United Kingdom

Overseas travel

It is important to check before you travel to ensure your pet is eligible to leave and enter all countries you are planning to visit.  If your pet does not meet the criteria (such as incorrect documents) there may be significant problems.  Here are some guidelines for travelling, although we advise checking with DEFRA to be sure.

The European Passport (including non-EU listed countries)

The European passport for pets relates to ‘domestic carnivores’; dogs, cats and ferrets, specifically Canis lupis familiaris, Felis silvestris catus and Mustela putorius furo, residing in the EU or a non- EU listed country (see here [hyperlink to https://www.gov.uk/pet-travel-information-for-pet-owners#countries-and-territories]).  Wild animals cannot be moved under these regulations.  If your pet is a hybrid such as a Bengal or Savannah cat or a Wolfdog it is advisable to contact DEFRA before travelling.

As of 29th December 2014, the European Passport has been updated to improve its traceability and security.  Changes to the passport include:

  • Laminated strips to cover the pages where the pet’s details, microchip information and rabies vaccination are entered.  These are designed to prevent tampering with the passport once it has been completed by a vet.  If any changes need to be made to the laminated sections, after they have been sealed, a new passport will have to be issued.
  • ‘Issuing of passport’ page, where the issuing vet fills in their contact details, when they certify vaccinations and treatments.
  • A unique passport number printed on every page.

If you already have a passport for your pet, you do not need to get a new one. Existing passports will remain valid for the lifetime of the pet or until the treatment spaces have been filled.

Other new rules of note state a pet must be at least 12 weeks old, not 3 months, before you can get it vaccinated against Rabies in order to travel.  If you have over 5 pets, unless you are travelling to a show or competition, you will need to comply with additional rules:

  • Travelling from a registered premises.
  • Using an authorised transporter.
  • Register the movement on the TRACES system. 

If you are taking more than 5 pets (over 6 months old) to a show or competition, written evidence must be supplied to support this to be exempt from these rules.  Please check the Defra website for further details.

If you are bringing a dog, cat or ferret into the UK to sell or pass on to a new owner or rehome, then the Balai directive applies.  Please check the Defra website for further details.


European and non-EU listed countries

To enter the UK from an EU or non-EU listed country, using an approved transport company, from an approved route, pets must satisfy the following conditions:

  • A microchip.
  • A pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate.
  • A current rabies vaccination (must be at least 21 days after date of vaccination before travelling, and must be within the duration of immunity – ask your vet).
  • A tapeworm treatment (dogs only).


Non-European and non-listed countries

If entering the UK from a country that is not on the approved list, your pet must meet the following requirements:

  • A microchip.
  • A third country official veterinary certificate.
  • A rabies vaccination.
  • A positive blood test at least 30 days after Rabies vaccination.  You currently must wait 3 months after the blood sample was taken before travelling into the UK, and you must have a copy of the test results.
  • A tapeworm treatment (dogs only).

When travelling to another country it is VITAL to check with DEFRA and the country in question as to any further criterion that must be met.


The above information was correct at the time of publication.  It is recommended you check with DEFRA before travelling.

  • www.defra.org.uk
  • Telephone: 0370 241 1710 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed bank holidays)
  • Email: pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk