We receive many comments regarding the costs of taking a pet to England. Every pet flying into England must arrive as manifest (air) cargo. You cannot fly into England with a pet in the cabin or as checked baggage unless it is a service dog or an emotional support animal entering the UK directly from the United States. This is a rule of commerical airlines; it is not a requirement of the United Kingdom.
Here is the procedure as to how your pet will be handled once arriving in England.
If you are flying into London Heathrow (LHR) with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, an agent will collect your pet from the aircraft and take it to the Animal Reception Center where you will pick it up. If you are flying into Heathrow on any other approved airline, a handler from the Heathrow Animal Reception Center (HARC) will collect your pet and take it to the HARC. The fee for an agent will vary per agent used. Estimate for an HARC employee is £166 per hour. These estimates are for London Heathrow only..
Consignment fee for mammals entering the UK at Heathrow is £177 per animal for up to 24 hours of holding time for cats, dogs or ferrets arriving from outside of the EU. Additional animals are £42. An additional minimum fee of £210 will be charged for animals staying at the HARC for more than 24 hours.
For mammals entering Heathrow from another EU Member State, a handling fee of £42 per animal is charged in addition to the collection charge of £83.
Consignment fee for assistance dogs checked at the airline is £210.
Any pet landing in the UK without an OK To Forward from the arrival airline will be charged an additional £630. This document is the responsibility of your agent to obtain from the transporting airline.
There is an EU Border Inspection Fee of about £76.00.
DEFRA imposes a fee for their services at the ARC of about £250.00
If you want to leave your pet’s crate at Heathrow, there will be a disposal charge of £15.
You should expect the entry fees to be between £400 and £450; however, some of these fees may be included in your pet’s transport price. Check with your airline to confirm.
Prices good for 1st April 2018 – 31st March 2019
UPDATE: 2020 – We have received reports that expenses have increased to approximately £600.
There will also be Value Added Tax (VAT) charges due when entering England. They will amount to 20% of the value of your pet’s breed + the cost of their transport. The minimum charged is £70 for a cat and £100 for a dog. If you are visiting the United Kingdom, the VAT will be refunded when you and your pet depart. If you are moving to the United Kingdom, then you will need to file a Transfer of Residency (ToR) form with England’s custom department (HRMC). Your VAT will be refunded to you as soon as the form is processed. More details on filing the Transfer of Residency Form.
Please note that these charges are being updated and are subject to change. Costs for taking your pet to England certainly needs to be budgeted. Similarly, so does preparation as the rabies titer test needs to be done 3 months in advance of travel for cats, dogs and ferrets entering from high-rabies countries.
More information on our taking your pet to England.