Before Arrival - Shipping Pets

Pets are family members, and getting them to England with you is one of your top priorities. Following the instructions at this link will ensure they arrive without incident. One word of caution though, you should begin working on the requirements as soon as you get your assignment.

A couple of other things to note are:

In step one, you see that you must have a microchip implanted in your pet. The microchip implanted in your pet must be a 13-digit encoded chip. Many widely available microchips in the US do not meet the UK requirement, so have your chip checked by your vet before you assume it is acceptable.

In step three, the USDA certificate is addressed. Finding out where your state's nearest USDA vet is located will help determine if you need to mail the paperwork to them, or drive the paperwork there to get it filled out. Expect to pay at least $70.00 for this additional requirement.

In step six, you prepare your pet for shipping. It is important to mention that contacting the airline you will be flying on about a month out is of the utmost importance. There tend to be very limited spaces for animals and there is typically a date when spaces are available for you to book your animal for the flight. TMO will not arrange the shipment of your pets for you. Communicating with the airline about when and where to drop the animals off is important as well, as the cargo areas that will accept pets for international shipping varies from airline to airline. With that said, pay close attention to the DEFRA website's pet travel scheme as there are only a few places that your pets may originate from in the US. Working with the airline and TMO together to sync everything up will make this process much smoother for your family. Be prepared to do most of the coordination yourself.

There are also other considerations like the breed of the animal and the time of year you plan on flying that may affect, or even prevent you from bringing your animal via commercial carrier all together. Once you have worked out those details, you must make sure your pet's carrier is of the appropriate size for your pet. Your pet must be able to stand in the carrier without their ears touching the top, or it will be considered too small. The carrier must also be fastened together with metal hardware to keep it from coming apart, i.e. nuts and bolts. Some cheaper carriers lock with plastic tabs, and are not acceptable for airline transport. Finally, the carrier must be outfitted with a food and water dish that can be accessed by the airline without opening the door. Fastening it to the door with zip ties is acceptable.

After your pet gets here and clears the border, you will need a way to get them to your new home. The RAF Lakenheath Outdoor Rec has a shuttle you can reserve for a fee, that will pick you and your pets up. The normal airport bus service will not accommodate pets. Please plan and call well in advance to book the ODR shuttle. Alternatives to the ODR shuttle are available on the economy.