Bringing your Dog into the UK from the USA

Published on 26th Nov, 2016 by Brad K

Having just moved to the UK from the United States, I thought I would write a simple guide on how to bring your dog from the United States (or Canada) to the United Kingdom. Pet Travel Scheme ("PETS") is a system which allows animals to travel easily between EU member countries without undergoing quarantine. This allows you to bring your dog into the UK (and the rest of Europe) from the United States WITHOUT having to put them into quarantine.

What you need:

  1. Your dog must be microchipped (it should be an ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 standard chip unless you bring your own scanner to the port of entry)
  2. Your dog has up to date rabies vaccination.
  3. Your dog’s microchip needed to be installed before their most recent rabies vaccination. (My dog did not have documentation of being microchipped, so I had my vet write a letter stating that she was microchipped before her most recent rabies vaccination and that was accepted)
  4. You should have a filled out and stamped (by the USDA) third party veterinary certificate. This is the Health certificate for pets entering the EU from non-EU countries and some territories form
  5. Have a tapeworm treatment between 1 and 5 days before you enter the UK. (I took the Queen Mary 2, transatlantic crossing. It was between 1 and 5 days before boarding the boat).
  6. You are traveling on an approved route.

Note: British law prohibits all animals (except guide dogs) travelling to or from the UK in the passenger cabin of airplanes. They must travel in the hold as manifest cargo.

What you have to do:

  1. Find a vet to fill out the Health certificate for pets entering the EU from non-EU countries and some territories form. I used Vinegar Hill Vet in Brooklyn, NY.
  2. Go to FedEx, you will need an account with Fedex to get a prepaid shipping label.
  3. Create an account with a debit or credit card (the associates in store will do this for you. It only takes about 3 minutes)
  4. Buy an overnight envelope with tracking number and request another overnight envelope with tracking number on your account.
  5. A cheque made out the USDA for $38.00 USD.
  6. Once you have a completed and signed certificate, you overnight fedex it in to the USDA along with all the required documents (the cheque, the prepaid envelope, a completed pet export checklist and the third party vet forms filled out and signed by your vet). Note: if you are traveling in less than 3 days, you can phone them and get an appointment, but I have heard they get very grumpy about this. To find the service center for your state, see this PDF.
  7. Use the tracking number on your first package to confirm the package made it to the USDA
  8. Once they receive it, they will NOT notify you. This is why the tracking numbers are so important. Keep an eye on the prepaid tracking number to see when the USDA have completed the form and mailed it back. They should receive it within 1 business day.
  9. The next business day, the USDA will ship the stamped form back to you.
  10. Check your tracking number for the pre-paid envelope you included in your package. Your stamped form should arrive 3 business days after you send it (1 day to send, 1 to process, one to receive).

With your stamped forms, you and rover are now ready to head to the UK. Make sure you use an approved route and bring along the stamped USDA form, the rabies vaccination certificate and the microchip documentation. Now your pooch is ready to hang out in the UK (and the rest of Europe) with you. The stamped form is supposed to be valid for 4 months.


**On our way to the UK from New York City**