Visa Information, Visa Requirements, Visa Application Guidelines, Immigration Rules and Inquiry

Monday, 16 March 2015

Traveling with food, animals or plants to the UK - What you need to know!

Pets and other animals

You can take your dog, cat or ferret into the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). 


There are no restrictions on taking pet rodents, rabbits, birds, ornamental fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles to the UK from other EU countries.

Pet rabbits and rodents from countries outside the EU must spend 4 months in quarantine. They need a rabies import licence.


You are responsible for ensuring your pet meets all the rules for entering the UK under the pet travel scheme. Make sure you have had the procedures carried out in the correct order and that your pet’s documentation is correctly completed. If you do not, your pet may not be able to enter the country or may have to be licensed into quarantine on arrival. This will mean delay and will cost you money.

What you need to do

The information below outlines what preparations your pet will need to enter the UK depending on what country you are travelling from.
If you are entering the UK from the EU or a listed non-EU country your pet must:
  • be identified with a microchip
  • have received a rabies vaccination followed by a 21 day wait
  • be accompanied by the relevant documentation
  • be treated against tapeworm (dogs only)
  • enter with an approved transport company on an authorised route
If you are entering the UK from an unlisted non-EU country your pet must:
  • be identified with a microchip
  • have received a rabies vaccination
  • complete a blood test followed by a three month wait
  • be accompanied by the relevant documentation
  • be treated against tapeworm (dogs only)
  • enter with an approved transport company on an authorised route
If you are re-entering the UK from an unlisted country with an EU pet passport:
  • Pets travelling to an unlisted non-EU country that have been identified, microchipped and blood sampled 30 days after vaccination demonstrating a positive titration result before leaving the UK (or another EU country) may re-enter the UK without having to meet the three month waiting period. The vaccination, blood sample and positive titration result must be recorded on the pet passport.

 

How many pets can you travel with?

Under the EU pet travel scheme the number of pets that you can travel with is limited to five per person. Anyone looking to travel with more than five pets must comply with the rules governing the commercial trade and import regime.

The only exception to this rule is for pet owners who are travelling to attend a competition, show, sporting event or training for such an event. You will need to provide written evidence that you are eligible to make use of this exemption and will be asked to present this when you travel. All the pets accompanying you must be attending the event or training and they must all be aged over six months. In addition you will need to complete a declaration confirming that you do not intend to sell or transfer ownership of your pets and you must bring this with you when you travel.

Documentation

To take your dog, cat or ferret into (or back into) the UK, it must be accompanied either by an EU pet passport or a third country official veterinary certificate. The passport or certificate must show that your pet has been microchipped (a tattoo is only acceptable in certain circumstances), vaccinated against rabies and if necessary blood tested. It must also show that your dog has been treated against tapeworm.

A new style pet passport was introduced on 29 December 2014. Any passport issued before 29 December 2014 will remain valid for the lifetime of the pet or until all the treatment spaces are filled. All passports issued on or after 29 December 2014 must be in the new format.

Cats from Australia must be accompanied by a certificate showing protection against Hendra disease. Cats and dogs from the Malaysian Peninsula must be accompanied by a certificate showing protection against Nipah disease.


Plants

You can take in any plant material from countries within the European Union (EU) if it is:
  • grown in an EU country
  • free from pests and diseases
  • for your own use
The leaflet ‘Bringing fruit, vegetable and plant products into the UK’ has more information on which plant material you can bring in, and how much of each item is allowed.

 

Taking plants to the UK from abroad

If you’re travelling from a country outside the EU, many products have weight and quantity restrictions or are banned completely unless you have a ‘phytosanitary’ (plant health) certificate.

You can get the certificate from the plant health authorities in the country you’re leaving. It proves your plants have been inspected, are free from dangerous pests and diseases, and are suitable to enter the UK.

 

Buying plants online or by post

Check that the seller can provide a phytosanitary certificate before you buy any plants from outside the EU.

You don’t need a certificate if you’re buying a plant from within the EU.


Food

What you can take into the UK depends on whether you’re travelling from within or outside the European Union.

The EU also includes Andorra, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland in this context.

 

Within the EU

You can take any fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy or other animal products (eg fish, eggs and honey) into the UK if you’re travelling from a country within the EU.

 

Outside the EU

You cannot take meat, meat products, milk, dairy products or potatoes into the UK from most countries outside the EU.
You can take up to 2 kilograms (kg) of fruit and vegetables (except potatoes) into the UK as long as they are:
  • in personal baggage
  • for you and your family or friends (ie you can’t sell them)
  • free from signs of pests and diseases
You can also bring:
  • egg products, eggs and honey (up to 2kg in total)
  • fish (up to 20kg in total or 1 fish, whichever is the heaviest)
Any fish you bring in must be fresh and gutted, cooked, cured, dried or smoked.

 

Penalties and appeals

If you’re traveling back to the UK from outside the EU and you don’t declare food that’s not allowed, it will be taken away. You could face severe delays and face possible charge and prosecution.

You can appeal for compensation if you think your products shouldn’t have been taken away.

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