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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All-

I have been doing some research on bringing pets to the UK since the date is fast approaching that my husband and I will be applying for our spouse visa.

I have 2 cats that I am wanting to move over to the UK with me. The information online is a bit confusing on how this will work.

From what I understand, the pets will not be allowed to travel in-cabin with me on my flight to the UK. We typically always fly United. They have a pet travel program called "PetSafe". From what I understand, the requirements are as such to enter the UK with my pets:

-They must be microchipped (which they both are already)
-Up to date rabies vaccination
-Health Certificate issued by US Vet
-EU Pet Passport (Annex IV) - must have raised seal by USDA

I would really like anyone else's experience and/or list of things they have needed to bring pets from the US to the UK.

I am so stressed out over having to put them in cargo and unfortunately, it doesn't look like there is any other way to go about bringing them there.

Any information would be much appreciated! Thanks!
 

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From the US you don't get the Pet Passport, that's for people in the EU.

You'll use the USDA Annex II. It's a very simple procedure. I've brought two large dogs from CA and they arrived with no problems, expensive, but no problems. Bringing cats from the east coast should go smoothly.

Do a search on my previous posts, I've mapped out the entire procedure. The only thing you can ignore is the tapeworm information, that is for dogs only. Just make sure you use the most up to date form, they revised it last December.

If you still have questions, I'd be happy to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Salix,

Thanks so much for your reply. I read your post about the process you went through bringing your dogs over to the UK. So from what I gather, like you, I will also be booking through PetSafe with United.

I will be booking the reservation for both cats through PetSafe once we get our spouse visa approved. Then I will be booking my reservation for the same flight so we are travelling together. I need to print out Annex II form with instructions on how to fill it out. Take both cats to the vet to make sure that their current microchips are ISO compliant, if not, get them remicrochipped. Get both cats updated rabies shots (at least 21 days prior to travel). Have the vet complete the Annex II form, get rabies certificates (with microchip number on each for each cat), and microchip certificates for each. The bit that I am confused on is the USDA seal. Will I need to take all these things to an actual USDA office? Or would the vet that I take them to be doing this? Which is the form that needs to be dated within 10 days of travel? And for the USDA signature and stamp part, I am assuming the cats will not need to be taken with me for that visit, right? I will then scan and email all forms to HARC like you did to make sure that I have everything needed to bring them into the UK without issues. Get the appropriate crates for each cat (is there somewhere I can look to give me specific information on what the crates will need to have?)...seems like quite a bit of stuff to do. I am more nervous about the pets than I am about getting our spouse visa approved. What a fiasco.

The gov website isn't laid out very well and half of the stuff you had in your post wasn't really even mentioned on the site. So thanks for the reply! It has been super helpful. Any information you have regarding what I have posted above would be super helpful. I would rather speak with someone that has previously done this before than the gov website which is all too simple.

Thanks again, Salix!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh and to confirm, the only physical paperwork I will have to bring with me will be Annex II (is this for each pet, or can both be done on one form?), the rabies certificates and the microchip certificates?
 

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After the vet has completed the Annex II (I actually filled it out myself and just told them where I needed them to fill something in, sign, etc.). If you read the Annex II directions, they tell you exactly what you need to write and what to do if your chips aren't compliant, etc.

The Annex II form needs to be signed by the vet within 10 days before you arrive at Heathrow. The chip and shot obviously don't need to be within that time. The 21 day wait period is only if it is a first rabies shot or a new shot if the old one was allowed to expire.

You then need to take the form to the USDA vet. It can be done by mail, but I would have worried about the timing. They don't want to see your cat, just the form. They charge $35 to sign the form (make sure your vet's accreditation is current, they will check). You can put up to five pets on the same form. Call your local office, mine was a walk-in service, no appointments, but they had very short window hours, like open from 11-3. Mine was also credit/debit only, no cash or checks.

When you go to the airline, you need the Annex II form, your rabies cert. and I just printed out a copy of my microchip certificate from the website of the company I registered the number with.

Also make sure you change your information with the microchip company to your new UK info ;)

You can get the crate information from the United website.

The same as you, I reserved a spot for my dogs, then booked my flight. They don't charge you to reserve a pet spot so there is less risk if you can't get the flight for you. Also a couple of days before my flight, I called the airline to make sure my reservation was still in place. Oh, and checking in your cats, they must be at cargo 3-4 hours before your flight. They will refuse them otherwise. There was a dog on the flight with my second dog that was supposed to fly out the day before. The owner showed up at cargo 2.75 hours before the flight and they denied boarding for the dog. She had to change her flight to the next day to be with the dog. They won't take them earlier than 4 hours, because they don't want them to sit that long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When you say USDA vet, would that be the same vet I take them to for the shots? Or is that at an actual USDA office? If it is at the USDA, luckily there is one in the town that I live in. And so they will just sign it and put a raised seal on it, is that right? As you stated, I don't really want to do that by mail because of the short window of time that I have to get it done before leaving. I would much prefer to get it done in person.

The process seems complicated but I suppose it really isn't. First thing I will be doing is taking them to the vet to make sure the microchips are ISO compliant. I believe if they aren't, then I can bring my own microchip scanner with me. I will also get the rabies shot updated just to be on the safe side. I still have time with the USDA vet portion because we haven't even made application for the visa yet. We are aiming to do that at the end of August. I just would like to know how to find a USDA vet because I haven't heard of this before. That way everything is squared away and I wont be panicking last minute to figure it all out.

I will check the United website to find out information about the crate requirements.

Can you just download the Annex II form online?
 

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You need to go to the Federal vet office, this is not the same as your local vet. They are the people that deal with import/export of animals.

USDA APHIS | Imports & Exports

Yes, the form is online as are the instructions. I'll look to see if I still have the bookmarks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I can't seem to find the form anywhere. I have been looking on the USDA website and it just keeps bringing me back to the same page but there are no links that I see to where I can look up a federal vet in my area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well that is definitely not good. I live in WV and the closest office is in North Carolina?! I just pray that I will be able to get that within 10 days. That seems like such a short amount of time to send it off and get it back before travelling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just called a local vet to find out some information. This particular vet stated they do not do "international health certificates". So I am assuming I would need to go to one that does? She said the international health certificate is regulated by the USDA, in which they do not do at this particular office. But this is where I get confused...the annex II form is NOT the same as a health certificate, right? Do I need both? As we discussed above, I was under the impression I need annex II form, microchip certificates and rabies certificates. I am not sure what the health certificate is that she is referring to.
 

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The Annex II form is the international health certificate.

Literally the vet just needs to sign they gave the rabies shot, and then they sign the end of the form to indicate the pet is healthy to travel. I lived in a tiny, rural town, my vet had no trouble with signing the form. If I were you, I'd ask another vet.

Read through the instruction link I gave you, I filled in the entire form myself, including the chip numbers, etc. and just put a post-it note where I needed my vet to write something (like vaccine lot number, brand, etc.) It took the vet less than five minutes to do their part of the form since I had it all filled out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay I see. I will be calling around to other vets in the area then to make sure they are willing to sign off on the form. Another question (sorry for all the questions by the way), I was looking on the UK Gov website and it mentioned Annex IV not Annex II?

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pet-travel-certificate-for-movement-of-dogs-cats-and-ferrets-from-third-countries

So I just want to make sure that when I get this done, I am filling out the proper form. I am definitely nervous about only having 10 days to send it off, having it signed and stamped by the federal vet and then getting it back in time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
And if you could recommend any pet carriers, I would greatly appreciate that as well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay, well I mean if you were successful using Annex II, then I would assume I would be as well. But yes, they do look very similar.

Thank you for the link! I was actually just looking into Petmate carriers because it seems like they are the most durable and safe. The only part about the kennel requirements that I was confused about was that it says the food and water bowls have to be accessible from the outside of the carrier without the door being opened? How the heck is that possible? I mean the wire grates are so close together it would be nearly impossible for them to add food or water through them.

I will be sure to get metal bolts and screws to secure the 2 pieces together and zip ties.
 

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They just basically mean the dishes that clip onto the inside of the wire door.

You place a small bag of food taped to the top of the crate, if they needed to feed your animal they would push it through the bars. The HARC will use your food to offer to your pet when they arrive during the period they are confirming them through customs.

For water, United uses a small watering can and puts the spout between the wires, I've watched them do it.
 

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That is the same crate I bought, although the $150 ones, yikes.

I still have one more dog to bring over, once we find a larger place.
 
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