There are different importation regulations, depending on whether you are importing into the UK or importing into overseas countries.
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 the Pet Travel Scheme 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.
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.
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 accommodation at an approved premises (DEFRA list)
- Reserve an authorised carrying agent to take the animal from the point of entry into the UK to the premises (DEFRA list)
- 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.
Last updated: 16 February 2011