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New pet import rules for the U.K. announced

Bringing a pet into the U.K. is easier than most people think, but now it’s about to get even easier. The British Foreign Office has announced that as of January 2012, pets returning to the U.K. from the rest of the EU, and pets entering the U.K. from listed countries like the United States and Australia, will no longer need a blood test and will only have to wait 21 days from the date of their rabies vaccination before traveling. This will have the effect of bringing the U.K.’s rules in line with the rest of the E.U.

This is wonderful news for travelers with pets. Under the current rules, you need to plan well in advance to bring your pet with you to the U.K. because, among other things, your pet needs to have a blood test (to make sure her rabies vaccination was effective) and then you have to wait for 6 months after the blood test before you travel. Under the new rules, there will be no blood test, and the 6-month waiting period will be shortened to just 21 days. Please check out the U.K.’s DEFRA site for the announcement of the new rules, and for a blessedly clear description of the current system and the upcoming changes.