When entering the UK there are three "channels" for customs processing.
If you arrive from another EU country, whatever passport you hold, choose the Blue Channel for nothing to declare.
Arriving from outside the EU, choose the Green Channel
If you have goods to declare, choose the Red Channel.
This is an honour system. Spot checks can occur in the Green or Blue Channels, but happen infrequently. However, if you are caught the penalties are severe.
If you want to bring your pet abroad, it can be done but takes planning and preparation. Taking your pet into another country usually includes:
Some airlines allow pets to travel in an airplane's cabin, provided their cage is small enough to fit under your seat. Small birds may also be able to travel in the cabin, but tropical birds such as parrots are usually not allowed.
If your pet's cage does not fit under your seat, you will have to ship it as checked baggage. Since the outside air temperature also affects the temperature in the cargo bay, airlines may restrict the transportation of pets during certain times of the year. Airlines have special requirements for containers in the cabin and cargo bay. Make sure you get detailed information from your preferred airlines before purchasing a cage or kennel.
Before leaving, acquaint your animal with the kennel or container. Add some familiar toys or some of your clothing items, so your pet has a sense of familiarity during the transport. Sedation of your pet during the trip is generally not recommended and should only be used as a last resort.
A few pet-friendly airlines include: Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, AirTran, and Frontier Airlines.
There are also pet relocation service that figure out all the details of the move. These services tend to be quite expensive, but take away the stress of doing it yourself.
Britain's tough quarantine regulations were a difficult obstacle for many pet owners. The restrictions were to keep the island nation rabies (and other diseases) free. Luckily, the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) has relaxed the rules and pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries may now enter the UK without quarantine.
Pets entering the United Kingdom from any country that does not fall under PETS are required to spend six months in quarantine in the United Kingdom.
The UK government department in charge of regulating quarantine and the Pet Travel Scheme is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). For further information visit the pet importation section of their website, or call its Pet Travel Scheme helpline: +44 (0)870 241 1710
U.S. Citizens: The free pamphlet "Know Before You Go" at www.cbp.gov is very helpful. (Click on "Travel" and then click on "Know Before You Go! Online Brochure").
You can also contact:
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
1300 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20229
Canadian Citizens: "I Declare", issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500 ) is helpful.
U.K. Citizens: HM Customs & Excise at tel. 0845/010-9000 (from outside the U.K., 020/8929-0152) can help.
Australian Citizens: A helpful brochure is available from Australian consulates or Customs offices called "Know Before You Go". Call the Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to www.customs.gov.au.
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