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The Expat’s Guide: Pet Immigration to the UK

By July 29, 2020January 17th, 2023FinGlobal

The Expat’s Guide: Pet Immigration to the UK

July 29, 2020


You’re considering relocating to the United Kingdom and you’re planning on taking the family. The whole family, including your furkids of course. While the whole international move can be costly, if planned properly and timeously your pet transport from South Africa to the UK doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Factoring pet travel costs and pet passports in your moving budget from the beginning is a smart way to make the experience is as stress-free for you as possible, and knowing what to expect from pet immigration before you enter the UK helps make the journey less stressful on your beloved furry family members.

How much is pet travel from South Africa to the UK going to cost?

How much does pet immigration cost? As with everything in life, the price you can expect to pay to ship your pet from South Africa to the UK will depend on a variety of factors. The cost of relocating your pets will vary depending on the size and number of pets travelling, as well as route and airline selection, and the specific travel requirements for your pet. Realistically speaking, if you budget around R20,000 per animal, you can make sure you’ve done your best to ensure your pet travels safely and comfortably to join you in your new life abroad. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association’s website is a good starting point for choosing a pet shipping company that can quote you based on your specific pet travel requirements.

It’s important to bear in mind that pet travel costs like airfreight and airline handling fees are based on the volumetric weight of the travel crates that your pets require and the amount of space these crates take up in the cargo hold. Because of this, pet travel is significantly more expensive than human travel but when you’re reunited on the other side with your best four-legged friends, it will be worth every cent spent.

What you need to know about pet travel from South Africa to the UK

If you are travelling with your pet for the first time, you will need to go to your vet in order to get a pet passport.

You can only travel to the UK with your pet cat, dog or ferret if it has:

  • Been microchipped
  • Holds a pet passport or third-country official veterinary certificate
  • Has been timeously vaccinated against rabies
  • Has had the necessary blood test required when travelling from South Africa which is considered an ‘unlisted country’
  • Been treated for tapeworm, in the case of a dog.

Please remember that it’s vitally important that you follow the UK’s pet immigration rules exactly in order to gain entrance. If you don’t, there’s a strong chance that your pet will land up in quarantine for up to four months – the costs of which will be for your account.

Before you plan your travel, it’s a good idea to check if the company you’re considering going with:

  • will accept your pet for travel – and how many they’ll accept if you have more than one
  • needs any proof that your pet is fit and healthy to travel, for example a letter from a vet or certain information that must appear in your pet passport.

Arranging pet travel to the UK from South Africa

In order to meet the UK government’s pet immigration rules, your pet must arrive in the UK no more than five days before or after your arrival, or you’ll need to follow an entirely different set of rules and procedures.

UK pet immigration requirements:

You must use an approved transport company and route. The pet shipping company you choose must be an active member of the  International Pet and Animal Association (IPATA) – this is to ensure that your furry family members are in safe hands with a trusted animal transport specialist.

IPATA members must adhere to a strict code of ethics in order to ensure safe and humane transport of pets.

You will be required to fill in a declaration confirming that you won’t be selling or transferring ownership of your pet.

  • You will need to start veterinary preparations at least four to six months before departure. 
  • If the correct timeline is not followed, additional expenses and delays may be incurred.

FinGlobal: your cross-border financial service provider of choice

While we might not be able to help you with the administrative headaches involved in pet immigration, we can help you with all the paperwork and stresses involved in financial emigration. We’re ready to help you every step of the way, providing you with signature-ready documentation in order to take the hassle out of formalising your emigration.  We can also help you with guidance on retirement annuity encashment, foreign exchange, inheritance remittances, tax clearances and more.

If you’re ready to find out how we can make your international money moves much, much easier, leave us your contact details so that we can be in touch.

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