Pets traveling to UK still require quarantine license

  • Published
  • By Maj. Michele DeWerth
  • 3rd Air Force Public Affairs
Currently, cats and dogs coming into the United Kingdom from the United States must still be licensed into quarantine, according to British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs officials.

The U.K. government extended the Pet Travel Scheme to the United States as of Dec. 11. This extension means that in the future, if an animal complies with all the rules outlined in the PETS program, it should be able to enter the country without having to spend six months in quarantine.

However, DEFRA officials acknowledge that in these initial months, when official certification is not available or there are no approved routes and carriers, all cats and dogs must first be licensed into quarantine, and the owner can then apply for early release. If all of the PETS program procedures are followed, the quarantine could be as little as five days.

This program is a vast improvement for the quality of life of pets and pet lovers alike, said David Feehan, chief of international law at 3rd Air Force, who has been involved in the process since the program's inception.

"We're extremely pleased that the British government has now included the U.S. in the PETS program," Feehan said. "This can significantly reduce the time that owners are separated from their pets, as well as significantly reduce the out-of-pocket expense incurred by the traveler."

Although the program is new, one Department of Defense civilian has already reaped the benefits.

"The recent news (about the Pet Travel Scheme) warmed my heart -- I was so excited," said Pat Miller, Royal Air Force Alconbury Family Support Center personal financial consultant. Miller, who is "mom" to Mili, a 7-year-old cocker spaniel, just arrived in the United Kingdom with her dog in tow.

Because the process takes nearly seven months to complete, and in the hopes that the United States would be added to PETS, Miller began the program procedures back in May of this year. This process includes micro-chipping first, followed by a rabies shot and a blood test 30 days later. Six months after a blood test with successful results, the animal can leave the United States and enter the United Kingdom without having to spend six months in quarantine.

Because it is a new process, people should be very careful and fully understand what they are doing before putting their pet on a plane, Miller said. Otherwise, they may end up with extended separation time and added expense that may not be reimbursable.

"The best advice I can give to anyone beginning this process would be to do your homework, become well-versed in the requirements and remain flexible," she said.

Above all, Miller stressed it is important to start early. If people think they may get an assignment to the United Kingdom it is best to get the family pet in line with the DEFRA requirements.

For the complete list of procedures and requirements for the PETS program, go to