10th Anniversary of the Pet Travel Scheme – Avoid Quarantine entering the UK

Pet Travel SchemeToday (March 2, 2010) is the 10th anniversary of the Pet Travel Scheme which was originally championed by Lady Mary Fretwell. For more than 100 years prior to the approval of the Pet Travel Scheme, the United Kingdom had a strictly enforced quarantine program in effect. Bring in a dog, cat, guinea pig or rabbit, and they had to spend six months in one of 80 quarantine kennels in Great Britain, with virtually no exercise and with only the kennels’ contracted veterinarians to check them out. There were no uniform statutes governing these kennels–the kennel owners voluntarily agreed to provide respectable care, but this often was lacking.

“My husband was in the Foreign Service, so this meant that each time we returned to England from a post our basset hound had to go through that awful quarantine,” says Lady Mary Fretwell. “Over the years, we could see how the quarantine conditions got worse and worse.”

The final straw came in 1987, when Lady Mary and Sir John Fretwell returned to England from their final post in Paris. “We came back with our basset hound,” Lady Fretwell says, “and it was a terrible quarantine experience. Our beloved Bertie, our favorite of all the bassets we’ve had over the years, was a different dog after this horrible experience, and died soon afterwards. This pushed us into doing something about the quarantine situation in the UK.”

The result was an organization called “Passports for Pets,” and because of the untiring efforts by the Fretwells and 10,000 members and many volunteers who pushed for changes in the pet entry system, there is now in place a specific method of bringing cats and dogs into the UK without going through quarantine.

A happy note is that over 10,000 pets have been brought into the UK without any incident of rabies since the inception of the program as of the 10th anniversary. The Pet Travel Scheme was certainly a victory for pets traveling to the UK!

Updated information on bringing a pet to the UK.


10th Anniversary of the Pet Travel Scheme – Avoid Quarantine entering the UK — 45 Comments

  1. Aiste – as long as your guinea pig has lived in another EU Member State for at least 4 months, there should be no requirements to fulfill when entering the UK. That said, always best to travel with a health certificate.

  2. Hello, i am planing to travel to england by bus from eu, and i want to take a guinea pig with me, ar there any vacinations or documents that i need? 🙂

  3. Anna – we heard from a pet owner a while back who was able to bring rabbits into the UK without quarantine, but most likely, he had an address in the UK and had been visiting outside the EU.

  4. hi guys, I’m not sure if anyone still active in this post to reply me but pet Travel Scheme UK has changed their rules in 2015 and therefore, pets enter UK from non-EU countries will need to be quarantined for 4 months.

    I have 2 rabbits travelling from Singapore to UK. I did email APHA to ask if I bring my rabbits to Netherlands and from Netherlands enter UK, will it able to avoid quarantine and they said NO. My rabbits will need to remain in Netherlands for 4 months if I wish to skip the quarantine period, unfortunately I can’t stay in Netherlands that long as I don’t have legal visa to remain

    So now I am struggling with how can I bring my rabbits to UK and avoid quarantine? Any advice would be pretty much appreciated. Thank you!

  5. Aida – that is correct. No quarantine will be required in either airport as long as your pet meets the requirement of the PETS scheme.

  6. I would just like be sure that I understand the PETS correctly. If my pet meets all of the rules, he/she will not have to quarantined and will be able to leave either Heathrow Airport or Gatwick upon arrival?
    Thank you.

  7. Hi Freyja – the PETS scheme does not apply to guinea pigs as they are not carriers of rabies. However, the UK requires an Import License and 4 months of quarantine to enter. Your pet must travel as manifest cargo and must enter at London Heathrow or Gatwick. An agent must handle the transport to the Quarantine Facilities.

    Each EU country has its own rules regarding importing animal other than dogs, cats or ferrets. You will need an Import License for sure. We regret that we don’t have more information for you.

  8. I’m a little confused about how the PETS scheme applies to rodents (specifically guinea pigs). I want to bring my GPs from the United States to the UK. I see that the US is part of the PETS scheme, but is it still the case that animals other than cats, dogs and ferrets need to be quarantined for 4 months? If so, is there any EU country that would allow GPs from the US to enter without quarantine? Thanks!

  9. Hi Lucinda – Although you will consider your teacup pig a cherished pet, the UK considers them as livestock. The reason for this is the possibility of bovine diseases. I have done some research to find an import license that would cover your pig but cannot find one. I would suggest that you email the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency at [email protected].

  10. I am currently living in South Africa and looking at buying a tea cup pig. I wanted to check if there are any restrictions to bringing them into the UK? I don’t want to find that it isn’t allowed (pig being livestock etc). Please can you advise if it is possible and if so what the procedure would be? Many thanks.

  11. Hello Mathanki – in order to avoid quarantine in the UK, your pet must be micro chipped, then vaccinated (in that order). Thirty days after vaccination, your veterinarian will administer a blood titer test. Assuming results within acceptable limits, your pet can enter the UK 90 days after the blood is drawn. You will need to have a licensed veterinarian fill out the Annex II form for the UK within 10 days of travel. Additionally, your dog will need a tapeworm test within one and five days of entry. If these rules are followed, your dog will not be subjected to quarantine. If you do not have the time to accommodate the rules, your pet will be quarantined for the balance of the 90 days. If you need instructions and forms, you can find them at http://pettravelstore.com/categories/Pet-Passports/

  12. Please advice:

    We wish to relocate to London from India. We have a healthy male Labrador who is about 2 years old. All his vaccinations are up to date, and his papers are in place, and we intend to get the micro chipping done. Will he still be put through quarantine in UK? Is there anyway to avoid the quarantine?

    We have heard from friends that dogs suffer, and go through separation anxiety in quarantine, it’s really making us anxious.

  13. Hi Kate – according to DEFRA rules, animals other than cats, dogs and ferrets entering the UK from EU member states or other EU countries are not subject to quarantine. However, since Australia does not fall in that category, there will be a 4 month quarantine required.

    You will need to bring them into Heathrow or Gatwick as manifest cargo for quarantine processing in the Animal Reception Center. You can find out more information here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/quarantine/

    Let me know if I can provide further assistance.

  14. We are aiming to move back to the UK from Australia. My daughter has two guinea pigs who she adores. How do we go about bringing them into uk? Can they travel in the cabin and do they require quarantine once in the Uk?.

  15. Sugar gliders are a member of the possum family and therefore no rabies or tapeworm requirements would apply to them nor should they be subject to quarantine. Certainly a health certificate from your vet issued within 10 days of travel would be recommended.

  16. Hello, I am planning to bring my sugar glider to UK with me next year from Asia. It is my understanding that rodents enter from EU countries can avoid quarantine. I am planning to travel to Paris first then to UK. Do I need to stay in France for 6 months to avoid quarantine? Thank you…

  17. Hi. I want to take my lab back to the uk after 5 years in western Australia how much quarintine would he requiue in the uk.Can i get it as low as pos?.

    RESPONSE: Quarantine can be avoided by micro chipping your pet with a 15 digit ISO microchip, then vaccinating at least 21 days prior to entering the UK. Within 24 to 120 hours of travel, a tapeworm test must be administered. Your vet will also need to complete either the EU Form 998 or Annex II form depending on when you are traveling.

  18. The quarantine in uk told me that the length of stay for a rabbit is now 4 months, although that could be shorter soon, as quaratine workers in uk are apparently tirelessly working on lifting the quarantine altogether, especially since it is ridiculous to let cats and dogs in with vet papers, seeing as they would be more suseptible to disease. Anyway, I have also spoken with french authorities and numerous individuals travelling with rabbits through france who have not had trouble entering the uk after only staying a few days…this is just the information i have gathered so far, so i would recommend anyone in the same circumstance to conduct their own research from where they are leaving from…

  19. Hey Carrie, why dont you email me at [email protected], as i am also goin g to the uk from canada, and am in the process of finding out how to make the quarantine for a rabbit less time, or skipping quarantine altogehter…I actually got in touch with a quarantine in uk who gave me some great ideas on the mentioned options…
    Please share what you learn about the rabbit import with us. It is my understanding that rabbits can only enter from EU countries and avoid quarantine.

  20. Hey, I’m going into the air force soon and may be stationed in the uk after tech. I’m planning on bringing my rabbit with me, but I’m worried about him being thrown into some unnecessary quarantine. He’s fine travelling and even enjoys the many car rides he goes on with me and sits comfortably in my lap. Again, I’m only worried about a quarantine. I’d really appreciate a response.
    If you are traveling from the United States the pet would be quarantined on arrival in the UK for six months. This can only be avoided if the rabbit is arriving from another EU country and has lived in that country at least six months.

  21. I am moving back to uk from canada in august and i am going to take my rabbit with me. after speaking with 2 different people at defra who told me different things such as id have to have the rabbit in quarantine for 6 months, another agent told me 4 months. i would really like to avoid it altogether. there was a mention of possbily travelling to another EU country such as france and staying over night, then continuing on to UK with no quarantine seeing as i had come from within the EU. Any ideas on this would be greatly greatly appreciated 🙂

  22. Hi,

    I live in the United States and my husband is in the Army. We are moving to Germany in 6 months and we have 2 mini dachshunds. I know Germany does not quarantine but my concern is our flight may possibly connect in the UK. I need to know how to avoid quarantine and what steps I should take.
    If you remain on the same airline into and out of the UK and the layover is less than 2 hours you should not have a problem. The pets will arrive in the UK as manifested cargo and the airline will move the pets from one flight to the next under their quarantine control. I assume you are aware of the need for the pets to be micro chipped with the ISo 15 digit microchip. If you would like the complete pet passports for the UK that contain all of the instructions and forms it is available here:

  23. I’ve just moved to Egypt and want to bring our beloved pet with us from the UK. Please can anyone help me I don’t know what to do how much it will cost can anyone advise me thank you
    In order for the pet to enter Egypt it must be vaccinated for rabies and be accompanied by the veterinary certificate for Egypt. To transport the pet you need to call an airline that either flies direct between the two cities or an airline that will allow the pet to remain on the same airline the entire trip. If at some point you need to change airlines enroute it gets complicated. You must cal the airlines reservations office to make the arrangements and to get a quote on the cost – it cannot be done online. If you need the pet passport for Egypt which contains the instructions and necessary forms it is available here and can be emailed to you>

  24. If I re-locate to Florida and take my pet cat… what injections, papers etc., will he need and will he have to be quarantined.. if so, how long is quarantine in Florida.
    If you are traveling within the United States to Florida then no documentation is required with the exception of what the airline may require. Some airlines require a certificate of good health. If you are traveling from another country I can only answer you question once I know the country you are traveling from.
    If you need the pet policy and forms for any airline they are available here:


  25. I want to go to germany for a week in August and want to no if my dogs will have to go into quarantine on return to the UK, Ive read alot of different things on this and am a little confused.
    If they do have to spend 6 months on return then I would rather have a friend look after them for me, If anyone could give ma a clear answer that would be really great
    Unless your pet has had a blood titer test six months in advance of the return to the UK then the pet would go into quarantine until January 1, 2012.

  26. I am moving from the USA to Cape Town South Africa… do we have to quarantine our two dogs? If so, for how long? Thanks!
    No quarantine is necessary if your pets have been vaccinated for rabies, are accompanied by the US veterinary health certificate and have been inspected by a veterinarian in South Africa and declared that they are free of screwworm. If you would like the complete instructions and the forms they are available here and can be emailed to you.
    Or, go to http://www.pettavelstoe.com then click on Pet Passports and scroll down to the United States.

  27. Hi there,
    I work in the UK and have my cats in South Africa, I’m looking at moving to Germany and would want to move the cats with us. What would they need to be brought over??
    They will need a blood titer test 3 months in advance of travel as well as the EU veterinary certificate for Germany. The complete rules and forms are available at http://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on Pet Passports and scroll down to Germany

  28. Having followed our vets advice on relocating from the USA with our 2 7 year old dogs we found out (too late!!!) that he had not followed the steps correctly… basicly – Dog A was vacninated in Nov 09 and Dog B in Feb 10… we then decided just in case to get them micropchipped if in the event we had to come back to the UK in an ER. The vet chipped the dogs in April 10, re-vacinated them and took a titre test all on the same day. Results came well within the guidelines (due to the earlier 3 year vacine). WE made the decision in Jan 11 to return to the UK… the USDA signed off on the paperwork, tick etc was completed and the dogs flu in April 11. However, the dogs are deemed to be illegal immigrants!!!! DEFRA are stating that the Tetra test should have been done 30 days after the April vacine to rove they have not got rabies. Now they are quarantined for 6 mths, with bills to mount to almost $8,000!!!! Question – can we fight DEFRA over this or b) can we request the vet in the USA help us out with the costs. Any help etc. would be gratefully appreicated… Regards – A worrying muumy and daddy!
    The rules are quite clear and the steps must be followed in an exact order. I doubt that you can get DEFRA to waive them in your case. As to your veterinarian that would be up to you. I am sure he attempted to do the right thing but they have a lot of things to do. We constantly update the import information for 139 countries and believe we are the only source for current accurate information. The site is http://www.pettravelstore.com

  29. If we move from South Africa to the UK, do our cats & dogs have to be quarantined in the UK for six months from date of arrival, or can part of their quarantine be in South Africa? Both cats and dogs are vaccinated annually for rabies.
    South Africa is a country with a high incidence of rabies and is not eligible for the program that allows pets to be pre-tested and then be allowed to enter after six months with quarantine. If you travel from South Africa to the UK the cats will go into a quarantine center for six months. The only alternative is to live in another country for six months prior to entry.
    If you would like the complete rules and instructions we have two sets of pet passports for the UK. One is for pets that will not be quarantined and the other package contains all of the quarantine information you will need. Visit http://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on Pet Passports and scroll down to the United Kingdom

  30. Hello. I’ve been posted in India with my husband for the last seven years. Corporate, not military or government. I have three beloved cats, two originally from the states and one adopted three years ago in Delhi. They are indoor cats completely. The situation with cats in India is a bad one so to let them out would be dangerous for their health in many ways. They have spent their entire time indoors except the Delhi cat who spent the first few weeks of his life in someone’s back garden. They are cared for regularly by my vet Dr. Gandhi who handles all their routine vaccinations and health-care. Our next home will most like be in England. I did some emailing with the body that regulates the import of animals and was told that in order to avoid quarantine I should take them to an interim location and then bring them into the UK. They will not survive a six month quarantine. The younger one might I think but the two older cats have never even been in a pet hotel. Even if we are gone for a month on holiday and they are cared for by servants who love them they begin to lose weight and hair. What can I do? What is an acceptable “interim location”? These cats are neutered/spayed, do not have fleas, have never been outside and are healthy. It would break my heart for them to suffer needlessly in quarantine. Any help is much appreciated. Regards, Beth.

  31. Jerry,
    Thank you for your reply. I should have been more clearer on my details, as the cat is coming to UK from India.
    I believe this is more complicated then coming from US.

  32. Dear All,

    We are relocating back to UK and will bring our cat with us.
    We have UK pet passport issued when moved abroad (outside EU). The passport show valid rabies vaccination and blood test done in UK.

    If we are travelling through another EU country to UK, what are the preparations we have to do before entering to UK, how long does the cat has to stay another EU country before entering to UK without quaranteen or does the valid pet passport be a valid document to travel to UK anytime????

    Any help is appreciated, as we are really stuck of finding ways to enter to EU and further to UK trying to avoind the 6 months quaranteen.
    if your cat was micro chipped first and then vaccinated for rabies and if the blood titer test was done at least six months before entry into the UK then there should be no quarantine. I am assuming that the pet has been in the US the entire time since it left the UK. If it has not been six months since the blood titer test then the pet will go into quarantine for the remainder of the six months. The last three steps are the EU form 998 health certificate, USDA certification and finally the ticks and tapeworms treatment.

    You can find the complete pet passport package for the UK which contains complete instructions for you and your veterinarian as well as all of the necessary forms at http://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on Pet Passports (located at the top of the left hand column). Then scroll down to the United Kingdom

  33. I’m living in Mozambique and may be moving back to Ireland/UK in 2 years. I know that I cannot bring my dog directly back to Ireland/UK without 6 months quarantine, however I’m wondering if I could I send my dog to the US (to my family) for 6 months, and then have him return to Ireland/UK without any quarantine requirements (as long as the rabies vaccination and worming etc is done in accordance with the strict schedule)?
    Yes as long as the pet resides in the US for six months and you have a blood titer test done here in the US six months before the pet returns to the UK you can avoid quarantine. You may wish to purchase the pet passport for the UK which provides all of the instructions and necessary forms. Go to http://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on Pet Passports – it is at the top of the left hand column.

  34. If the cat is small enough many of the airlines will allow it to travel with you in the cabin of the aircraft. You should call the reservations office of the airline you are using to discuss it with them. If not the cat will travel in an IATA compliant pet crate as checked baggage. Your cat must be vaccinated for rabies and be accompanied by a certificate of good health. if you need the complete instructions and the US health certificate go to http://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on Pet Passports which is located at the top of the column on the left side of the page.

  35. Hi
    I have had a look at this website and a little concerned at how this all works, I would like to contact someone in the UK and discuss how to go about bringing my 2 dogs from South Africa to the UK and if 6 months is needed to ensure no quarantine, that can be arranged. please assist as I want to bring them over asap. Thank you!!
    It is not possible to bring pet animals into the UK from South Africa unless they go into quarantine in the UK for six months. There are no exceptions. The pets could go into another EU country after having a blood titer test. Then after living in the other EU country they would be elgible to enter the UK without quarantine.

  36. I have a house-cat (as in: indoor-only) named Timmy whom I had adopted in Japan in 2003. A year later (2004), I moved to England and my family and I were told that he had to go through all the rigmarole of titer tests, quarantine, etc.. After we were situated, and he’d gone through his quarantine (at a friend’s house in Japan), and we’d picked him up and brought him to our new home, we’d learned that the quarantine had been unnecessary because he was an indoor-only house-cat (by virtue of which, he qualified as having been quarantined the entire time that we’d had him before leaving Japan).

    Since then, my job moved me on to the U.S. (Arkansas specifically). Timmy came with me, but my daughter stayed behind in England. He’s still an indoor-only house-cat, never goes out, and is up to date on all of his shots. My daughter misses him terribly, and I would like to send him to her, but:

    – I don’t know what sort of requirements might be unnecessary to observe (as they were the first time) only to discover that he won’t have had to go through them in the first place,

    – Likewise, given that in the first experience he’d been unnecessarily quarantined, I don’t know what sort of requirements might actually be necessary (legally), but of which I could conceivably be unaware until his arrival (hence driving a quarantine which would then be necessary in fact, and wouldn’t have been if I’d observed them at the outset).

    Basically, I suppose tat it boils down thus: I already know that some requirements are stipulatory in nature–dependent upon specifics which might or might not obtain in a given situation. How might I ensure that I do observe what is actually relevant, while also not bothering with that which has nothing to do with this case?

    Thank you in advance for you time and attention to this matter.
    I am quite surprised at your comments. I am very familiar with the rules of the pet scheme and it currently makes no allowances for cats that were kept indoors to avoid the provisions of the pet scheme. If that were the case I suspect everyone would claim their cat was an indoor cat.
    The requirements currently are that the cat must have resided in the US for six months, be microchipped with the ISO 15 digit microchip, then vaccinated for rabies even if it has been vaccinated before and then have a blood titer test unless it has previously had a blood titer test. There is then a six month waiting period to avoid quarantine in England. If there has been a previous blood titer test and the cat has not visited a country with a high incidence of rabies and the rabies vaccinations have been kept current then there would be no waiting period.

    You would simply have a veterinarian complete the EU form 998, have that form and the blood titer results certified by the USDA and then finally have the veterinarian do a ticks and tapeworms treatment.
    If you would like the complete instructions, rules and all of the several necessary forms to take a cat into the UK without quarantine we have them available at http://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on Pet Passports – Immigration Info and scroll down to England.

  37. we are traveling on british airways August 31, 2010, we are leaving Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, going to LHR with a stop over to change planes to go to Frankfurt. We are not staying in England. We have a cat that we want to have travel with us, he is microchipped already and we can provide the necessary vet documents to show he is current on all his shots. What can we do to bring him on this trip with us and what will it take to bring him back to the US when we return.

    Thank you for helping us with this dilema. Diane Jumper 214-551-0529 or [email protected]
    As you probably know the cat can only enter the UK as manifested cargo. If you are just transiting the UK and then flying on to Germany you will need a transit permit for the UK (England). Tansiting England is not an easy process and can be expensive. If possible you should fly direct to Germany from the US.

    Depending on how long you will be overseas probably nothing else will be required to re-enter the US as long as the rabies vaccination has not expired.

    To enter Germany your pet must be micro chipped with the IS) 15 digit microchip and you must have the EU form 998 for Germany.

    The transit permit application and the Germany forms and instructions are availabe at http://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on Pet Passports – Immigration Info

  38. though this is a gallant initiative, it does’t work for many.
    I have been in India for the last 6 months, and my 1 year old westie, born, raised and vaccinated in USA has been in India for the last 2 months. My poor baby, still has to go through the awful quarantine regardless of the fact that he has a valid rabies vaccination from USA. Im so heart broken about this deplorable and helpless state of things. i cannot afford to stay in another country for 6 months, so there is basically nothing i can do, but let my poor baby suffer in one of those awful kennels. I really cannot explain the anger, grief and frustration I am going through! :'(

  39. Hello,

    My Colleague have dogs. These dogs are on a scheme which is called ‘pet passport’. This means they can be moved from one country to another where the country participates in the scheme, without the need for going into quarantine.

    It seems that Kuwait does not participate in the scheme. Whereas he could move to Kuwait with no issues, should he ever need to leave Kuwait for any reason the dogs would be required to go into quarantine for 6 months.

    My question is:

    1- Can we as a solution to this matter is that, if necessary, is for advanced blood tests to be sent to the UK instead of quarantine?

    2- What can we do to prevent his dogs to go into Quarantine?

    Appreciate your quick response.

    Enclosed with my email telephone numbers & Postal Address.

    Many Thanks,


  40. Hi i wonder if u can help what do i need to do in order take my cat to live in the uk with me from egypt. How does this PETS passport work for non eu countries please.


    Sue Croft
    Egypt is not a member of the European Union nor is Egypt on the approved list of countries for the pet scheme. If you take your pet into the UK from Egypt it would need to go into quarantine for six months. If you live in an approved country for six months such as an EU country you would then qualify for the pet scheme. There are a number of requirements including having a blood titer test done for the cat. That test takes six months. If you would like the complete instructions and all of the necessary forms for taking a pet into the UK go to http://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on pet Passports – Immigration Info. There are two separate pet passport packages offered there. One is for coming from a approved country such as an EU country – no quarantine. The other package would be used if you went directly from Egypt and it contains all of the quarantine forms.


  41. Within the next 6 – 8 months of traveling to England from the U.S. There will be 2 cats and 2 toy dogs–I am in the process of locating a vet to do all the paperwork, shots, blood work, etc.

    What type of quarantine are we looking at? Does it have to be a public airlines? Can it be private?

    I am trying to get as much info, as everything is in the beginning stages and I have done some research.

    I look forward to receiving my answers to my questions.

    If you complete all of the requirements six months in advance of travel there will be no quarantine. If you travel to the UK earlier than six months from the date of the blood titer test then the pets will go into quarantine for the remainder of the six months. All of the facilities are private and quarantine can be pretty expensive,
    The pet must be microchipped with the ISO 15 digit microchip, then vaccinated for rabies again, then have a blood titer test. Near the end of the six months your veterinarian will complete the EU Annex form and then there is a ticks and tapeworms treatment as the final step.

    The procedure is fairly complicted and must be done in the above order. If you would like the complete instructions both for you and your vet as well as all of the necessary forms and applications go to https://www.pettravelstore.com and then click on Pet Passports – Immigration Info and scrolld down to the country.


    Also, my sister is leaving the U.S. for New Zealand in the same time frame: she has a 45 lb dog, manx cat and a dotsund. So I need answers for her also. Use my email address, please

  42. I was heartened to read this, but how do I go about finding out how to avoid quarantine? What documentation or proof of immunisations are required. We have been overseas for some 18 years now, and plan to retire and return back to the UK in 2011. We have pets we would dearly like to bring back, but worry about quarantine, and if this can be avoided (the trauma to the pet, ourselves and the expense), we would love to know how, and look forward to hearing from you.
    Before I can accurately answer your question I need to know what country you will be departing from. The rules vary as to the country of departure.

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