There are different importation requirements, depending on whether you are importing into the UK or importing into overseas countries. Further advice is available from DEFRA. Here you will find an authoritative source of information on the health conditions for international trade in live animals and animal products to, from or through Great Britain.
Importation into the UK of Pet Animals
Quarantine regulations are still in force in the UK and it is illegal to disobey them.
The importation of pets (dogs, cats, ferrets, pet rabbits and rodents) into the UK is strictly controlled and it is essential that anyone intending to import a pet should obtain the latest information by contacting the Pet Travel Scheme Helpline on Telephone Number 0870 241 1710.
The regulations about quarantine are found in The Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974 (as amended).
The order provides for an animal landed without a licence to be either directed to quarantine, re-exported or destroyed and its owner prosecuted. Serious offences may be tried on indictment at a Crown Court where offenders are liable to penalties of up to a year's imprisonment an unlimited fine or both. It is thus important to ensure that all the licensing requirements are met.
Information can be obtained from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) by contacting or writing to the appropriate area address given below, but the procedure is as follows:
- 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 (DEFRA list)
- 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 research and 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 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.