Documentation & Regulations
Information for pets travelling between UK and Europe
Is VAT payable on pets entering Great Britain?
Transfer of Residence (ToR)
To apply, complete the ToR01 form.
You’ll receive a reference number from HMRC (the UK Customs office) that should allow you to bring your pet into GB without paying VAT. If you don’t receive your ToR reference number before you and your pet arrive, you’ll have to pay VAT on deposit on arrival. You should then be able claim it back once you have your ToR reference number. Imports of family pets from abroad as described above are classed as non-commercial. Do bear in mind that, in some cases, VAT may be payable even if you have a ToR reference number.
Pets travelling to GB to join new owners If your cat or dog is entering the UK without you (because, for example, you’ve bought it from an overseas breeder or adopted it from an overseas shelter), you’ll need to use the
Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) to notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) about the import. VAT may be payable on these imported dogs and cats, and will be calculated as follows.
If the pet has effectively cost you nothing (eg adoption, gift), VAT will be calculated on the pet’s nominal value (typically around £60 for a cat and around £100 for a dog) or its perceived value.
If you bought the pet from a breeder or other seller, VAT will be calculated on its actual value and on a percentage of the transport costs (the actual percentage hasn’t yet been confirmed, but could be between 20% and 50%). You’ll need to provide invoices or receipts showing the cost of the pet and of its transport.
Note that breeders in the EU have always been able to charge their UK clients VAT on the purchase price of a cat or dog. Previously, the breeder collected the VAT by adding it to the sales invoice. Now, the breeder’s invoice excludes VAT, and the UK government collects the VAT directly from the new owner instead. Imports of pets purchased abroad are classed as commercial.
What this means for you as a client? Before we can enter GB with a client’s cat, dog, kitten or puppy, we have to apply for customs clearance. The documentation we have to present includes information from the owner covering the purchase, valuation and transport of the pet, and the owner’s name and GB address.
If VAT applies to the pet, the owner must pay it before we can apply for customs clearance. We use a customs agent who will inform you in good time of any VAT amount payable. Pets can’t be cleared until VAT has been paid or a ToR reference number provided. UK government sources for more information For definitive, up-to-date information, please check these UK government sources, which take precedence over the guidance above:
Commercial import of dogs, cats and ferrets
Importing or moving live animals
How to pay duties and VAT on imports
Paying VAT on imports from outside the UK to GB and from outside the EU to NI
Animal Health Certificate
An Animal Health Certificate is the replacement 12-page document for the previously used pet passport. It is a one-time use document that allows your pet entry into the EU and Northern Ireland for up to 5 pets. It allows onwards travel within the EU for up to 4 months and return to the UK. It is only for dogs, cats and ferrets. You will need a new certificate every time you travel.
How do I Get an Animal Health Certificate?
To obtain an Animal Health Certificate, you must take your pet to your vet. You need to do this no more than 10 days before you travel and your pet must be microchipped, be at least 12 weeks old and have had their rabies vaccine. Your pet will need to be examined and the certificate signed by an “Official Veterinarian” (OV). You will need to provide proof of your pets’ microchipping date and vaccination history. Once the health check and certificate is completed it will be valid after the date issued for:
10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
4 months for onward travel within the EU
4 months for re-entry to the UK
Your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from the UK.
How long does an animal Health Certificate last?
The certificate is valid for 10 days to enter the EU. Then the animal health certificate is valid for one trip of 4 months of travel within the EU. You will also need to travel back to the UK within that 4 month period before the certificate expires.
Travelling in the EU and beyond for More than 4 Months
What do you do if you plan to travel in the EU and beyond for more than 4 months; say If you’re going into Croatia to stop the Schengen clock? We wanted to know as we plan to do just that and to our surprise, we received the below email reply from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (PetTravel@apha.gov.uk) stating that you need to get an EU pet passport.
If you live outside the EU.
CLICK HERE FOR HEALTH CERTIFICATES IN HONG KONG
When you leave or enter the UK you need either an AHC ( Animal health Certificate ) or a PP (Pet Passport).
A PP cannot be issued in the UK so if you do not have a PP when leaving you need an AHC
An EU PP is only for those who reside in the EU and cannot be made outside of the EU which includes the UK
Legally an EU vet is not allowed to issue a PP to anyone outside the EU.
Legally a vet cannot transfer vaccination details between a AHC to a PP. In the case of Rabies any new PP means the owner has to wait 21 days before entering the UK even if a rabies shot was given on the old AHC.
You need a vet administered worming treatment before entering the UK in the case of dogs (Not Cats) This will expire 5 days after being administered so entry into the UK has to be within 5 days of the treatment.
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What Our Happy Clients Say
Repatriation after 16 years.
After 16 years living & working overseas, we recently repatriated from Hong Kong to Somerset, Wow, what can we say about Darren, apart from running a great legitimate & fully licensed business, with all requisite knowledge of the trade & border formalities, Darren showed absolute care & consideration not only to his paying customers, but also our furry friends. Nothing short of SUPERB, 10/10. It’s not easy moving 10,000km, but this leg of the journey, whilst long, was utterly seamless & ultimately stress-free.
Iain Brymer, HK
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Sunderland to Plymouth
Great price, very competitive. Our cats arrived totally chilled, didn't seem bothered about the journey at all. Darren was also very understanding and easy to deal with. It all went really smoothly and he didn't even need to take us up on the offer of a cup of tea when he arrived! Also, I'm pretty certain that if anyone tried to nab the cats, it wouldn't have gone well for them!