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Heathrow Animal Reception Centre staff reuniting an Italian Greyhound with their owner.

Where do I start?

Your pet(s) will need to comply with The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to enter the UK without serving statutory quarantine. Please see our Pet Travel Scheme page or visit the UK GOV for guidance.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, after 31 October 2019 the rules for travelling to EU countries with your pet will change. Please visit GOV.UK​ for the latest information.

We recommend you employ an IPATA approved pet transport agent who will be responsible for organising every aspect of your pet's travel including booking their flight, and clearing them through customs upon arrival at Heathrow.

Pets entering the UK must be booked as manifest cargo in the hold of the plane. You can view a list of approved airlines.

Please ensure you get a pet information sheet from your pet transporter agent. We request you complete one for each of your pets and attach the completed copies to their travel containers. We request that you secure two portions of your pet’s usual food to the outside of their container, and also secure a collar and lead to the outside of your dog's container.

How much does it cost?

Your nominated pet transport agent or airline should be able to give you an estimate of the cost. The total cost of transporting your pet depends on many variables such as the length of the journey, the weight of your pet(s) and the size of the container(s). In most circumstances HARC fees are taken by your pet transport agent, otherwise our fees will be taken by your airline's cargo handling shed when you collect your pets' release note.

What happens to my pet(s) upon arrival at Heathrow?

Heathrow Animal Reception staff are responsible for transporting pets from the aircraft to HARC, except for those arriving from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic which are transported by the airline.

Pets originating from outside the EU will be released into an individual kennel or cattery with fresh food and water; a palatable wet food is offered unless you have attached food to the container. Cats will have access to a litter tray and dogs will have access to an outdoor run. Pets arriving from within the EU will be given fresh bedding and water in their box.

Your pet's paperwork will then be checked for compliance with the PETS scheme. Non-commercial shipments are checked by HARC staff and commercial shipments are checked by APHA. Once compliance checks have been completed your UK nominated agent will be contacted so they can arrange for customs clearance.

When can I collect my pet(s)?

We aim to have pets arriving from within the EU ready to be released within 1.5 hours from arrival; from outside the EU this can take 6-8 hours.

Where do I collect my pet from?

All pets arriving into Heathrow are collected from HARC. We have a limited amount of free parking bays available for customers to use. Please do not park in the large concrete area in front of the building, this is only for lorries and vans.

What do I need to bring?

When collecting your pet please bring:

  • Photographic ID.
  • Air waybill.
  • Lead and collar for your dog.

Reuniting pets and their owners video

22 March 2012
Last Modified:
01 November 2019