International moving with your pets

 international-moving-with-pets

Before moving your pets overseas, it’s a good to make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your pet examined to check their general wellbeing. This ensures your pet will be able to deal with the stress of relocating abroad to another country as breed and age are a major consideration. They may also be able to help you with the documentation needed and any general advice for moving your pet abroad. You should however conduct your own research to find out the requirements of the country you are moving to.

In many cases some countries require your pets to be quarantined for upto 6 months. There are some international locations however that are prepared to cut down this quarantine period should you have the correct documentation. By finding out about the legislation of the country you will be moving to, you ensure the process of transferring your pets abroad will run far more smoothly.

The below guide is written to help you with the moving process.

The first thing to note is that the general rules you must follow usually depend on three things:

1) The country you’re moving to

2) The country you’re moving from

3) The type of animal

Moving abroad within the EU (or into the EU from another ‘listed’ country)

Your pet needs the following when moving abroad to or coming back to the UK from another EU or non-EU listed country:

  • Microchip
  • A rabies vaccination (you must ensure your pet is microchipped beforehand or the vaccination won’t be valid)
  • A third country veterinary certificate or a pet passport
  • Tapeworm medication (only for dogs)

You must also ensure you use an authorised animal transporter and use an approved route.

Before moving abroad you need to wait at least twenty one days from the date of the rabies vaccination.

Moving to the EU from an unlisted country

If the country you are moving to is not included in the list of EU and non-EU countries it is classed as ‘unlisted’.

Your pet needs the following when moving abroad to, or moving back to the UK from an unlisted country:

  • Microchip
  • A rabies vaccination (you must ensure your pet is microchipped beforehand or the vaccination won’t be valid)
  • A third country veterinary certificate or a pet passport
  • Tapeworm medication (only for dogs)
  • A blood test - the veterinary practice must have taken the blood sample more than 30 days after the vaccination for rabies (the date of the rabies vaccination will count as day zero, not day one)

You should additionally make sure that you hire an authorised animal transportation service and take an approved route.

You will need to wait three months from the time the blood test was done prior to moving overseas. The vet will need to provide you with a duplicate of the blood results. These documents need to state that the immunisation was effective.

You don’t have to wait three calendar months if the pet was immunised, given a blood test and issued a pet passport in the EU before moving overseas to a country that is unlisted.

Assistance dogs and Guide dogs

If the carrier is registered to carry assistance dogs, assistance dogs and guide dogs are permitted to fly in the aircraft cabin with their owners on permitted routes and. They can usually travel in other areas and forms of transportation that other animals are not allowed.

Aside from that, the guidelines for assistance dogs moving overseas inline with the EU pet travel scheme are identical to the rules for other dogs.

The Guide Dogs Association website has some good advice on travelling abroad with assistance dogs.

Making a return journey to the UK

When making a return journey to the UK the travel company will want to scan your pet’s microchip and check the documents.

If you don’t have the appropriate documents or your pet has not been correctly prepared they will be placed into quarantine or sent back to the country they moved from. You will be liable for the costs of this.

Other types of pet

If you have pet rodents, birds, rabbits, invertebrates, ornamental fish, amphibians and reptiles, there are no restrictions on taking them to the UK from other EU countries.
If you have a pet rabbit or rodent from another territory outside the EU they must spend four months in quarantine. They will need a rabies import licence and need to enter the United Kingdom at a Border Inspection Post.

For information on the rules for moving internationally with other species of animals you should contact the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA).

Microchip

Your pet must be microchipped prior to a vaccinated against rabies.
Make sure the veterinary practice registers the number of the microchip on the pet passport or the official third country veterinary certificate.

Transportation companies in the European Union can scan microchips if they meet ISO standards when you arrive for your journey overseas.

You are obliged to provide your own microchip scanner when you travel if your pet’s microchip does not meet ISO standards.

Tattoo

You do not have to make sure your pet has been microchipped if it has been tattooed with an identification number and you meet the other requirements listed below:

  • The animal was tattooed prior to 3rd July 2011
  • If the tattoo can be read cleary
  • Your pet was vaccinated for rabies after it has been tattooed

The date of tattooing, the tattoo number and the date of the rabies vaccination will need to be documented by the veterinary practice in the pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate

Rabies vaccination and boosters

You must ensure your dog, cat or ferret vaccinated for rabies prior to travelling back into the UK or to another EU country.

You will need to get your pet microchipped before the rabies vaccination or this vaccination will not count and they will need to be vaccinated again.

EU and listed countries

You will need to wait at least 21 days after the vaccination before your pet can return to the UK or travel to or from another European Union or non- European Union listed country. After your pet’s first vaccination and waiting period, you can enter the UK at anytime as long as your pet is given a booster vaccination on time and you continue to comply with the other necessary entry requirements.

Unlisted countries

The veterinary practice must have taken the blood sample for the rabies vaccination more than 30 days after the vaccination for rabies (the date of the rabies vaccination will count as day zero, not day one)

You will need to wait three months from the time the blood test was done prior to moving overseas. The vet will need to provide you with a duplicate of the blood results. These documents need to state that the immunisation was effective.

You don’t have to wait three calendar months if the pet was immunised, given a blood test and issued a pet passport in the EU before moving overseas to a country that is unlisted.

Pet passport and other documents

Your dog, cat or ferret must have a pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate to enter or re-enter the United Kingdom.

Ask your veterinary practice for a pet passport

The passport stays valid for as long as you continue to meet the entry requirements.

Third country official veterinary certificate

Outside the European Union authorised vets are able to issue official veterinary certificates instead of a pet passport.

This certificate permits your pet to arrive in the UK (or any other country in the EU). You will need to have other supporting documents with you too, so make sure you check the certification for any other requirements.

You must arrive in the EU country within ten days of the date the certification was issued. You can then continue to use it for up to four months when travelling inside the EU.

Other documents

The transport company that you decide to use to transfer your pet to another country may require a statement from the vet to show that your pet is well enough to travel.

You should also check with the country that you are moving that no other documentation is required for your pet to gain entry.

Travelling with more than five pets

You will need to obtain a health certificate for each group when travelling with more than 5 pets. You obtain a health certificate from the country you are departing from. You will need to do this at least ten days prior from the date you want to travel from. You will need this certification in conjunction with the additional rules for pet travel for the countries you’re relocating overseas to and from. This rule is for relocating overseas with your own pets. You should therefore note that there is a different set of rules if the animals are being re-homed or sold abroad.

Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)

Your vet must give your dog tapeworm treatment and document it in the pet passport or third country official veterinary certificate every time that you want to enter the UK. This treatment needs to be given between one and five days (24 to 120 hours) before you are planned to reach the United Kingdom.

Your vet must document the below details in your dog’s pet passport or certification:

    • The manufacturer and name of the product used to treat the dog
    • The time and date the dog was treated
    • The vets stamp and signature

You won’t need to get your dog treated for tapeworm if you are leaving directly for the UK from Ireland, Malta, Finland or Norway.

Quarantine

Your pet must go into quarantine when it arrives in the UK if it does not comply with the entry requirements. The pet owner will be liable for the costs of this. You will also need to make sure you have hired quarantine premises. In most cases the quarantine premises will usually deal with all the documentation for you.

The quarantine premises will need to ensure that they:

  • Send an application form to obtain an import licence
  • Organise collection of your pet when they land
  • Arrange the clearance through customs
  • Organise the transportation to the quarantine premises

It is a good idea to check that the quarantine premises will do the things listed above as you’ll need to do them yourself if they don’t.

Releasing you pet from quarantine

When you pet meets the entry requirements it will become eligible for release. The quarantine kennel owner or veterinary superintendent or will let you know you when your pet can be released from quarantine.

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