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Country: United Kingdom

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Importing country requirements – United Kingdom

The import requirements and health certification for Northern Ireland are different from those imposed on animals exported to Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and are addressed at the end of this entry. Where this entry refers to 'Great Britain' or 'GB', this will be taken to mean Great Britain, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

If you require assistance with importing a dog, cat or ferret to GB, you may seek assistance by contacting the Animal and Plant Health Agency in the UK via email at PetTravel@apha.gov.uk.

If you require assistance with importing a dog, cat or ferret to Northern Ireland, you may seek assistance by contacting their authority via email at daera.helpline@daera-ni.gov.uk.

See also Transiting animals and animal products through Great Britain.

Note
Where an importing country issues an import permit, the exporter must ensure the animal meets any requirements in the permit.

Importing country requirements – Great Britain

It is the exporter's responsibility to ensure that the animal meets the importing country requirements for Great Britain (GB).

Information about the process required to import animals into GB can be found on the United Kingdom (UK) Government's website.

The importation of dogs, cats and ferrets into GB is strictly regulated under UK legislation and enforced by the Department through Departmental officers in the regional office from where the animals are to be exported.

The UK allows the importation of dogs, cats and ferrets into GB under two separate classifications, being Non-commercial movements and Imports (also known as commercial movements).

As set out in detail below, the list of template certificates, both classifications have separate:

  • import health conditions
  • health certification
  • declarations
  • transport and transit/transhipment permissions en route to GB.

It is the responsibility of the exporter to use the appropriate GB health certificate and ensure that this and any accompanying declarations are in English.

For dogs, cats and ferrets exported by air, they must be carried on an 'approved airline' and via and approved air route.

Health requirements

From 31 March 2021, all dogs, cats and ferrets exported to Great Britain (GB) must travel on a GB health certificate. EU health certificates will no longer be valid for GB.

All dogs, cats and ferrets exported to GB as a non-commercial movement must travel under the following certificate:

All dogs, cats and ferrets exported to GB as imports (commercial movements) must travel under the following certificate:

  • Model veterinary certificate for the importation of dogs, cats and ferrets GBHC157X v3.2 October 2022 (DOCX 70 KB | PDF 135 KB)

Australian Departmental officers will only endorse health certification for dogs, cats and ferrets destined to GB if it is written in English.

To complete point I.7 of the GB health certificates you will need to name the exporting country and its ISO code.

Table 1: Exporting country and their ISO code
Exporting countryISO code
AustraliaAU

To complete point I.17 of the of the GB model veterinary certificate for imports (commercial movements), information about the transporter can be found on the UK government Guidance for pet travel page.

The UK Government have published guidance for exporters completing health certification for animals destined to the UK.

Non-commercial movements

Definition

A non-commercial movement is an export to Great Britain (GB) in which the animal is neither intended for sale nor the transfer of ownership of the animal (dog, cat or ferret) AND the animal must accompany1 its owner (or authorised person2) for the duration of the export to GB.

The maximum number of animals that may be exported at one time by the owner (or authorised person2) as a non-commercial movement is five, unless the export is for competition, an exhibition or a sporting event, and the animals are registered for the event and the animals are more than six months old.

1An animal is considered to be accompanied if the non-commercial movement of the animal takes place up to five days later or earlier than the movement of the owner (or authorised person2).
2An authorised person has written authorisation from the owner to carry out the export on behalf of the owner.

Any animal (dog, cat or ferret) which does not comply with the above definition is considered to be an import (commercial movement).

Exporters of such animals must read the information for Imports (commercial movements).

Health certification and import health conditions

Non-commercial movements of animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) to GB from Australia must be undertaken under the Pet health certificate for the non-commercial movement to Great Britain, Channel Islands and Isle of Man of dogs, cats or ferrets in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 576/2013.

The non-commercial health certificate includes the import health conditions which the exporter must comply with for the animal (dog, cat or ferret) to enter GB as a non-commercial movement.

The import health conditions for dogs destined for GB also require the animals to be treated against Echinococcus multiocularis, as outlined in the health certificate (Regulation (EU) 2018/878). The treatment must be administered by a veterinarian no more than 120 hours and no less than 24 hours before the time of the scheduled entry into GB.

The import health conditions for cats destined for GB require that during the 60 days prior to export the cat has not been resident on properties where Hendra disease has been confirmed (2006/146/EC). This clause does not appear in the GB health certificate and the Department will provide the additional certification upon the exporter providing a declaration confirming the cat's last 60 days of residency prior to export. If an exporter is concerned that their cat(s) may not be eligible for export due to this requirement then they should contact the Department's office in the state/territory from where the animals will depart.

The non-commercial certificate must be accompanied by appropriate original supporting documentation, or a certified copy of that documentation, including vaccination details and the result of any tests (where necessary). This documentation must bear the identification details of the animal(s) concerned.

Identification of the dog, cat or ferret

The animal(s) shall be identified by an electronic identification system (electronic microchip or transponder) or by a clearly readable tattoo applied before 3 July 2011, of which the alpha-numeric code corresponds to the one documented in the health certificate and any testing, treatment or other declarations associated with the export.

If an exporter seeks to utilise an identification method other than an electronic microchip they should seek written confirmation from the UK authority that the proposed method is acceptable, prior to preparing the animal for export.

Technical requirements for electronic microchips or transponders are set out in Annex II of EU 576/2013.

Transponders must:

  1. comply with ISO Standard 11784 and apply HDX or FDX-B technology, and
  2. be capable of being read by a reading device compatible with ISO standard 11785.

Rabies vaccination

The import health conditions require the animal(s) to be vaccinated against rabies with an 'anti-rabies vaccination' in accordance with Annex III of EU 576/2013.

The anti-rabies vaccination must meet the following conditions:

  1. be administered to the animal(s) by an authorised veterinarian after the animal(s) has been identified by a microchip/ tattoo
  2. the animal(s) must be at least 12 weeks of age at the date on which the vaccine was administered.
    Note
    Rabies vaccines available in Australia may not be registered for use in animals less than 3 months of age. Registered veterinarians administering vaccines should do so in accordance with the product's registration)
  3. the period of vaccine validity does not start until 21 days from the date of vaccine administration and continues until the end of the period of protective immunity prescribed by the vaccine manufacturer
  4. any subsequent revaccination is considered to be a primary vaccination unless it is carried out within the period of validity referred to in point 3.
  5. all details of the vaccination must be included where required on the non-commercial certificate.

Rabies antibody titration test

Depending on the proposed export route after departure from Australia, animals may be required to undergo a rabies antibody titration test as outlined in the non-commercial certificate.

If a rabies antibody titration test is required, it must meet the requirements of Annex IV of EU 576/2013:

  1. be undertaken on a sample collected at least 30 days after the date of 'anti-rabies vaccination' and documented by an authorised veterinarian where required on the non-commercial certificate and
  2. be undertaken not less than three months before the date of export or period of transit for which the test is required
  3. must measure a level of neutralising antibody equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml using the method prescribed in Annex IV of EU 576/2013
  4. does not have to be renewed if the result is equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml as long as the animal is revaccinated within the period of rabies vaccine validity referenced above
  5. be performed in a laboratory authorised by the European Union to do so.
Note
The Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (Formerly named the Australian Animal Health Laboratory) is included on the list of rabies testing authorised laboratories.

Declarations

Any declaration (required or optional) provided alongside the required health certification must be written in English.

Required declarations

The GB non-commercial certification must be accompanied by a declaration from the owner of the animals (or authorised person4) included in Part 3 of Annex IV of Commission Implementing Regulation 577/2013.

This declaration confirms that the animal is not being exported for sale or to change owners and will be accompanied3 by the owner (or authorised person4).

The required declaration immediately follows the non-commercial health certificate in the template provided by the Department.

Optional declaration – Transit permissions en route to GB and the transit declaration

For dogs, cats and ferrets exported by air, they must be carried on an 'approved airline' and via and approved air route.

Non-commercial consignments of dogs, cats and ferrets destined for GB from Australia may travel:

  1. direct with no periods of transit or transhipment at another airport on route if vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the import health conditions; or
  2. with transit or transhipment via an airport in a country listed in Annex II to EU Regulation No 577/2013 (Annex II list is below; note it does not include Thailand or Indonesia) if vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the import health conditions; or
  3. with transit or transhipment via an airport in a country not listed in Annex II to EU Regulation No 577/2013 if vaccinated in accordance with the import health conditions and the owner (or authorised person4) provides a signed declaration5 that during the period of transit/ transhipment the animals had no contact with animal species susceptible to rabies and the animal remained secured within the aircraft or within the perimeter of an international airport; or
  4. with transit or transhipment via an airport in a country not listed in Annex II to EU Regulation No 577/2013 if vaccinated against rabies and has undergone a rabies antibody titration test in accordance with the import health conditions.

3An animal is considered to be accompanied if the non-commercial movement of the animal takes place up to five days later or earlier than the movement of the owner (or authorised person4).
4An authorised person has written authorisation from the owner to carry out the export on behalf of the owner.
5Exporters utilising the transit declaration option must on arrival in GB provide the BIP with a completed transit declaration confirming that during the period of transit/transhipment the animals had no contact with animal species susceptible to rabies and the animal remained secured within the aircraft or within the perimeter of an international airport.

Table 2: List of countries in Annex II of EU Regulation 577/2013
CountryCountryCountry
Andorra
FijiTrinidad and Tobago
SwitzerlandFalkland IslandsTaiwan
Faroe IslandsUnited Kingdom (not including Northern Ireland)America Samoa

GibraltarGuernseyGuam
GreenlandHong KongNorthern Mariana Islands
IcelandIsle of ManPuerto Rico
LiechtensteinJamaicaUS Virgin Islands
MonacoJapanSaint Vincent and the Grenadines


Mayotte
San MarinoJerseyBritish Virgin Islands

Vatican City StateSaint Kitts and NevisVanuatu

Ascension IslandCayman IslandWallis and Futuna
United Arab Emirates (includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi)Saint LuciaUnited States of America
Antigua and BarbudaMontserrat 
ArgentinaNorth Macedonia 
AustraliaMauritius 
ArubaMexico 
Bosnia and HerzegovinaMalaysia 
BarbadosNew Caledonia 
BahrainNew Zealand 
BermudaFrench Polynesia 
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (the BES Islands)Saint Pierre and Miquelon 
BelarusRussia 
CanadaSingapore 
ChileSaint Helena 
CuracaoSint Maarten 

Imports (commercial movements)

Definition

An Import (also known as a commercial movement) is an export to Great Britain (GB) which does not comply with the definition of a non-commercial movement (see above).

Health certification and import health conditions

Imports (commercial movements) of animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) to GB from Australia must be undertaken under the Model veterinary certificate for the importation of dogs, cats and ferrets GBHC157X.

The imports health certificate includes the import health conditions which the exporter must comply with for the animal (dog, cat or ferret) to enter GB as an import (commercial movement).

The import health conditions for dogs destined for GB also require the animals to be treated against Echinococcus multiocularis, as outlined in the health certificate (Regulation (EU) 2018/878). The treatment must be administered by a veterinarian no more than 120 hours and no less than 24 hours before the time of the schedule entry into GB.

The import health conditions for cats destined for GB require that during the 60 days prior to export the cat has not been resident on properties where Hendra disease has been confirmed (2006/146/EC). This clause does not appear in the GB health certificate and the Department will provide the additional certification upon the exporter providing a declaration confirming the cat's last 60 days of residency prior to export. If an exporter is concerned that their cat(s) may not be eligible for export due to this requirement then they should contact the Department.

The imports certificate must be accompanied by appropriate original supporting documentation, or a certified copy of that documentation, including vaccination details and the result of any tests (where necessary). This documentation must bear the identification details of the animal(s) concerned.

Registration of the holding or business where the animal is held prior to export

The Department does not register domestic holdings (premises) or businesses where dogs, cats or ferrets are held as this is undertaken where required by the relevant state, territory or local government authorities in accordance with their own legislation.

Australian export legislation allows the Department to approve premises on a consignment-by-consignment basis where animals are held prior to export if required by the importing country requirements as is the case with imports of dogs, cats and ferrets to GB (refer Box I.11).

The Department will accept the Notice of Intention to export a dog, cat or ferret to GB as an import (commercial movement) as being an application for premises approval for the individual consignment.

Exporters must ensure that the name and address of the premises where a dog, cat or ferret is held prior to export to GB as an import (commercial movement) is included at Box I.11 of Model veterinary certificate for the importation of dogs, cats and ferrets GBHC157X.

At the time of certification for export the Departmental Veterinary Officer (DVO) will enter the 'Approval number' required by the Model veterinary certificate for the importation of dogs, cats and ferrets GBHC157X at Box I.11. The number entered will be consistent with the health certificate number that is entered at Box I.2. and II.a. on each page of the same certificate.

The 'Approval number' entered by the DVO will vary from consignment to consignment reflecting the requirements of Australian export legislation.

Identification of the dog, cat or ferret

The animal(s) shall be identified by an electronic identification system (electronic microchip or transponder) or by a clearly readable tattoo applied before 3 July 2011, of which the alpha-numeric code corresponds to the one documented in the health certificate and any testing, treatment or other declarations associated with the export.

If an exporter seeks to utilise an identification method other than an electronic microchip they should seek written confirmation from the UK authority that the proposed method is acceptable prior to preparing the animal for export.

Technical requirements for electronic microchips of transponders are set out in Annex II of EU 576/2013.

'Transponders must:

  1. comply with ISO Standard 11784 and apply HDX or FDX-B technology; and
  2. be capable of being read by a reading device compatible with ISO standard 11785.'

Rabies vaccination

The import health conditions require the animal(s) to be vaccinated against rabies with an 'anti-rabies vaccination' in accordance with Annex III of EU 576/2013.

The anti-rabies vaccination must meet the following conditions:

  1. be administered to the animal(s) by an authorised veterinarian after the animal(s) has been identified by microchip/ tattoo
  2. the animal(s) must be at least 12 weeks of age at the date on which the vaccine was administered
    Note
    Rabies vaccines available in Australia may not be registered for use in animals less than 3 months of age. Registered veterinarians administering vaccines should do so in accordance with the product's registration.
  3. the period of vaccine validity does not start until 21 days from the date of vaccine administration and continues until the end of the period of protective immunity prescribed by the vaccine manufacturer
  4. any subsequent revaccination is considered to be a primary vaccination unless it is carried out within the period of validity referred to in point 3.
  5. all details of the vaccination must be included where required on the imports certificate

Rabies antibody titration test

Depending on the proposed export route after departure from Australia, animals may be required to undergo a rabies antibody titration test as outlined in the non-commercial certificate.

If a rabies antibody titration test is required, it must meet the requirements of Annex IV of EU 576/2013:

  1. be undertaken on a sample collected at least 30 days after the date of 'anti-rabies vaccination' and documented by an authorised veterinarian where required on the imports certificate and
  2. be undertaken not less than three months before the date of export or period of transit for which the test is required
  3. must measure a level of neutralising anti-body equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml using the method prescribed in Annex IV of EU 576/2013
  4. does not have to be renewed if the result is equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml as long as the animal is revaccinated within the period of rabies vaccine validity referenced above.
  5. must be performed in a laboratory authorised by the European Union to do so.
Note
The Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (Formerly named the Australian Animal Health Laboratory) is included on the list of rabies testing authorised laboratories.

Declarations

The health certificate for imports (commercial movements) of dogs, cats and ferrets to GB has no additional associated declarations.

Transit permissions en route to GB

In October 2022, a Senior Policy Advisor from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that transit/ transhipment arrangements for commercial consignments of dogs, cats and ferrets destined to GB are as per the arrangements for non-commercial consignments of these species.

That said, according to the health certificate for imports (commercial movements) of dogs, cats and ferrets to GB, these animal may travel to GB from Australia:

  1. direct6 if vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the import health conditions
  2. with transit through a territory or third country listed in Part 1 of Annex II to Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010 or listed without time limit in a document relating to ‘equidae’ published on gov.uk, in accordance with Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/659 if vaccinated against rabies and the animal has undergone a rabies antibody titration test in accordance with the import health conditions.
6 For imports of dogs, cats and ferrets destined to GB from Australia, the UK Government considers a direct flight to be one where either:
  1. the aircraft does not land, transit or transship en route to GB
    or
  2. the animals remain either onboard an aircraft or within the customs boundary of the airport for the duration of the export to GB and the responsible person provides a signed declaration that during the period of time the animal(s) were within the customs boundary of the airport the animal(s) had no contact with animals of species susceptible to rabies and remain secured within a means of transport or within the perimeter of an international airport.

    Option ii. must not take longer than 48 hours.

Prospective exporters of dogs, cats and ferrets destined to GB under the commercial health certificate should check with the office of the GB authority where the animals will cross the GB border to confirm their latest advice.

Special conditions

Notes for registered veterinarians

Registered veterinarians preparing dogs, cats and ferrets for export to GB must ensure that animals are identified in accordance with GB requirements prior to the administration of the anti-rabies vaccination.

Registered veterinarians preparing dogs, cats and ferrets for export to GB should be aware that while UK legislation may require animals to be a minimum of 12 weeks old at the time of anti-rabies vaccination, anti-rabies vaccinations registered for use in Australia generally require animals to be a minimum of 3 months old (which is slightly older than 12 weeks). Registered veterinarians should ensure they understand their professional responsibilities in accordance with their veterinary registration with respect to administration of any veterinary drug.

For non-commercial health certificates

Registered veterinarians must ensure that all other parts of the health certificate are completed (including strike-through, where applicable) prior to that endorsement.

Handwritten parts of the certificate and ink stamps must be in an ink colour other than that the health certificate is printed.

Note
The 'certificate reference number' box on each page should remain blank as the Departmental Veterinary Officer (DVO) will enter the certificate reference number at the time a Department health certificate and export permit is issued.
The date of microchip implantation and/or reading must be the same as the date of Rabies vaccination.
Registered veterinarians preparing dogs, cats and ferrets for export to GB are required to complete the box on the last page of the health certificate labelled 'Official veterinarian/ Authorised veterinarian'.

If compliant, the DVO will also endorse all pages of the health certificate.

For imports (commercial movements) health certificates

Registered veterinarians must ensure that all other parts of the health certificate are completed (including strike-through, where applicable) prior to that endorsement.

Handwritten parts of the certificate and ink stamps must be in an ink colour other than that the health certificate is printed.

Note
The 'certificate reference number' box on each page should remain blank as the DVO will enter the certificate reference number at the time a Departmental health certificate and export permit is issued.
The 'Approval number' entry for the 'Place of origin' at box I.11 should remain blank as this number will be entered by the DVO at the time a Departmental health certificate and export permit is issued.
The date of microchip implantation and/or reading must be the same as the date of Rabies vaccination.
Registered veterinarians preparing dogs, cats and ferrets for export to GB are required to complete the box on the last page of the health certificate labelled 'Official veterinarian'.

If compliant the DVO will also endorse all pages of the health certificate.

Other requirements

Importing country requirements – Northern Ireland

Dogs, cats and ferrets are exported to Northern Ireland from Australia on model European Union (EU) health certification and further information on the EU certification process can be found under the Micor – EU.

Additional information is available on the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs' website.

Information about transit/ transhipment arrangements for animals destined to Northern Ireland and that travel via GB are found on the UK Government's website.

The UK Government have advised that dogs, cats and ferrets destined to Northern Ireland, and that will remain in GB for more than 48 hours before transhipment to Northern Ireland or that depart the airport, must also comply with the requirements for GB and be accompanied by a GB health certificate.

Return to Australia

If your animal is returning to Australia, you should make yourself familiar with the Department's requirements for importing live animals into Australia. This is important as your animal may have been exposed to diseases that do not occur in Australia.

Basis for Micor entry

Based on importing country website and information.

Entry last reviewed 20 October 2022.

Latest updates

04/11/2022 - Minor update to Model veterinary certificate.
11/10/2022 - Updated Model veterinary certificate and amendments to transit permissions for imports (commercial movements).
23/08/2022 - Updated Model veterinary certificate for imports (commercial movements) and guidance for completion.
25/08/2021 - Updated transit permissions advice for imports.
01/04/2021 - Extensive changes have been made to all sections of this entry.
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Last updated: 4/11/2022 10:56 AMCreated: 15/01/2015 12:39 PM