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-   -   Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries) (https://britishexpats.com/forum/moving-back-uk-61/bringing-pets-back-uk-approved-countries-934045/)

KayCooper Jul 29th 2020 1:39 pm

Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 
Hi Everyone,

My husband and I have just moved back from Canada to the UK with our German Shepherd / Husky cross and tabby cat and having stressed about the whole thing for months, I wanted to write a post for those of you who are thinking of embarking on the same adventure. With some planning and double (triple?) checking along the way, the process is NOT as complicated as it's made out to be and can be easily done without the help of a pet relocation specialist. Quite honestly, other than the specialist informing you of what you need to do, and perhaps transporting your pets to / from the airport, you would have fill out the paperwork and do all the visits yourself anyway!

All pets must arrive in the UK as cargo (you cannot fly with them in the cabin, nor can they fly as "luggage"). All airlines have a specific cargo company they use - generally this information is found on the airline's website. This doesn't mean that your furbabies will be flying on a separate plane - it just means the paperwork is handled by the cargo company rather than the airline itself. We flew back with Air Transat - they use Swissport as their cargo carrier.

In short, here is the process we just completed, with some notes added for each step:
1. Get pet microchipped
Straightforward enough. Make sure your vet provides you with the reference numbers and the details of the date the animal(s) were chipped - these are needed for the health cert later on.
2. Sort out rabies injection (MUST be done after your pet is microchipped)
Ensure your vet gives you the original copy of the rabies certificate with the sticker from the vial of liquid they use. This is required for entry in the UK. We made colour copies of the cert to attach to the animal's crates, but we kept the original and provided it at the Animal Reception Centre at Gatwick.
3.
Get the right size crate(s). The animal must be able to stand up and turn around. We went one size bigger than necessary to be absolutely sure. Also, a lot of airlines require the nuts AND bolts to be metal (Air Transat doesn't) You can order these replacement kits online (from the US). They must also have a crate water bottle (same style that you use on a rabbit hutch).
4. Complete Transfer of Residence form (online) to obtain a ToR number from UK Government
If you are shipping furniture etc, then you only need to fill in this form once for animals and furniture. This is only done to avoid paying VAT on your "imports". If you don't have it, it doesn't impact whether your pet is allowed to enter the UK, it just means you'll pay VAT on them (not sure how they calculate it!) You can even complete this form after you land, and claim the VAT paid at the end of the tax year once you have a ToR number.
5. Within 5 days (120 hours) before landing in the UK, your pet(s) must have a health check done by your vet. This involves filling in the Non-Commercial Movement of Five or Less Dogs, Cats or Ferrets form and if you have a dog, they need to be de-wormed at the same time.
It's worth asking if your vet is familiar with this form. If not, I would suggest finding one who is. We didn't use our regular vet because although he was lovely, he wasn't the best at paperwork. We went to another vet and they were great. They provided us with the completed form (both animals were listed on the same form). They also requested the full health history from our original vet to include with the form, just in case. The vet has to watch your dog eat the de-wormer to complete the form.
6. If you are in Canada, you will then need to get that form stamped by the Canada Food Inspection Agency.
You have to contact the agency separately and make an appointment. Once you have your flight details, I would recommend contacting them right away to secure your appointment.
7.
Day of Flight. Take your pets to the cargo place 4 hours before the flight. CHECK THE OPENING TIMES before you fly. Our headache is too long to write out here, but the depot had changed their opening hours due to COVID which meant a mad dash / panic which was eventually resolved, but we could have totally done without it at 6am!) Also check if someone qualified will be there to inspect and weigh the crate / animal. Again, there was an issue with this because they didn't have a supervisor there when we arrived.
8. The paperwork that you must attach to the crate is as follows:
a) A notice of time/date when they had their last feed / water
b) A notice with their Name, Breed, Age, Your name, Flight details, contact details, and emergency contact
c) we also made some of our own "Live Animal" and "This Way Up" notices (but these are also provided by the cargo people)
d) The cargo company also asked us for a copy of the Health Check form and copies of their rabies certificates. I also included the page of the medical history which noted the date they had been microchipped for good measure.
9. When you land in the UK, they asked us for the original rabies certificates, the original Health check form, and proof of microchip. Their processing took about 3 hours (at Gatwick. I've heard Heathrow takes longer). We met a couple who were on the same flight with their dog. Their vet had written one digit wrong on the Health Check form when copying the rabies batch number and so they wouldn't release the dog. They had to sit and wait until their vet (in Canada) was open and get him to scan and email a copy of the original paperwork over. I'm going to assume they managed to get it sorted, but we left before they spoke to their vet.

So, that's the basics. It seems like a lot, but when you break it down, it's not complicated at all. Just get copies of the necessary information, and check reference numbers where applicable.

I'm also happy to answer any questions you may have - just reply to this thread :)

Good luck!

lesleyeblen Aug 4th 2020 2:07 am

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 
Thanks for this - we are just starting to think about shipping our cat from the US to the UK and this article is hugely helpful!

Pulaski Aug 4th 2020 2:16 am

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by KayCooper (Post 12889076)
Hi Everyone,

My husband and I have just moved back from Canada to the UK with our German Shepherd / Husky cross and tabby cat and having stressed about the whole thing for months, I wanted to write a post for those of you who are thinking of embarking on the same adventure. With some planning and double (triple?) checking along the way, the process is NOT as complicated as it's made out to be and can be easily done without the help of a pet relocation specialist. Quite honestly, other than the specialist informing you of what you need to do, and perhaps transporting your pets to / from the airport, you would have fill out the paperwork and do all the visits yourself anyway! ....

Generally on BE it is not made out to be complicated. :confused:

I'm sure that some people think that it is complicated, but they're probably the same people who unnecessarily pay a lawyer to complete their visa application for them.

KayCooper Aug 4th 2020 12:13 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by Pulaski (Post 12892006)
Generally on BE it is not made out to be complicated. :confused:

I'm sure that some people think that it is complicated, but they're probably the same people who unnecessarily pay a lawyer to complete their visa application for them.

I searched on many websites / forums regarding bringing animals back to the UK and never found a clear step-by-step guide to what needs to happen (hence why I wrote the post). Most of the comments I have read on here seem to be about confusion regarding the paperwork / sequence of events and how bureaucratic the whole thing is. I wasn't trying to offend or imply anything negative...was simply trying to help people who are going through the process.

KayCooper Aug 4th 2020 12:13 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by lesleyeblen (Post 12892001)
Thanks for this - we are just starting to think about shipping our cat from the US to the UK and this article is hugely helpful!

If you have any questions - don't hesitate to ask :)

Lion in Winter Aug 4th 2020 3:11 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by KayCooper (Post 12892167)
I searched on many websites / forums regarding bringing animals back to the UK and never found a clear step-by-step guide to what needs to happen (hence why I wrote the post). Most of the comments I have read on here seem to be about confusion regarding the paperwork / sequence of events and how bureaucratic the whole thing is. I wasn't trying to offend or imply anything negative...was simply trying to help people who are going through the process.


Don't pay any attention to him, he's our neighbourhood grouch :)

He means well.

Usually.

Also, after you've handed the animal off is there any tracking provided as to its whereabouts? Can you put one of those luggage tracking devices in there?

Pulaski Aug 4th 2020 3:14 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter (Post 12892257)
Don't pay any attention to him, he's our neighbourhood grouch :)

He means well. .....

I'm the neighbourhood Clarkson. The grouch lives down the road from me, in Georgia. :nod:

Lion in Winter Aug 4th 2020 4:24 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by Pulaski (Post 12892262)
I'm the neighbourhood Clarkson. The grouch lives down the road from me, in Georgia. :nod:




KayCooper Aug 4th 2020 4:26 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter (Post 12892257)
Don't pay any attention to him, he's our neighbourhood grouch :)

He means well.

Usually.

Also, after you've handed the animal off is there any tracking provided as to its whereabouts? Can you put one of those luggage tracking devices in there?

Aw - thanks! I was wondering if I had inadvertently offended someone!

I don't believe you're allowed to put a tracking device inside the crate - but that's definitely something you should check with the specific airline. The team in Toronto were great - they called my husband as we were boarding to let us know both animals were safely on the plane. This seemed like something they do as standard, but it wasn't offered by the Vancouver lot (who were dreadful tbh).

Lion in Winter Aug 4th 2020 4:28 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by KayCooper (Post 12892298)
Aw - thanks! I was wondering if I had inadvertently offended someone!

I don't believe you're allowed to put a tracking device inside the crate - but that's definitely something you should check with the specific airline. The team in Toronto were great - they called my husband as we were boarding to let us know both animals were safely on the plane. This seemed like something they do as standard, but it wasn't offered by the Vancouver lot (who were dreadful tbh).

No, Pulaski doesn't believe in being offended, so you're safe there.

Did someone text you when the animal was off the plane, too? Or you just go to the animal pick-up spot?

KayCooper Aug 4th 2020 4:32 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter (Post 12892299)
No, Pulaski doesn't believe in being offended, so you're safe there.

Did someone text you when the animal was off the plane, too? Or you just go to the animal pick-up spot?

We had to call the Ground Agent for Air Transat (James Cargo Ltd) once we had landed. They then pick them up from the plane and bring them to the Animal Reception Centre (a few miles from the airport). By the time we got our luggage, picked up our rental car and drove straight over there, our cat and dog had arrived and been moved out of their crates into a larger holding space waiting to be processed. So the unloading/transporting bit was pretty seamless on the UK side.

Lion in Winter Aug 4th 2020 4:44 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by KayCooper (Post 12892301)
We had to call the Ground Agent for Air Transat (James Cargo Ltd) once we had landed. They then pick them up from the plane and bring them to the Animal Reception Centre (a few miles from the airport). By the time we got our luggage, picked up our rental car and drove straight over there, our cat and dog had arrived and been moved out of their crates into a larger holding space waiting to be processed. So the unloading/transporting bit was pretty seamless on the UK side.

And one more stupid question - do cats have litter trays in with them in their crates, or do you just hope for the best?

KayCooper Aug 4th 2020 4:55 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter (Post 12892306)
And one more stupid question - do cats have litter trays in with them in their crates, or do you just hope for the best?

If there are stupid questions regarding all of this - then believe me, I have asked them 5 times over!!

Sadly - no litter trays allowed. For our dog and cat, we had a piece of memory foam, which I wrapped in giant puppy pads, and then put a cover over the whole thing. Our dog managed to keep hers dry, the cat didn't, but the puppy pads absorbed the pee and at least prevented it from sloshing around in the crate!

lauraloulou Aug 8th 2020 5:38 pm

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 
I am choosing to go with assistance. I moved my 2 dogs from Georgia to California and though the process was less complicated due to not having some of the paperwork, it was incredibly stressful, took a lot of time and required people on either end to help wrangle as I wasn't flying on the same flight. The cost is A LOT to do this, but I will try to save the money elsewhere. I am going to save some $$ by not using their services to get the paperwork done with the vet piece, but am paying to have my dog collected from a friend's house the day after I've already left for the UK so that I can meet her there with the car and bed and food and everything all setup. It's a choice for sure - it's possible, but I can't tell you how relieved I am not to have to go through it again!

OriginalSunshine Aug 9th 2020 9:59 am

Re: Bringing pets back to the UK (from "approved" countries)
 

Originally Posted by KayCooper (Post 12892167)
I searched on many websites / forums regarding bringing animals back to the UK and never found a clear step-by-step guide to what needs to happen (hence why I wrote the post). Most of the comments I have read on here seem to be about confusion regarding the paperwork / sequence of events and how bureaucratic the whole thing is. I wasn't trying to offend or imply anything negative...was simply trying to help people who are going through the process.

Thankyou Kay. You will find that some folks are negative on this site regardless of what you post.


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