Please ensure you read the latest rules as per the 29th December 2014 changes here

DEFRA Definition

If you are the registered owner of the pet (microchip is in your name) and the pet needs to be transported because of a change in your circumstances (holiday, moving house, illness etc) and you can’t transport the pet yourself then you may use an authorised transport company (DEFRA certified, Transporter Type 2 License) to transport your pet on your behalf by use of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).

This scheme allows for a pet to be taken into the UK so long as the following conditions have been satisfied:

  • be from a holding registered with the EU Member State of origin under Council Directive 92/65/EEC
  • be identified by a microchip prior to rabies vaccination
  • be vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the recommendation on the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet
  • the waiting period before entry to the UK is 21 days after a valid vaccination
  • before entering the UK all dogs (not required for cats) must be treated for tapeworm, administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK
  • be accompanied by a passport containing a rabies vaccination record modelled on Annex 1 of Commission Decision 2003/803/EC
  • a Declaration of Owner not accompanying Pet during its journey form to have been completed.

In Simple Terms

In brief the transport of the pet should be as a result of a change of circumstance to the owner, not to the animal. If there has been, or will be, a transfer of ownership as a result of the transport (i.e. an animal has been re-homed, or will be re-homed), the PETS Scheme should not be used and the animal should be transported under the TRACES Travel Scheme

If you have lived in Country 1, adopted a dog or cat, and are now going to live in Country 2, then you can use the PETS Scheme as the reason for the animals transport is due to a change of circumstance to the owner.

If you live in Country 1, adopted a dog or cat, and are now going on holiday to Country 2, then you can use the PETS Scheme as the reason for the animals transport is due to a change of circumstance to the owner.

If you own properties in Country 1 and Country 2 and spend time in each then your registered pet can travel under the PETS Scheme.

If you live in Country 2, adopt an animal from Country 1, then the you CAN NOT use the PET Scheme (even if the vet in Country 1 registered the animal to you) as the reason for the animals transport is because of a change of ownership of the animal.

Transporting your pet under the PETS Travel Scheme with ALStrays

While the conditions for the PETS Travel Scheme are very clear, there should be no transfer of ownership associated with the transport, there are still a lot of scenarios where it is possible to argue that the PETS Travel Scheme could be used.

Obviously the pet needs to be registered to you, in your name, and to your own address. Any animal registered to a charity, rescue centre or indeed un-registered is going to require a transfer of ownership and thus can’t be transported under the PETS Travel Scheme.

There are a number of scenarios where it is extremely clear that the PETS Travel Scheme is the correct scheme: an expat returning to live in the UK and wanting to take their pet with them, a person living in Spain that is going to the UK on a holiday, a person that owns properties in both the UK and Spain and is traveling between their homes.

On the other hand there are certain scenarios that are not so clear: an expat that is in the process of selling their property but has no specific date in mind, but needs to send their pet ahead of them to be cared for by a family member or friend, in order that they can concentrate on selling their property and be able to move quickly. Or an expat that is receiving long term medical care and can’t care for their pet at the same time, so needs to send it to a family member or friend until such time as they are fit and well again and can have the pet back. Perhaps a new baby has arrived and the pet needs to be sent to a family member or friend until the baby is older, or the pet needs to go to a family member or friend for behavioral training before returning to it’s owner.

In all of the above examples the reason for the transport of the pet is because of a change of circumstance to the owner. There is nothing in the conditions that relates to time or permanence: a house move is pretty permanent, a holiday is temporary. As there is no specific time limit related to the ‘condition’ it is possible that you may be sending your pet ahead of your planned move, or indeed have already moved. The same applies for a planned, or taken holiday. You may be moving homes within a country, or to a third country, but need your pet to be transported to a family member, friend, or kennel in the meantime while you sort out your move. For how long the pet will remain in this ‘temporary’ state until reunited with its owner isn’t specified.

At the end of the day as a transport company we have little choice other than to trust you when you complete the booking form. We make it clear on the form that you need to have read the information on the site relating to the PETS Travel Scheme and the TRACES Travel Scheme, but as we have no way of checking the microchip database to verify ownership, and we can’t check that you have booked a flight, sold your house, or are receiving medical attention, we simply have to trust you. Of course if the passport is filled in with a rescue centre or charity as the owner we will know, but as people that run rescue centers have their own pets and go on holiday, even if we are collecting the dog from a rescue centre we still can’t assume it has been re-homed and is not a pet.

Many expats living in Spain have rescued animals with no plans to return to the UK only to find that circumstances change and they need to sort out a pet passport, microchip, rabies vaccination for their pet which they have owned for years. As such it is not unusual for older animals to have new passports and to have only just been vaccinated etc.

Selling a property in order to move home, or indeed finding a pet friendly home in the UK can take time so it isn’t unusual for a pet to be transported months prior or post a move to the UK, often to a friend, family member, or kennel.

One trend we have noticed increasing is that younger family members are moving back to the UK for work, and they want their newly adopted pet to go with them, especially younger dogs which are too much for the parents to handle.

So when you are transporting your pet under the PETS Travel Scheme with ALStrays we require that all of the above conditions are met, which include an authorisation document from the registered owner. In addition we require:

  • that regardless of destination if the pet is a dog and is crossing an EU border it has a worming tablet administered and signed off by the vet 1-5 days prior to transport.

We require the owner of the pet to complete the required Declaration giving us permission to transport their pet, and they MUST sign this declaration in person when we collect the pet as Pet Passport in Calais do actually require this, even though they very rarely ask for it.