Our Christmas roadtrip destination was Scotland and England. If you are travelling with a pet, entry into the UK is the toughest. The UK had a pet quarantine until recently. Pets can enter now, but with strict guidelines, including a passport and time-sensitive vaccines. I created a detailed post on how to get your pet travel ready because your pet will need a passport to enter.
After two days of driving through France, we arrived in Calais. Calais is the town in France where you take the car train tunnel under the English Channel, known as the Chunnel or EuroTunnel, and arrive in Folkestone, England in under 40 minutes!
We successfully traveled through the Chunnel into the United Kingdom with our dog Charli for the Holidays, BARELY.
After all the preparation and the required tapeworm treatment 3 days earlier, we arrived at the Chunnel pet check in office with Charli’s pet passport ready to go. As you may have read before here, acquiring a pet passport is an important and tricky process. As we waited patiently yet nervously for check in, an irate man was turned away for some issue with his pet’s rabies vaccine. No entry into the UK for him. When it was our turn the agent scanned Charli’s microchip, reviewed her passport and oddly asked to see more paperwork.
Luckily, I had brought my entire Charli folder of papers with me on this trip. This folder, more like a phone book in size, had printouts of Charli’s lineage showing she comes from a long line of champion German Short Haired Pointers in Texas, puppy photos, a puppy tooth and even the packaging for the original microchip syringe that has a serial number printed on it. Yes, I know. I am a bit crazy. I am working on it. Luckily, I think crazy helped me this time. Or maybe Charli’s puppy photos melted the glacial heart of the border agent…
After reviewing the folder the agent zeroed in on the original APHIS-7001 form we traveled from the US with. She was kind enough to sternly explain that the passport was created incorrectly, but the paperwork itself was in order and since it is the Holidays she was going to make an exception and let us go on board. I felt a little scolded but let it slide, since it was the fault of our vet, not mine. I grabbed my folder, the pictures of her first bath with a beehive shaped soapy bubble hairdo, the fabric swatch of the first chewy toy Charli played with and hauled out of the office before the agent changed her mind. UK, here we come!
So what was the problem? The problem was the way our Spanish vet filled the passport in. When preparing to travel into the UK with a pet passport, be sure to check these 3 possibly overlooked details that can get you sent back home:
- Be sure that in the passport itself, the vet records not only the date of the tapeworm treatment, but the exact time to the minute. To enter the UK, the treatment is timed in hours (120 hours to be exact), not in days. Luckily I had the additional certificate showing the time it was given but it must all be written in the passport. A grouchy agent may have sent us away.
- Our vet simply stapled a copy of our original form APHIS-7001 inside the pet passport. THIS IS A NO-GO! When you settle in Europe and visit a vet to create the passport for your pet, make sure the vet is WRITING each and every item on the APHIS-7001 form into the appropriate box in the passport. When you enter the UK, the agents are busy and don’t want to go through folders of paperwork, or sheets stapled to the passport, they want to see each item entered clearly by a proper vet in the appropriate box.
- Definitely bring the additional paperwork folder just in case. Maybe not your pet’s first haircut in a ziplock bag, but if the agent wants to verify the date of the rabies vaccine, it helps to be able to show them the original rabies certificate in your folder.