Pets travelling from Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and South America, the quarantine laws still apply. To qualify, pets must travel by sea via Dover, Plymouth or Portsmouth, by train via the Channel Tunnel or via Gatwick or Heathrow airports (only certain carriers are licensed to carry animals). For further information see www.defra.gov.uk
Pet owners must give particular consideration to these laws before bringing your pet from another country with strict quarantine laws, such as the UK; if you need to return prematurely, even after a few hours or days, your pet may need to go into quarantine, e.g. for six months in the UK.
However, the UK introduced a pilot ‘Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)’ in March 2000, which has replaced quarantine for qualifying cats and dogs. Under the scheme, pets must be micro-chipped (they have a chip inserted under their skin in their neck/shoulder) and vaccinated against rabies, undergo a blood test and be issued with a ‘health certificate’ (‘passport’).
Please note that the PETS certificate is not issued until 6 months after the above have been carried out. Pets must also be checked for ticks and tapeworm 24-48 hours before embarking on a plane or ship. With an up-to-date passport, an animal can return to the UK without needing to be quarantined.
The scheme is restricted to animals imported from rabies-free countries and countries where rabies is under control – 22 European countries plus Bahrain, Canada and the US.