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Travelling with Pets

UK leaving the EU: From 23:00 UTC on 31 January 2020 the UK is no longer a member of the EU. However, the UK and the EU ratified a withdrawal agreement, which means that we enter a transition period during which the Union law is applicable to and in the UK, except where otherwise stated in the withdrawal agreement. In reality this means that the EU will treat the UK as if it were a Member State, with the exception of UK participation in the EU institutions and governance structures. The UK remains in both the EU Customs Union and the Single Market for the duration of the transition period. Goods with Union status remain in free circulation and can therefore remain in the UK or the remaining 27 EU countries with no time limit. Freedom of movement will continue to apply to nationals of the UK during the transition period, so there will be no restriction on how long you can spend in the EU. In other words, although the UK has left the EU, in day to day life, nothing really changes for the duration of the transition period. 

Although the UK has relaxed its quarantine rules to an extent, it still only allows pets to be brought into the UK without quarantine under certain conditions.

Pet Travel Rules

It is not permitted to bring pets into the UK by private boat or plane (unless you are arriving from Ireland). They must arrive by an approved transport company on an authorised route.

These rules are in place to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other diseases. The current regulations have been in force since 1 January 2012 when the UK brought its procedures into line with the European Union.

Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)

In order for pet dogs, cats and ferrets from any country to enter the UK without quarantine, they must comply with the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). These rules differ depending on the country or territory the pet is coming from.

The scheme also means that people in the UK can take their dogs, cats and ferrets to any country and bring them back to the UK (using an approved transport company) without the need for the animals to enter quarantine. 

The rules do not permit pet owners to bring pets into the UK from a private boat or plane or with any transport company that has not successfully negotiated an agreement with DEFRA called a Required Method of Operation (RMOP).  Pet owners are only able to use the routes and transport companies detailed at to bring their pets into the UK under the PETS, subject to the transport company’s agreement.

British Isles

The UK does however allow travel between the Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Isle of Man and Great Britain and the Channel Islands. The UK does not currently require documentation for these movements although you may wish to travel with your pet’s passport, if available.

As it is prohibited to bring a pet into the UK on a private boat from another country, PETS advises that you keep a ship’s log, noting which ports you have entered in order to avoid problems with port officials on re-entry to the UK.

In the event of problems at sea which, for example, resulted in the vessel making an emergency stop in a port outside the British Isles for repairs, your cat, dog or ferret would require 6 months quarantine on re-entry to the UK. It is therefore recommended that your cat/dog is prepared under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to avoid such risks.

Republic of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland has implemented EU regulations harmonising travel for dogs, cats and ferrets throughout the EU. Accompanied pets may enter Ireland without quarantine as long as they meet the rules for travelling under the EU Pet Travel Scheme

If you are travelling with a pet on a private vessel (or aircraft), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provides the following advice on its website:

Travelling by Private Transport (Aircraft/Yacht)

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine may facilitate the landing of pets into Ireland by private transport, where possible.  Cats, dogs and ferrets must comply with the rules for pet travel.

This advice, together with contact details for further enquiries, can be found at the bottom of the page on Bringing your pet cat, dog or ferret into Ireland on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's website.

At present, UK domestic legislation does not require pet owners to use approved routes or carriers when bringing pets to the UK from the Republic of Ireland.

Further information

Please contact the Pet Travel Scheme:

Pets Helpline Tel: 0370 241 1710
Or email:


Bringing your pet dog, cat or ferret to the UK - information on

MSN 1799 Rabies: carriage of animals on ships:

States of Guernsey pets information:

States of Jersey pets information:

Ireland pets information:

European Commission - Animals:

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