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Travelling with assistance dogs

Assistance dogs entering the UK must meet the rules of the EU pet travel scheme. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that his or her assistance dog is fully compliant with the scheme.  Any assistance dog that does not comply with the rules may not be able to enter Great Britain, or may be licensed into quarantine on arrival. See:

Travelling with assistance dogs by air, sea or rail

Assistance dog owners can bring their assistance dogs into the UK on many – but not all – air, sea or rail routes, providing that the requirements of the EU Pet Travel Scheme are fully met.  Which routes can be used depends on whether the air, sea and rail carriers are subject to EU or GB rules on the transport of assistance dogs.

EU legislation concerning the rights of disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility

Community air carriers and some ferry and cruise services are subject to EU legislation concerning the rights of disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility. These carriers are legally obliged to accept on-board disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility who might be accompanied by a recognised assistance dog.

  • EU Regulation 1107/2006 covers travel by air - It requires Community air carriers to transport recognised assistance dogs in the cabin of aircraft and places obligations on airport managing bodies to provide services for handling those dogs at airports.
  • EU Regulation 1177/2010 covers travel by sea - It applies to all ferry services entering and leaving the UK, as well as cruise services which embark from any EU member state (including the UK) and which disembark or make a transit stop at a UK port. Guidance on Regulation 1177/2010.

Air and sea carriers bringing assistance dogs into Great Britain that are covered by this EU legislation do not need to be approved by AHVLA but should be registered and have an agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with AHVLA.

All assistance dogs will be checked for compliance with the EU pet travel rules. For assistance dogs arriving in Great Britain by air, the airport managing body is responsible for carrying out these checks and airports must have checking facilities in place to do so. Assistance dogs arriving by sea will be checked by the ferry or cruise company.

Guidance notes for Community air carriers and airports under this section can be obtained on the AHVLA website.

Advice for ferry and cruise companies on how their business operations in Great Britain may be affected by the introduction of EU Regulation 1177/2010 on 18 December 2012 is set out below:

Other air, sea and rail routes

Assistance dog owners can also use any other air, sea or rail route that has been approved to transport assistance dogs by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA).

Plan your journey as early as possible. Routes may change and new ones may be added. Some routes are seasonal or irregular so check availability and all your other proposed travel arrangements with the transport company before booking your journey to the UK. Check the costs, requirements and procedures. Companies may have their own additional conditions of travel.

Page last modified: 18 January 2013

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