What you need to know about
United Kingdom pet travel

Transporting pets to the United Kingdom is tricky, but not impossible. Below, you'll find our guidelines and advice for sending pets to and from the U.K.

A pet shipper or broker is a must for dogs, cats and ferrets

If you’re sending a dog, cat or ferret to the U.K., you’ll need to secure a pet shipper or broker to handle the process in the U.K. Pet shippers are well-versed in the policies, regulations and documentation to move your pets anywhere in the world. You are also welcome to transport reptiles, fish, amphibians, insects and crustaceans into the U.K. with proper documentation:

  • You can find a list of pet shippers and brokers at IPATA.org.

Requirements for pet travel to the UK from EU countries

  • Either a Pet Passport or the Annex IV document with fully completed veterinarian and owner details are required for cats, dogs, and ferrets.
    • If your pet is tattooed, ensure a licensed veterinarian has recorded the tattooing date (including the tattoo number) and the date of the rabies vaccination which is stated in the Annex IV document or the Pet Passport.
    • If your pet is microchipped, ensure its microchip was implanted either on the same day or prior to the rabies vaccination.
  • The Non-Commercial Pet Declaration form (this is also located in the Annex IV document)
  • Ensure all dogs were treated against tapeworm with a treatment containing Praziquantel as the active ingredient no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before arrival in the U.K.

Requirements for pet travel to the UK from non-EU countries

  • Pet owners transferring residency to the U.K. from non-EU countries should apply for Transfer of Residence relief (ToR1) in advance.
    • Complete and submit a copy to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs at nch@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.
    • This form is a requirement, even for students.
  • Either a Pet Passport or the Annex IV document with fully completed veterinarian and owner details are required for cats, dogs, and ferrets.
    • If your pet is tattooed, ensure a licensed veterinarian has recorded the tattooing date (including the tattoo number) and the date of the rabies vaccination which is stated in the Annex IV document or the Pet Passport.
    • If your pet is microchipped, ensure its microchip was implanted either on the same day or prior to the rabies vaccination.
  • The Non-Commercial Pet Declaration form (this is also located in the Annex IV document)
  • Ensure all dogs were treated against tapeworm with a treatment containing Praziquantel as the active ingredient no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before arrival in the U.K.
  • For animals traveling into the U.K. from a U.S. port, a maximum of two (2) adult animals of comparable size, up to 20 pounds (9 kgs) each, and who are accustomed to cohabitation, may be transported in the same container. In addition, animals up to six (6) months old and from the same litter (up to a maximum quantity of two) may also be shipped in the same container.

Understanding the taxes and fees for pet travel to the U.K.

The U.K. requires most pets traveling to the country pay the Value Added Tax, or VAT. The formula for estimating this cost is:

Value of animal + Cost of transport + U.K. VAT adjustment [£100.00]) = VAT valuation @ 20% of total

Here's what you need to know about paying the VAT, depending on your situation:

  • U.K. residents returning to the U.K. after visiting a non-EU country are not required to pay the VAT. However, they will be asked to provide proof of residency, and proof that the pet exited the U.K. This can be shown either with the export AWB or the customs entry document.
  • Non-EU residents visiting the U.K. with pets will be required to pay customs VAT on arrival. This can be re-claimed on proof of exit from the U.K.
  • Any animal that has been owned for less than six months or has been gifted, purchased, rescued, etc. will be subject to import tax upon arrival to the U.K.
  • In addition to the VAT, please note that there are additional fees to be collected in the U.K.
    • The Heathrow Animal Reception Center (HARC) charges £260 per AWB
      • £177 to transport your pet to the quarantine station
      • £83 to collect your pet from the aircraft
      • Each additional pet on the same AWB is £41
    • The Manchester Animal Reception Center charges £100 per pet, plus an import fee of £0.165/kg with a minimum of £36.
  • Airline handling fees and customs clearance fees will also apply.

To learn more about bringing your pet to the U.K., visit this helpful site on GOV.UK.

Expert Animal Help Desk

Traveling with a pet?

Contact American Airlines passenger reservations at 1-800-433-7300 for instructions and information.

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