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Pet Travel Scheme

North American Pets Wing their Way to Great Britain


Pets entering Great Britain from the United States and Canada are no longer subjected to a six-month quarantine if they meet the strict vaccination and chip requirements set forth by the government.


Before you book that flight, please read about what U.S. and Canadian citizens must do to prepare their pets for entry into Great Britain. The Pet Travel Scheme has a very specific sequence of events that most be completed - microchipping, rabies vaccination, blood test, and finally the issuance of a health certificate. Your pet may not enter the UK under PETS until six months have passed from the date that your vet took the blood sample which led to a successful rabies test result. Once the vet has signed the PETS certificate and that six month period has passed, the PETS certificate is valid and your pet may enter the UK.

As a footnote - until an approved route from North America is available and official certification agreed, animals will have to go into short stay quarantine, usually only for two to three days, while the microchip and paperwork are checked.
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Great Britain, November 20, 2002:

The successful PETS Travel Scheme is to be extended to dogs and cats from the United States and Canada, Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley announced today.

From 11 December, people coming to this country from the USA and Canada will be able to bring their vaccinated pets without having to put them into six months quarantine. However, until an approved route from North America is available and official certification agreed, animals will have to go into short stay quarantine, usually only for two to three days, whilst the microchip and paperwork are checked.

Announcing the extension to North America, Elliot Morley said:

"When we introduced the Scheme we recognised that there was significant demand from people in the USA and Canada, and indeed UK travellers, for those two countries to be included in the Scheme. We were cautious about doing so, but did undertake to consider again whether or not to include these countries in the Scheme. We have now done this.

"We have carried out several scientific assessments of the risk of importing rabies if the Pet Travel Scheme was extended to USA and Canada. Both these assessments concluded that the risk of importing rabies into the UK by extending the Pet Travel Scheme to the USA and Canada was low."

"We now have this assurance and I am therefore very pleased to announce that the Government has decided to extend the Pet Travel Scheme to USA and Canada.

"Because of the many close links between our countries many people in the USA and Canada have the opportunity to come and live and work in the UK. But some refuse because they cannot bear to be separated from their cats or dogs for the six months they must stay in quarantine.

"I am delighted to say that the legislation giving effect to this change has been laid before Parliament today and will come into force on Wednesday 11 December. From that date, dogs and cats from the USA and Canada which meet the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme will be able to enter the UK without going into quarantine for six months.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to stress that all the conditions applying to the Pet Travel Scheme must be complied with if an animal is to avoid six months quarantine. We have prepared explanatory leaflets for pet owners and US and Canadian vets. These are available from my Department and are on our Website."

Discussions with airlines for approval of routes into England and with the authorities in the USA and Canada about appropriate certification to accompany such animals continue. Until these are in place, qualifying animals will have to go into quarantine for a few days until it is confirmed that they do meet fully the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme. If they do then they will be released from quarantine as quickly as possible.

The UK has been free from rabies for many years and wishes to remain so. The Pet Travel Scheme rules are strictly applied; it is the responsibility of the pet owner to make sure their animal meets all the conditions of the Scheme and that the owner has all the documentation to prove this. Travellers from the USA and Canada must bring their documentation with them.

In the UK and Europe most microchips and scanners comply with ISO Standards. The USA and Canada have different microchips. Owners of animals identified with non-ISO microchips may experience some difficulties in demonstrating that their animal has been microchipped. Such owners are advised to provide their own scanner.

Pets on the Go is the definitive resource on pet accommodation and travel information. Our international resources, available to members, include pet importation information and our international database of accommodations. For more information about membership or to learn more about pet air transportation, please visit Pets on the Go.com.