Costs for taking your pet to England

taking a pet to EnglandWe 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.


Costs for taking your pet to England — 91 Comments

  1. Julie – your Shih Tzu is a snub-nosed breed and most airlines will not fly it in the cargo hold. Generally, the weight of your pup plus its carrier must be less than 18 lbs to fly in the cabin. Lufthansa will fly your pup in the cargo hold as air cargo with the assistance of an agent in the UK to book the transport. You can search for an agent in the UK at

    It is easy to import a dog or cat to the US from the UK. Your dog should have proof of rabies vaccination (UK Pet Passport) and a health certificate if the airline requires it

  2. I want to take my 4 yr old 18lb Shih Tzu to Manchester UK from JFK USA it is all so confusing can anyone tell me that as done it already
    In basic English what the procedure is here in the USA and once I arrive in the UK also a break down of the total cost

    Any help would be greatly appreciated


  3. Kami – you will need pre-approval from the Animal Reception Center in the airport where you will be flying into in order to import an ESA to London. The flight must be direct and arrangements for inspection must be made.

  4. Hi, I am moving to London from the USA (Chicago) with a tabby cat and a corgi. The corgi is an ESA. Will I be able to fly into Heathrow on American Airlines with the corgi in the cabin? We are looking into pet transport for the cat, but the information regarding ESA’s and the U.K. is confusing.


  5. Jonathan – if your pup is a purebred Pit Bull or has characteristics of a Pit Bull, it will not be permitted to enter the UK. The only exceptions for this breed, or mixes of this breed, to enter the UK are if they are returning to the UK and are on the exemption list. Dogs applying for this list must be residents of the country. You can confirm by inquiring of a local agent in the UK. You can search for one at

  6. Hello!
    I’m moving to the UK in december from the USA, and I’m having a very hard time figuring out how much it will cost to bring my 4 year old pit. I am also finding it difficult to understand the costs of aquiring an exemption for my pitbull, including additional costs.
    do you have any insights?

  7. Thanks for writing this great article for us. I have gained good stuff from this website. Looking forward to your next article. I am happy to share this post to my friends. Keep it up.

  8. Angie – your pup will travel under commercial regulations to the UK – see step #5 here: Steps 1, 2 and 4 will also be required. Your pup will need to fly into the UK on an approved airline as air cargo and an agent will likely be required in Greece to book the transport. We do not have offices in Greece but you can search for an agent at

  9. Hi I’m looking to adopt a dog from a shelter in crete and bring back to the uk any help on how I do this would be great ie airlines fees etc.

  10. Yas – you can find requirements to import your dog to the United Kingdom here and there are links to further instructions and required forms that can be emailed to you: The steps must be followed in order. Know that it will take a minimum of 4 months to conform to regulations if your dog is already chipped and vaccinated for rabies.

  11. Hi I have plan to adopt a dog from Turkey to UK . Please tell me about travel price and any advice

  12. Kerry – due to regulations imposed on all commercial airlines approved to fly live animals into the UK, they must arrive as air cargo, if flying. The cost to import pets to Heathrow is more expensive than importing via ferry or Le Shuttle except there are few options for foot traffic. DFDS from Dieppe will; however, your pet muust travel in a kennel on the deck. DFDS also accepts foot traffic on its ferry out of Amsterdam and there are pet friendly cabins you can reserve. Le Shuttle is the fastest and very comfortable but you and your pet must travel in a vehicle. Irish Ferries will get you to Dublin from the UK. Ride the trains through England.

  13. thanks for this helpful article. I am working on getting my Golden retriever from Rwanda to LHR, and then onwards to Ireland. Talking to a pet travel company, it looks like he would have to go on cargo flights, and that the customs clearance into LHR (non-BA flight) will be about 600 GBP++, and the travel to Ireland will be about 800 GBP. Does that sound right to you? And is there anything I am failing to consider?? Also, do you have any views on whether it might be preferable for a dog to travel by sea+road for London to Ireland, or by flight> any thoughts on that? Thanks

  14. Mightymoosch – it is not the UK that requires all live animals flying into the country to arrive as air cargo; it is regulations imposed by all commercial airlines approved to fly live animals into the UK. The policy has been in force for a long time and likely will not change anytime soon. The reason for it is due to procedures once landed. The UK is also provided notice by the airlines of all cargo arriving under a “manifest.” (this is why this class of service is sometimes referred to as manifest cargo.)

    If you are traveling with your kitty, you do have options. You can fly into Paris and either take Le Shuttle out of Calais or DFDS Ferry out of Dieppe to the UK. However, to ride Le Shuttle, you and your kitty must ride in a vehicle. DFDS will allow foot traffic; however, your kitty must travel in a kennel on the deck. You can also fly to Amsterdam and take DFDS ferry to Newcastle. This ferry has pet friendly cabins to rent. More info here:

    As to the cost, you will likely need an agent to book transport if your kitty enters the UK as air cargo. You can search for one at They can provide the cost of the flight. to process your cat in London Heathrow, the cost will be about $3-400USD. There will also be VAT due but if you are visiting, it will be refunded when you and your cat leave the UK. If you are transferring residence, you will file a Transfer of Residency form with HMRC and VAT will be refunded when the form is processed.

  15. Hiya, two questions really. 1, Aegean airlines allow you to carry on animals (of a certain weight/height) but it seems it is the UK policy to not allow carry on pets. This ia quite frustrating as the main cost seems to come from having to pay all these people at the customs end. Does anyone know if this policy is likey to change any time soon?
    2. Doea anyone have any idea of the cost of taking a 16 week old kitten from Cyprus to the UK (london)?

  16. Valeria – all live animals entering the UK must pay Value Added Tax of approximately 20% of the value of your pet including the cost of transport. The minimum amount is 100 pounds. This charge will be returned to you when you leave the UK with your pet if you are visiting the country. If you intend to transfer your residence to the UK, then you need to complete a Transfer of Residency form and file it with the HMRC (customs). The VAT will be returned to you when the form is processed. There are also paper processing fees charged by the Animal Reception Center (ARC). The cost can be around several hundred pounds. You can get a better estimate by contacting the ARC.

  17. Hello!
    I want to bring my pomeranian 2.5kg from Colombia to London.
    I contacted a company and they charge me 550£ but they told me there are some charges when the dog arrives here. I am visiting my boyfriend with a VISA and as soon as Colombia opens the airport I am flying back.
    Do you know How much are the costs when the dog arrives to Uk as my dog is an emotional support animal for me and I have all the documents signed by my psychologist.
    Thank you for your help!!

  18. Gail – you can find current requirements to import your Lab/GSD mix to the UK here and there are links to further instructions and forms that can be emailed to you. Your dog will need to arrive in Manchester with you as manifest air cargo on an airline approved to fly live animals to Manchester. Lufthansa may be an option depending on your route. You will need an agent to book the transport. We can help with that if you need it. Email for further details. The cost is more expensive than checked baggage as the airline assumes more responsibility for your dog and the flight is tracked. There will be clearing costs in Manchester.

  19. I want to bring my vross Labrador /german shepherd to the uk to live permanently can you tell me plrade how much it will cost to fly her from USA tO Manchester.also how long before she flies does she need all her tests and booster rabies shots please .she will be 17months old thank you also which is the best airline for her to fly on we arecomimg bk to uk march 2020

  20. Trish – you can find current regulations to import your dogs to the United Kingdom here and there are links to further instructions and forms that can be emailed to you: No quarantine will be imposed as long as requirements are met.
    Your dogs will need to fly as air cargo into the UK and that will be the majority of the cost. An agent may be required to book the transport with the airlines. The cost of processing when entering the UK is about $400USD per dog. There will be VAT charged; however, it you are only visiting the UK, it will be refunded when you leave with your dogs. If you are transferring residence, then you will need to file a Transfer of Residency form with HMRC (Customs). The VAT will be refunded as soon as the form is processed.

  21. I want to bring 3 dogs from NZ to UK. Will they have to go into quarantine? Does anybody have ball-park figure of costs?

  22. Ieva – your kitty must arrive in the UK as air cargo. Most all airlines (including Emirates if you are using this airline). will require that an agent book the transport. All documentation should be pre-approved by ARC. ARC will also receive notification of your kitty’s arrival through the manifest provided by the airline. You should contact the cargo department of your airline and ask for an agent reference or you can search for an agent at

  23. Hello,

    we’ll be sending our kitty from UAE into UK. She has all the documents and vaccines done. The only question I have is do we need to advise ARC in Heathrow about our cat arriving on the specific day? I am confused if we need to pre-book anyone for her or will ARC team will automatically be picking her up from the Emirates flight?

    thanks so much!


  24. Azhar – it will not be possible to import your bulldog puppy to the United Kingdom from Pakistan without quarantine until it is 7 months of age. It must be microchipped, vaccinated for rabies (no sooner than 12 weeks of age), wait for 30 days, then get a rabies titer test. It must wait for 3 months after the test is administered before entering the UK. You can find step-by-step instructions on importing your puppy to the UK here and there are links to further instructions and forms that can be emailed to you:

  25. Hi
    I like to bring my bull
    Dog puppy 2 month old from Pakistan to question is how much it’s gonna cost me and what documents I need it?i will be really appreciate if you help me on this matter.many thanks

  26. I use a company called Pet Transport Pro. They also have a pet transport cost table if you are wondering. Guy named Anthony over there is a huge help

  27. Dee – you can find current regulations to import a cat to the United Kingdom here and there are links to further instructions and required forms that can be emailed to you: If you are not flying with or within 5 days of the cat, the transport will be deemed commercial. You can see the differences between commercial and noncommercial transport in step #5. Likely, an agent will be required to book the transport. You can find a licensed agent at We are located in Florida and not the best agent to administer the transport.

  28. Does anyone have any information on how to bring a cat in from California to the UK that’s in a rescue centre? In a nutshell I want to rescue the cat

  29. Jan- best to get your pup re-vaccinated before you leave for the UK. As long as you carry a scanner that will read the chip, there should be no issues at border inspection. You should notify the Animal Reception Center at your destination airport and inquire whether you should attach the scanner to the crate.

  30. Hi, I am bringing my dog to UK from SA in early November. We have already booked with an agent and the titre test was done last year. Our dog was re-vaccinated last November within the required timescale, but her vaccination is due again at the end of November 2019. I’m thinking I should probably get it done before she travels? Also, whilst I have been reassured by our agent that her microchip, which is only 10 digits, will be accepted by the UK, I’m still worried about whether this is true? I have bought a Halo reader which reads it fine and will take that with me, but I would love to be reassured that we won’t have any problems or, to be given an email contact at Heathrow who will confirm this in writing.

  31. Hello, I will move to London in October, and I will be bringing my dog from Copenhagen airport (25 kg Labradoodle with a Swedish EU passport). He has all the needed vaccinations and paper work. Do you know the approximate cost for this? I have actually booked a plane ticket to Paris and was thinking of using a pet taxi service from Paris to London. This will cost around 600 GBP. Do you think it will be cheaper and easier to rather take the flight directly to London?
    Sincerely, Hans

  32. Hello M Thomas – you can find more detailed information about costs to import your dogs and cats to Heathrow here: The figures are somewhat current but they are just estimates. There are several concerns. First is that all transport by air into the UK must be via air cargo which is more expensive than checked baggage or in cabin. That will be the majority of your cost. Additionally, most (if not all) airlines operating out of Mexico will require that an agent book the transport as air cargo. Also, due to the number of pets you are entering the UK with, the transport will be commercial and slightly different regulations will apply. See step #5 here: Other fees are explained in the first URL above.

  33. I am bringing 4 small dogs and 4 cats to the UK from Mexico. They have all shots, chips etc. I am interested in what customs charges, hidden costs, costs I havent thought about etc I can expect to incur(I am aware it will be expensive, but a rough estimate would be tremendously helpful)I will fly to either Gatwick or Heathrow, I believe Heathrow is a lot cheaper. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated, thank you in advance.
    M Thomas

  34. Andrew – it depends on what country you are traveling to. The EU does not impose time limits on titer tests as long as samples are processed in approved labs and all rabies vaccinations have been kept current since the date the blood was drawn for the test. Other countries will impose a validity period on titer tests. China: 1 year, Australia: 2 years, etc. You can see whether the country you are planning to travel to imposes a validity period for titer tests by searching for your destination country here:

  35. we have 3 dogs that have been vaccinated chipped and titer tested, is there a time limit on travel after testing ie 1year?

  36. Angela – we don’t quote costs but would recommend that you contact an airline that flies your entire route for that information. If your cat is flying alone, then contact the airline’s cargo department.

  37. Can you tell me how much to bring my cat from the USA to the I’m she is a small cat about 5lbs and 4 yrs old

  38. Sharon – in order to enter the United Kingdom from South Africa, your Jack Russell will need to be microchipped (15 digits) then vaccinated for rabies no sooner than 12 weeks of age. (same vet visit is fine). Then, no sooner than 30 days after after your pup is fully vaccinated for rabies, your pup will need a rabies titer test. Your pup can enter the UK no soooner than 3 calendar months after the day the blood was drawn for the titer test. You can find requirements to import a dog or cat to the United Kingdom here and there are links to further instructions and forms if you need them: If the puppy is imported to the UK prior to conforming to regulations, it will be quarantined until requirements are met.

    Once the puppy conforms to regulations, you can use British Airways to transport your puppy. BA subcontracts its live animal transport out to IAG Cargo and an agent will be required to book the transport. If you need an agent in South Africa, then you can search for one at We do not have offices in South Africa and not the best agent to serve you.

  39. Good afternoon.

    Please could you advise me of all the costs with regards to flying my Jack Russell (3 months) from Durban South Africa to Gatwick UK.

    The duration Will be for approximately 6 months at the most and would require a return flight quotation.

    Thank you

    Warm regards
    Sharon Power

    Preferred airline BA

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