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Pet Relocation: A Journey from India to UK

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

How I moved My Pet From India (Non-EU Country) to UK I am publishing my personal story about how I moved my cat from India to the UK. Hope this material will be useful to pet owners who are in a non-EU country and want to relocate their pets to an EU country or UK.

Jonas Vincent/Unsplash

Varun Nambiar/Unsplash


A journey from India to the UK


Itinerary

By plane

Trivandrum-Delhi, 4.5 hours

Delhi-Munchen ,8.5 hours

Munchen-Brussels, 1 hour


By train

Brussels-Hook of Holland(port), 2.5 hours


By ferry

Hook of Holland to Harwich, 8.5 hours


By train

Harwich, UK to London Liverpool Street-2.5hours


By underground

London Liverpool Street to our home-45minutes


In Jan 2015 I was travelling with my cat from the south of India to London-we were returning to our home in the UK.


It all started when on the 9th of August 2014 I found a small kitten sitting lonely inside the temple in the corner where she was crying and nobody was paying any attention to her. She looked thin and helpless. I asked the brahmin inside the temple to give her some milk but he only waved his hands and said it was not important. I was shocked by his response.


I left the temple and went to buy some milk at the nearby shop but there was only frozen milk, so I got chapati which is a type of Indian bread similar to roti and puri.


I got back to the temple and started feeding that kitten. When I saw how hungrily she was eating, I decided that I would take her to my home in India. At that moment I didn’t think where I would leave her later as I myself was renting a flat in India and in a few months I was to leave the country and go back to the UK.


Anyway, I took her in hands and asked that brahmin again whether he was sure that the kitten was homeless. He looked displeased that I was standing with a kitten in the temple and so I left. Since that day I have never been to that temple. The person who can’t feed an animal that is hungry and needs help will not help a person either. How can one like that serve God?


We got to the flat safely and I saw that the kitten had a problem with her back leg and was limping. She was very weak and couldn’t stand properly at all. As soon as she got up on her legs, she would fall down because she was weak due to starvation.


For 24 hours she was lying, eating chapati and drinking milk. She slept a lot and after five days she started running and jumping on the sofa and everywhere she could get to as her leg got healed!


Within two weeks I got attached to her and decided that I couldn’t leave her in India. I started exploring how to transport her with me from India to the UK. It turned out to be quite a lengthy process. Moreover, many people who are working in pet relocation agencies only care about the profit. More about it at the end of this guide.


How you can move your pet by yourself from India to the UK for a bit over £200


Let's outline the steps of the process:

1. Microchip your pet with a 15-digit ISO compliant microchip and document it. The cost is around 1500 rupees.


2. Vaccinate your pet against rabies (500rupees) and document it;


3. Wait for 30 days and collect a blood sample (500 rupees for blood sample collection to be paid to your Indian vet);


4. Send the blood sample from India to an EU approved lab (the cost would vary but I took the blood sample to UK by myself as I was going there anyway, and my friend was looking after my cat in India at that time before I collected her in Jan 2015; her blood test was 45 pounds, which is 4 500 rupees).

Louis Reed/Unsplash


Within a week you will get a result, and if it is fine, you can travel with your pet from India to Europe or the UK within 90 days after the blood sample was taken.


Let’s say you took the pet’s blood sample on the 10th October. That means that you can travel with your pet 90 days after 10th October, which is roughly 10th January the following year.


So we microchipped, vaccinated my cat in India, got the papers from a vet, then waited for 30 days and collected her blood sample. Then I took her blood sample to the UK and sent it to the UK lab the following day after landing. Within a week we got a result and all we had to do is to wait for 90 days before collecting her from India.


Ok, here comes the most important thing that not many people disclosed for some reason at that time. You need this ANNEX4 form or THIRD COUNTRY OFFICIAL CERTIFICATE in addition to microchip and vaccination record as well as the official paper from an EU lab. This third country official certificate is exactly the same thing as ANNEX4.


On the 29th Dec 2014 there was a new version of this form released due to change of rules in terms of animal transportation and we were lucky to get one very unexpectedly from an US pet shop.


Let’s just summarise. All in all, you need:

1. Microchip certificate

2. Vaccination certificate

Microchip and vaccination details can be mentioned on one document, even for the UK, which is generally supposed to be stricter than EU in terms of pets


3. Blood test result from EU approved lab


4. Third country official certificate signed and stamped by an official vet in India

When you land in the EU, they will stamp this third country official certificate and will let you through after reading the microchip on your pet.


Now back to my story…there is a flight from Trivandrum to London but it is impossible to travel with your pet on board from Trivandrum abroad, so we took a flight from Trivandrum to Delhi with my cat first.


For this flight I registered her as cargo because Air India didn’t allow a pet on board from Trivandrum to Delhi. All you need for the cargo department is a certificate of health and fitness to travel as well as a rabies vaccination certificate. The cost was 3 500 rupees.


So when I landed in Delhi, I collected my cat in a crate from cargo department-there was sellotape and rope tied around the crate, and I thought that maybe the cargo department staff decided to use some extra protection but later the same day they called us from Trivandrum and said that when we registered our pet as cargo and left, she managed to open the top lid and came out from her crate!


The helpful cargo staff saw it and started catching her. Thank God, our cat is friendly and didn’t run away from them, so they caught her and put her back in her crate. So we got our pet safely to Delhi.


Our next flight was in the evening, so we went to have some rest in a Delhi hotel. In the evening we registered with Lufthansa airlines on our next flight Delhi to Munich and Munich to Brussels which cost us only 5 300 rupees for transporting our pet.


Lufthansa airlines are really good for pets. First, they are an approved route of travelling by DEFRA organization, second, they allow pets ON BOARD so you can fly with your pet together as long as she/he is in a crate.

However, you can’t fly with your pet from Delhi to London on board, but you can fly with your pet from Delhi to any European city ON BOARD.


Also you need to consider the fact that if you fly from Delhi to London with your pet as cargo, you will need an agent in London to pick up your pet, which will cost you around £450-500. By travelling by the route I took and described above, you can travel WITH your pet, and it is cheap.


To cut the long story short, we flew from Delhi to Munich with my cat on board, changed the plane in Munich and got to Brussels where they read our microchip, stamped and signed our third country official certificate and let us through.


We took a train from Brussels airport to Rotterdam Central and then in 2 mins straight to Hook of Holland. From Brussels airport to Hook of Holland it is a bit over 2 hours by train.


From Hook of Holland there is a ferry called STENA LINE which goes to Harwich, UK, and Stena Line ferry is also an approved route for pet transportation according to DEFRA.

Vidar Nordli-Mathisen/Unsplash


We got on Stena Line ferry and relaxed as it was the final step of our journey. 20 euros only for pet transportation.

On the ferry there is a pet section where you can leave your pet with food and water, clean the crate and visit your pet every now and again during the 8 hours of travelling.


We got to Harwich and went to the immigration control where they only asked for the third country official certificate for my pet. Later we got a train to London Liverpool Street and then went home by underground.


So we got to the UK from Trivandrum safe and sound without any delays and any problems.


Wish you all love and peace and take your pet with you, don’t let him/her behind because pets, like humans, feel abandonment and lack of love.


Hope my story was of help to pet owners!


P.S.: I had originally published my story of relocating my pet on another forum in 2015 after I returned to the UK with my pet; however, I decided now to create a separate section dedicated to pets on my own forum, hence this post was republished with some editing.


P.P.S.: In my original post in 2015 I heavily criticised some pet relocation agencies that I came across in India for the level of service and/or terms and conditions they were providing.

Although I still believe that what they did or/and said was not professional, I decided not to republish fully my negative experiences with them. Just a brief mention of such agencies so as to warn others.


1. http://www.petfly.in/ were very poor in customer communication and seemed very keen on selling pet accessories (on top of their transportation service) for much higher prices than you could get yourself from anywhere else in India.


2.http://www.furryflyers.com/ from Mumbai wanted more than 2 lakh (2 000 pounds) to transfer my cat to London. For a blood test they wanted around 20 000 rupees(the cost I paid is 500 rupees as mentioned above).


After this I decided that enough of these “helpful agents” and I must do everything by myself but before that there was another “helpful” agency.

3. Number three and the last one was WorldCare Pet Transport (www.WorldCarePet.com) who wanted 6000$ for my cat transportation to the UK. After I refused to pay them this amount, one of their staff said “you wouldn’t be able to move your pet by yourself”.


I DID.


Only this person was very helpful to me at that time with her information and advice: http://strayassist.blogspot.co.uk/


You can read about how her advice saved my life and sparked an interest in infectious diseases here


And why not join a discussion on forum here


P.S.: I have posted today some answers regarding pet relocation to the UK based on the questions that I recently got asked by email. Have a look here:

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29 Comments


Hi thanks so much for sharing this article! I have a question - currently the UK gov website says pets can enter uk by plane only in cargo. If by sea, then need to check w the company/Eurotunnel whether pets are allowed. (Bringing your pet dog, cat or ferret to Great Britain: Approved routes - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) I would really prefer to take him in cabin and not in cargo. Would you suggest that I take my pet in cabin to Europe (say via Lufthansa) and then take an approved ferry route from Europe to the UK? Would this possible? Or could you kindly guide me to someone who could answer this question for me? Thanks in advance!

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Replying to

Hi Arpita, that is the case-you can take your pet by plane to UK only in cargo-that is why I didn't fly from India to London but had to go by Stena Line ferry.

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Arun R
Arun R
Jun 17, 2023

Firstly, thank you so much for taking your valuable time to write this article. I needed some help. We started feeding a kitten, slowly we let him in, he brought another kitten when he was 5 month old. We allowed hoping that he'll have a playmate. The 2nd kitten is too too shy and scared of humans, that includes us. He doesn't no to hunt or survive on her own. Suddenly my wife got an offer to move to london. We were totally worried about them after learning the pet relocation charges. We don't have any saving, just came out of few unnecessarily taken loans and emis. We were asking our neighbors to take care of the cats who are…

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Administrator
Administrator
Jul 15, 2023
Replying to

Aww thanks very much for your feedback🙏hope you will have a smooth journey ✈️🙂you can take up to 5 pets, so you are perfectly fine to travel with 3😁

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Zutshi
Zutshi
Jan 16, 2023

How much time does it take to get out of Brussels airport? My flight lands at 8.20 a.m. Will I be safely able to catch Stena line ferri which departs at 2.15 p.m. ?

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Administrator
Administrator
Jan 20, 2023
Replying to

I guess it depends on the day,how busy it is etc!!!what if your flight from India is delayed?


And best to check train timetable online to know what time your train departs before you book anything. What time is your train from Brussels?


It is wise to leave a sufficient gap in time I guess to allow for flight delays,train delays,etc in case they happen.

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Zutshi
Zutshi
Dec 25, 2022

How did you travel from Rotterdam central to Hook of Holland?

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Administrator
Administrator
Dec 25, 2022
Replying to

By train

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Zutshi
Zutshi
Nov 26, 2022

Few more queries:

I am planning to travel with my Labrador. If your pet weighs more than 8kg there is no option but take your take it as excess luggage/cargo in a IATA approved cage.


  1. I am planning to book Lufthansa from Delhi to Brussels which has a stop over at Munich. Will Lufthansa take care of the pet movement in Munich airport?

  2. Would it be feasible for me to take my dog with the cage from Brussels to Hook of Holland(port) ? Wheels can be installed in the cage . I plan to drag the cage. The cage is 48″ x 32″ x 35″ (inches)

  3. Is my pet required to be in the cage through out the journey while…


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Administrator
Administrator
Nov 28, 2022
Replying to

You need to contact Lufthansa to find out about what services are included.


As for the pet being outside the crate on public transport in EU, I don't have the answer. I personally took my cat out for a bit while in Holland. I can only confirm that it is definitely allowed here in the UK.


With regards to the test, I can't find any time limit placed on its validity by the UK as long as you wait for at least 90 days after the test to travel with your pet: https://www.gov.uk/bring-pet-to-great-britain/rabies-vaccination-boosters-and-blood-tests#:~:text=You%20must%20get%20your%20dog,need%20to%20be%20vaccinated%20again.


If I were you, I would call DEFRA regarding point 4 and contact Biobest lab with the same question to be absolutely clear if that's fine.

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