How to Travel with a Dog to the UK from Outside Europe

If you’re travelling to the United Kingdom with your dog, it’s far more difficult than travelling with a dog to other countries in Europe. This is because pet dogs flying into the UK can only fly as cargo. For this reason, whether you’re trying to fly a dog from the USA to the UK or from somewhere else in the world, you may want to consider some of the alternatives. 

Travel with dog to uk

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Can You Fly to the UK with a Dog?

Dogs are able to fly to the United Kingdom, but dogs are not able to fly into the UK in the cabin or as check-in baggage. The UK government only permits pet dogs to fly to the UK as cargo, using an approved carrier to an approved airport. 

For many owners of small dogs who understandably only fly their dog in the cabin, at their feet, this poses a difficulty. But even if your dog normally flies in the hold as excess baggage, in comparison flying a dog as cargo is a more complicated and expensive process.  

Fly to UK with dog - it's not possible to fly with your pet dog in the cabin
It’s not possible to fly to the UK with your pet dog in the cabin

When flying as cargo, dogs usually need to be booked through the separate cargo division of the airline, or a completely separate freight company, sometimes through a pet transport company. The cost to fly a dog as cargo is often quite expensive, far more than the cost of flying a dog in the cabin or as excess baggage. 

Additionally, when you fly to the UK with a dog from outside the UK, your dog will need to pass through customs clearance before you can collect it from the animal reception centre. You’ll need to make a booking for this, possibly through a agent (or broker), if this isn’t take care of by your pet transport company or freight company. Send an email to the National Clearance Hub ([email protected]) for more information.

During 2022, there were at times long delays for available slots at some UK airports, although I believe the situation has improved in 2023.

Naturally, customs clearance isn’t free of charge. Expect the fees including agent fees and inspection fees to total up to £600. You will also be charged a value added tax of 20%, based on your pet’s breed and the cost of their transport, although this can later be refunded. These charges don’t apply for dogs crossing to the UK by ferry or car.

The cost of shipping a dog from USA to UK can be quite expensive when a dog flies directly to the UK. Along with cargo freight costs, many pets flying from the US are quoted a total cost of $3000 to $5000 USD.  

Travelling to the UK after Brexit
It’s expensive to fly a dog to the UK in cargo

Consider Flying to Paris or Amsterdam Airports

Instead of directly flying to the UK with your dog, instead consider flying to another airport within Europe, then travel by another option across the Channel, to travel with your dog to the UK.  

The most popular alternative airports to fly into within Europe with your dog are Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. As well as being busy airports with a large number of flights arriving from all around the world, both of these airports allow you to arrive with a dog in the cabin (or as checked baggage). 

Travel with dog to UK
Consider flying into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport with your dog

Additionally, there are feasible options to then travel onwards to the UK with your dog as a “foot passenger”, without hiring a car. (With cars driving on the opposite side of the road in the UK compared to Continental Europe, forget about a one-way car hire to head to the UK!) 

Check out my guide on flying to France from the USA with a dog

Taking a Ferry Across to the UK

Once you arrive in Paris or Amsterdam, there are multiple ferry options available to foot passengers with a dog to take you to the UK.  

Taking a Ferry from France to the UK

From Paris, foot passengers with a dog are permitted on the DFDS Seaways ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven, on the southern coast of England. The ferry crossing takes about 4 hours, but once you add on the train journeys at either end the journey from Paris to London takes a full day. Read my review of completing this journey when I visited the UK.  

Note that the other ferries between France and England do not permit foot passengers to bring pets onboard. 

DFDS Ferry Dieppe to Newhaven with a Dog
The DFDS Seaways Ferry from Dieppe allows foot passengers to book pets

Taking a Ferry from the Netherlands to the UK

If you fly into Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, you have more options. Firstly, there is the Stena Line ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich, on the eastern coast of England. There is an overnight or shorter day ferry crossing, with pet-friendly cabins and excellent pet kennels located onboard the ship. Read my review about taking this ferry or click here to find out more.  

Secondly, there is the DFDS Seaways ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle, in northern England. This ferry has the pet-friendly cabins, as well as kennels. While a longer crossing, it’s more convenient if you are heading to northern England or Scotland. Read this review by someone else taking the ferry or find out more about the DFDS pet-friendly cabins

Importing dogs to UK
The Stena Line ferry docked at Hook of Holland

Finally, foot passengers can also bring a pet onboard the P&O ferry from Rotterdam to Hull. This ferry has recently added three pet-friendly cabins, in addition to their pet kennels. It even has pet exercise areas at both ferry terminals. It generally operates as an overnight crossing. Click here for further information. 

A short train journey is required from the airport to any of the relevant ferry terminals in the Netherlands. Pets are allowed on trains in the Netherlands.

Using a Pet Taxi or Pet Transport Service

Instead of taking a ferry across to the UK with your dog, you could instead consider using a pet taxi or a pet transport service. These options are particularly popular for pets arriving in Paris. 

With pet taxis, there are multiple providers that take advantage of pets being allowed in vehicles using the Eurotunnel, one of the quickest and easiest ways to travel with a pet in between the UK and France, as long as you have a vehicle. 

Most frequently, people travelling with a dog just take a pet taxi between Calais Ville or Calais Fréthun and Folkestone Central stations. On either end, simply travel by train on the dog-friendly trains in France and the UK. The pet taxi typically costs about £100-200, on top of the normal Eurotunnel fees. 

However, it’s also possible to book a pet taxi for the entire trip from Paris to London, or another destination, at a higher cost. I’ve typically heard of fees around £700 for taxi all the way from Paris to London, although it can be higher due to the fluctuating cost of the Eurotunnel.

Two frequently used pet taxis are Folkestone Taxis (also known as Pet Travel Abroad) and Pet Moves. A newer option is Le Pet Express, which offers shared minivans, but only on weekends at this point.  

There are also some companies that are specifically set up to transport dogs longer distances between European countries and the UK. These companies can pick your pet up from Charles de Gaulle or Schiphol Airports and transport your pet to your address in the UK, while you fly to the UK or take the non-dog-friendly Eurostar to London.

One DEFRA-certified company that I have heard a lot of happy reports about is Happy Saluki Pet Transport.

Bringing dog to UK
There’s multiple ways to bring a dog to the UK

Or Fly to Dublin Airport

Another increasingly popular alternative to flying to Continental Europe, is to instead fly to Dublin Airport firstly with your dog. Depending on your final destination in the UK, this can make for a shorter journey, particularly as the ferry trip across the Irish Sea is shorter.

Quite a few airlines don’t fly pets to and from Dublin in the cabin, despite there being no prohibition against this, but I have put together a list of airlines that fly pets in and out of Ireland. One American airline is included on the list – Delta.

Delta will fly pets in the cabin to and from Dublin Airport from a number of airports in the USA. Up until recently, pets could not be flown out of Dublin as excess baggage, due to an issue with the baggage system, but in 2024 this was fixed.

From Dublin, there are a number of ferries that cross to Wales, some with pet-friendly cabins. Alternatively, it’s possible to cross the land border to Northern Ireland, with no pet documentation checks occurring at the border. You can then take a ferry across to Scotland. Check out my guide to the most pet-friendly ferries across the Irish Sea.

What About a Cruise Ship Across the Atlantic?

Another alternative if you’re bringing a dog from the US to the UK, may be to book a crossing on the Queen Mary 2 across the Atlantic, disembarking at Southampton in England. This is particularly popular with owners of larger dogs, that are too large to fly in the cabin on any airline. The Queen Mary 2 is one of the few dog-friendly cruise ships

However, keep in mind that there a lot of demand for the pet kennels onboard the Queen Mary 2, so the kennels are typically booked out a year or more in advance! (As of early 2023, I have even heard reports of up to two years.) However, it’s possible to put your name down on a waiting list, in case a berth becomes available sooner. 

Paperwork for Travelling to the UK with Your Dog

Due to the United Kingdom leaving the EU following Brexit, the rules and paperwork for importing dogs to the UK have changed. The main change is that pets travelling to Great Britain require a Great Britain pet health certificate, rather than the EU pet health certificate (Annex IV).

The remainder of the rules for importing dogs to the United Kingdom are essentially the same as for pets travelling to anywhere in the EU. Pets are required to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

Additionally, the UK is one of the few countries in Europe requiring a worming treatment for dogs, administered by a vet between 24 hours and 5 days of arrival in the UK, with no change to this requirement. All of this needs to be documented in a pet passport or Great Britain pet health certificate.

If you are using a Great Britain pet health certificate that needs to be certified by the local authority, such as USDA in the United States, the worming treatment can be added to the certificate once it has been certified and returned to you.

For more details on bringing a pet to the UK, see the government website.

Requirement for Two Pet Health Certificates

If you’re firstly travelling to the EU (including Ireland) and then onwards to the UK, things will be a little more complicated. You need to make sure you fulfill the requirements for your pet to travel both to the EU and to the UK.

In particular, you will need two pet health certificates, both an EU and GB pet health certificate. There are some reports of vets and governments in some countries refusing to issue two pet health certificates at the same time, although hopefully this becomes more accepted.

Getting an EU Pet Passport

One alternative if you cannot be issued two pet health certificates, is to just get an EU pet health certificate. Then when you are transiting through Europe, go to the vet and get an EU pet passport. This pet passport is used for pets to travel within the EU, and can be used in future to travel from the UK back to the EU.

To get an EU pet passport, you will need to allow time to visit a vet, before continuing on to the UK. At the same time have your pet wormed, at least 24 hours before entering the UK, and recorded in the pet passport. This may also be a practical alternative if you’d like to spend some time in the EU before completing your journey, and your dog cannot be wormed beforehand, due to the short time frame of validity.

EU pet passport
The EU pet passport of our dog

It’s best to book an appointment with a vet in advance, and ensure they will issue you an EU pet passport. In particular, there are recent reports of vets in France no longer issuing EU pet passports to those without a locally registered dog.

Note that not all veterinarians will copy across your existing rabies vaccination (I’ve generally heard of this occurring in Germany) or that UK customs may question a rabies vaccination predating the pet passport, as was the case when I boarded my ferry to the UK. Either keep all your different paperwork as proof or consider getting a rabies booster shot in the EU, to be recorded on your EU pet passport.  

The other alternative is to ask a vet in the EU to issue you with a GB pet health certificate, but this is not common within the EU, due to the usage of pet passports.

What About When Leaving the UK?

While there are no restrictions on pets flying in the cabin or as checked baggage when leaving the UK, only a few airlines offer this option. A few airlines specify on their website that they offer this option, while I have heard reports from fellow travellers of other airlines allowing this. Double check with your preferred airline, and consider crossing back over to Paris or Amsterdam to fly your pet out of Europe with more options. 

I have checked with a number of American airlines, and none of them state online that they will fly dogs in the cabin when leaving the UK. American Airlines doesn’t fly pets in the cabin on any trans-Atlantic flights, while both Delta and United rule out pets in the cabin on flights both to and from the UK. However, I have heard a recent report of United allowing this.

United Airlines Plane
It’s not an option to fly a pet out of the UK with United Airlines

An alternative option for flying from the UK to the USA with a dog in the cabin is to fly via Canada, as it’s possible to fly a dog from the UK to Canada. On the Air Canada website they specifically mention that they accept pets for travel both in the cabin and in the hold on flights from the UK. Air Transat also allow pets to fly out of the UK, out of Manchester and Glasgow, but not Gatwick Airport in London.

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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25 thoughts on “How to Travel with a Dog to the UK from Outside Europe”

  1. Hi i d like to fly with my pet from miami to UK how could i do this? Maybe i could send him alone , i suppose that it s more expensive but if i dont have the choice😏thank you for helping me
    Patricia maizil

    • Your dog would be able to fly to the UK directly in cargo. However, if you want to fly your dog in the cabin, many travelers instead fly to France or the Netherlands.

  2. Hi Shandos – Thank you for this informative post. I am making plans to fly to the UK from NYC in January. I have a 10 pound dog and planned to travel in cabin with her until I was surprised by the new rules. Traveling Cargo is a time consuming and confusing process. At this point the cost for British Airways – through IAG Cargo — is $800 to ship her there. Added to this will be the cost for an England Cargo company, James Cargo to pick her up and take her through customs, add to that the VAT and the cost will be upwards of 2k. Ugh. So, after a long winded rant, some of your ideas are percolating with me though I just want to be clear. Based on what you said this is what I am thinking:
    – fly into Amsterdam or Paris, dog in cabin
    – hire a pet taxi to drive my dog to London
    – I take Eurostar and meet them there
    – When I go through customs with my dog in tow in Eurozone, will they ask for the Pet Certificate at that time? Should I compile two pet certificates while in the USA. One for UK and one for Europe?
    – Will my dog have to go through Customs when it arrives in UK with Pet Taxi?
    Complicated stuff I know but the possible option of not using Cargo, both because of cost and because I’m nervous about its effect on my dog, sounds so good to me. Thanks so much!!

    • You’ll need to have two pet certificates done, both the EU one and the new GB one ( With the EU one, generally the airline checks it at check-in. Most people report customs in Paris as not checking it, but they might. With the UK, the GB certificate will be checked by UK customs before getting on the Eurotunnel or ferry. If you are leaning towards a pet taxi, generally they can transport you as well, you don’t need to take the Eurostar separately. Hope this helps! It would be great if dogs could fly in the cabin to the UK, instead Brexit has complicated things further!

  3. I flew out of the UK (in Aug)with KLM and they told me that I could also do that with Delta and Air France as they are all under the same umbrella. It gets so confusing and with Covid on top, it’s overwhelming. I’ve traveled for over 40+ yrs and this is unreal.

    • Thanks for the heads up April! It’s pretty crazy at the moment with Covid, hopefully things start to return to normal in 2022.

  4. Hi, I was wondering if this route through Europe is still a good option? I am planning to do it with my cat from Korea in May, but I heard from some people that it might be risky now. They interpret the rule to mean that my paperwork from Korea would not be accepted because I am technically coming from France so I will need a pet passport, however, I have seen others say that if I have all the correct paperwork everything will be fine and I can enter without a pet passport.
    I was told that to get a pet passport in France I would need to get him vaccinated again and then I would have to stay in the country for a month for the vaccine to be valid.
    I am really desperately trying to find other people who have been doing this route within the last few months successfully, or advice on how I can be successful doing it, otherwise I will have to pay over £2000 to have him shipped via manifest cargo.
    Thank you for any advice you can give me.

  5. Air Canada is good for pets in cabin out of the UK . To return… Air France to Paris, domestic train to Dieppe. Pet can go with you as a foot passenger on Dieppe to Newhaven ferry (warning Dover Calais ferries and eurostar trains do NOT allow this). Pet and documentation are checked in Newhaven then you’re free to travel on all domestic trains in the UK with your pet.

  6. Hi,

    I’m traveling to the USA from the UK via amsterdam. I have time to get a EU passport on the way over to the USA but not on the way back. So do you know how that would work with coming back to the uk? Would I get the vet in the USA (who is administering the tapeworm treatment) to document it on the GB health certificate or the EU pet passport?

    • Vets outside of the EU cannot document rabies vaccines in the EU pet passport, but it’s not 100% clear they can add worming treatments to it. To be safe, it’s probably better for it to be documented in a health certificate. Additionally, note that an Animal Health Certificate issued in Great Britain can be used to return to Great Britain for up to 4 months.

  7. Hello,

    Did you have to complete paperwork for Customs or a Transfer of Residence form?

    I am coming home to the UK with my adopted cat but i read you have to get clearance from customs?

    Thank you

  8. Only by sheer luck have I found your blog. And that too at such a good time! Me and my sister are moving to the UK in the near future and we can’t go without our cats. Two of them. But it is so unfortunate that I can’t take them in cabin and have to make use of a pet transportation company. The cost goes way above and beyond our budget. But then I read something about going to the UK through Europe. You also say its possible. Now I don’t know if this sounds dumb, but if I use the Europe route, I’d travel to Paris, for example, on a tourist visa, yes? I’ll be relocating to the UK on a student visa, and possibly then on a work visa. So, if I decide to go through France, I’d first need a French travel Visa, no? Do I sound dumb? Ahhh, but I really need someone to confirm this for me! This whole process of taking my cats to the UK has been so stressful. I can’t take them as manifest cargo; my budget simply doesn’t allow it. Can you please breakdown the process of taking them through Europe? I don’t live in the US either. I’ll be travelling from India. Then I’m also unsure of how I’ll take to Calais from Paris with all of my luggage. From there, I checked out the Le Pet Shuttle, but they only allow one baggage and one personal handbag per person. Its concerning cause I’ll have 2 baggies on my student ticket. 😖 I really didn’t mean to dump all of my problems on you! But I’d be forever grateful if you could suggest something that you think can work for me and my cats. I’ll be forever grateful. Have a good day!

    • Ruhi – I’m not sure about the visa situation, I guess you’ll need a tourist visa. Some countries offer transit visas, but I don’t think this applies in the Schengen zone. Consider you’ll have a lot of luggage, it will probably be best to organise your own pet taxi, rather than a shared vehicle and using the trains and ferries. One option I’ve heard lots of good feedback lately is Happy Saluki ( – John the owner also knows everything inside out.

  9. Great page; thank you! So glad to know that someone has already tried, tested and even written about what has been going through my head! Thank you!
    I’m keen on the “Paris flight arrival – train to Dieppe ferry” option to enter UK. My questions are practical ones with regard to the travel cage, as we have a large dog. I’m sure we wont be able to lift the cage with the dog in it, so, when we go on the train, is the dog allowed out of the travel cage and onto the train? Does the cage have to go into a separate baggage section or does it all stay togther on the train? The same questions apply for the ferry… (I’m also thinking it may be a good idea to add stoppable wheels to the cage)
    Many thanks

    • On the trains in France, it’s best for larger dogs to travel outside of a travel cage, just on a leash and wearing a muzzle. More information about pets on trains in France can be found here: I’m not sure about the storage of a large travel crate – we left behind our dog’s large crate before taking the train, but there’s information about luggage regulations on the same website.

      When boarding the ferry, it’s requested that pets are carried onboard in a carrier (this is what we did), but this isn’t always enforced. And wheeling on your dog in his crate is probably the best idea for a larger dog. On the car deck of the ferry there are a few large crates that dogs can go in if they don’t have their own. As our dog is small we put his carrier inside one of the large crates.

      One other thing – the train station isn’t next to the ferry wharf, it’s just over 2km away. We took a taxi. That might be a problem if you’re travelling with a large crate…

  10. Hi there, great blog – thank you!

    I am currently in the process of adopting a dog from Turkey. I think I am slowly getting there is terms of understanding what she needs. But I wonder if you could help me with a few things?

    My plan is to fly her from Turkey to Amsterdam and then the next day get the ferry to England. I am told she has a pet passport but I am assuming this is not EU, so do you suggest that we complete both EU & GB Health Certificates?

    Will the UK look at her as “technically” coming from EU as we are leaving from Netherlands? Or will they look at it like she is coming from Turkey?

    Can you advise on what Amsterdam customs is like when you collect the dog? Is there any support that I need or is it as simple as picking her up from excess baggage?

    • I don’t believe the EU will recognised the Turkish pet passport, unlike say the Switzerland pet passport, so I recommend getting both health certificates completed. Are you also across the requirements for the rabies titre test? (See:

      With picking up your dog in Amsterdam, if you fly with your dog in the hold as excess baggage, you will simply need to pick her up from the excess baggage counter, then show the paperwork when you go through customs. It’s more complicate if she flies as cargo, with pick-up from the cargo facility, but I’m guessing she won’t fly as cargo.

  11. How can we get eu and gb health-certificates or eu pet passport in france or paris or germany if we dont know any vets pls guide for vets who can give these.


    • I recommend looking for English speaking vets and asking them. Sorry I don’t have any recent recommendations, and it is trickier to get EU pet passports in France these days if you’re not a resident. (But GB health certificate should be okay.)


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