricacies of your pet's move on your behalf.

New Call-to-action

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.