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Assistance dogs

Date created: 10/26/2020

All assistance dogs travelling to Heathrow must:

We require a minimum 72 hours notice before your scheduled departure to issue your pre-approval letter.

Unnotified/illegal landings will be charged a fee of £450.

Dogs which have been trained by an organisation that is a member of International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) or Assistance Dogs International (ADI)  will be recognised as assistance dogs. Dogs which have received equivalent training or testing may also be recognised on a case by case basis, providing that our officers have appropriate evidence of the dog’s safety to travel by air.​​

Unrecognised assistance animals are those that do not meet the criteria listed above. They are subject to a checking fee of £390 which the owner must pay direct to us.

USA arrivals

Information for you and your vet is available on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. You will need a Veterinary Certificate to EU issued by your vet which must be accompanied by supporting documentation for the rabies vaccination, usually in the form of a certificate or vaccination booklet (The microchip number must be present). Instructions to assist your vet can be viewed below:

Information on major airlines:

Please email the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre.

Please limit your attachments to a maximum of 5MB.

We need the following information

  • The email subject line should be in the format of "Assistance: flight number and arrival date"
  • Airport of origin (three digit code) and country of origin
  • Airline booking reference (PNR number)
  • Your assistant dog's name and description (breed, colour)
  • PETS paperwork. This will be your Veterinary Certificate to EU (and supporting documents), or EU Pet Passport. Please include any relevant training certificates for your dog.

Your pre-approval letter can be issued without seeing endorsement and tapeworm treatment (dogs only). We will check for these on arrival (stage 4).

We need to check your assistance dog's paperwork in advance to ensure compliance with PETS.

We require the paperwork a minimum of 72 hours prior to departure, however some airlines require the pre-approval status up to seven days before departure. Please check with your airline directly.

When we have checked your paperwork and taken payment (if applicable) we will issue your pre-approval letter. You should forward your pre-approval letter to your chosen airline and show it to the check-in staff.

Payments can only be accepted via telephone on +44 (0)20 8745 7894; from the USA this number is 011 44 208 745 7894. We accept all card types except American Express. Please do not send any payment details via email or fax.

Your pre-approval letter will be emailed to you shortly after payment (if applicable).

​Please keep all the original paperwork with you ready to show HARC staff when you disembark the plane; if in the unlikley event that HARC staff are not there to meet you please seek assistance from the airport staff as it is a legal obligation to have all documents checked on arrival into the UK. Your dog's microchip and original paperwork will be checked which shouldn't take longer than five minutes. When finished we will issue a certificate which you must present at immigration.