Dog Travel Blog

Real life experience of travel with dogs and Pet Passports in France

The journey back into the UK


So, equipped with the dogs and their passports, we approached the Eurotunnel terminal at Calais not really knowing what to expect. But, it couldn’t have been easier. The signs are clear as you enter the terminal – you must visit the Pet Passport Control before you go through the checking in booths. As you approach the booths, a Pet Passport sign directs you down a slope to the right into a carpark, on the left of which is the Pet Passport Control Office. You take the dogs and their passports to the office where the Passport Officer double checks the entries in the passport and checks the chip numbers of each dog. I was asked to use the chip reader myself on the dogs and then pass the reader back to the Officer for him to check the number against their passports. Once he was happy with everything, he gave me a certificate to say that they were eligible for re-entry into the UK and a notice to stick onto the windscreen. Then, it was back to the car and through the gates to catch the train back to England.

The Eurotunnel experience wasn’t quite as fast as from the UK to France because there was quite a queue at Passport Control which held us up a bit. But, once we were on the train, the journey was smooth and we were driving on the left again within 35 minutes! In total, we arrived at the terminal on the French side at 12.15 pm and were driving in the UK an hour and a quarter later. The dogs slept through it all!

Directions to Pet Passport Control

Directions to Pet Passport Control

The Pet Passport Control Building

The Pet Passport Control Building

Layout of the Eurotunnel Terminal at Calais including the location of the Pet Passport Control building.

Layout of the Eurotunnel Terminal at Calais including the location of the Pet Passport Control building.

This was a sticker we were given to put on our windscreen to say that we had gone through Pet Passport Control successfully.

This was a sticker we were given to put on our windscreen to say that we had gone through Pet Passport Control successfully.

The Pet Passport Control Officer gave us this certificate to confirm that the dogs had passed through the Pet Control procedure successfully.

The Pet Passport Control Officer gave us this certificate to confirm that the dogs had passed through the Pet Control procedure successfully.


posted under | 40 Comments »

40 Responses to “The journey back into the UK”

  1. Anna Coulling says:

    Thanks so much for this post – very helpful. We are travelling back to UK later this week with our Llasa Bertie & want to catch the 7.00 pm train – did you notice opening times for pet passport office?

  2. kate Wilson says:

    Thanks so much for all this wonderful information and written for ordinary people who have exactly the same questions and worries. I am travelling from Spain – near Barcelona – up to the UK in Late august with one Springer Spaniel. we will go through the tunnel – my first time with an animal . I have checked and double checked every detail and your site is so helpful. Then – a few months later I hope to return with three dogs ! I am bringing my two collies from Cornwall all the way back down here to live. It’s a mammoth journey and a giant step for us all – it helps so much to hear about others who have done this sort of thing and it has been fine. I think it must be because of living on an island – somehow bringing the dogs down to the mediterranean feels scarier than taking them up to the north of Scotland which I have done many times. Best wishes Kate

  3. ann George says:

    Please can you advise, information my dog is currently going through quarantine in France, I am already llving in the uk.

    My dog is being brought to the port in France with his passport, is it nesssesary for me to travel to France or can I wait on the uk side for him.

    The person bring him will have all the current documentation with him, being the owner and my name on the dogs passport, is it nessesary for me to cross the channel.

    Thank you await your response

  4. Nikki says:

    Thanks so much for the helpful info posted on your site. I am returning to the UK in Jan/Feb 2012 with my beloved pooch and am more nervous about getting to France and having the right paperwork for him than I am about the whole finding somewhere to live & work in the UK!!

    I understand that as of Jan 2012 he can travel without the 6 month blood test providing he has had his Rabies vaccination within 21 days (he had his last in March 2011), but do you know if I need to have any further certificates or documents with me?

    He has his passport and had had all his required jabs for Spain (incl Rabies) yearly.

    Any advise you can give me would be most appreciated.



    • Editor says:

      Keep visiting the Defra website – things still seem a bit up in the air.

      The pet passport is the only bit of documentation, but at present a vet will have to stamp it 24-48 hours before you enter the UK. Not yet clear whether this will be needed next year.

      Safe trip!

  5. michael says:

    Hi thanks for the info.. got a question for you.
    When you went with your dogs did you have the blood test done 6 months before or did they not ask for that as the rules are changing in the next few months.? bit stuck at the moment i need to get back ASAP but havent got my dog blood tested.

    Thanks for your time..


  6. Jorg says:

    On 30st of June Defra published new import requirements for dogs, cats and ferrets.
    This means that if you travel after the 1st of January 2012 with your dog to the UK, the rabies antibody titration test is not necessary anymore:

    Between now and the end of 2011 you can only travel into the UK if your dog passed the blood test, and at least 6months has passed between Jab and date of travel. So if you haven’t had a blood test done yet – your dog won’t be able to enter the UK until 1st Jan (which is the situation I’m in with my Border Terrier). Of course you still need the rabies jab evidence in the passport.

  7. Emma Keatley says:

    I might be attending university next year in Paris and have a Pomeranian dog who is 10 months old. I’ve been told that to bring dogs back into the UK, they could be kept in France for up to 6 months.. is this true? I would I not have a problem, taking her back and forth with me to university. Hope you can help me. Thank you x

  8. Elsie says:

    does any one know what restrictions there are to take a dog out of the country to france? we have got our pet passport less than 21days ago and are aware that we cant return within that but what about leaving? i am hoping if there are no checks from the uk out that we shoudl be ok!

    • Editor says:

      In our experience, there have been no checks at all out of the UK. 🙂

      • Julie Hart says:

        I am traveling to UK with 2 dogs on French passport.
        Is the system the same?
        DEFRA say Step 4 – Tapeworm treatment – (dogs only): before entering the UK, all pet dogs (including assistance dogs) must be treated for tapeworm. The treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK. There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment.
        Do I need to repeat this to bring them back to France?

      • Editor says:

        The checks and tapeworm treatment are only necessary for the entry into the UK.

    • andy says:

      hi we are in same situation . were you able to travel to france ? did they check the dates ?

  9. paul says:

    great blog much information gathered.
    i have a question .im collecting my show dog ive just purchased from calais eurotunnel end. ill be travelling from the uk to calais and was wanting to know can i park my car in the pet controll car park and wait for the dog been delivered to the pet control building car park. and is thiere easy access back on the motorway for the previous dog owner to travel back to poland.

    • Editor says:

      The Pet Control building is found before you go through check in onto the Eurotunnel. I’m sure you can just drive into the car park and then just drive out again back onto the access road. But I would get in touch with Eurotunnel and ask them yourself just to be 100% sure (just in case the access road in was one way and I just never noticed because we were on our way out of France!).

  10. Oana says:


    Thanks for the useful info.

    I will be taking my cat to UK in March. I wanted to ask where was the check done – is it in a separate room only you with the pet and the officer? or is it a room full of animals? I’m just afraid that if i open the box, my cat will be scared and run away.

    Thanks for letting me know.


    • Editor says:

      If you’re referring to Eurotunnel, the check takes place in a reception area along with everyone else (including dogs!). They only need to hold the scanner over the animal though to check the chip so you’d just have to hold on tight!! I’ve never seen a cat being checked though so maybe someone else has other advice. Perhaps they have a special ‘cat’room bearing in mind that cats and dogs aren’t always best friends.

  11. Susan says:

    I have a query. On the pet passport there is a fit to travel page for vet in France to complete, but on Eurotunnel or ferry websites there is no mention of this having to be filled in by the vet. Is this just for pets being sent by air etc

    • Editor says:

      The clinical examination page is not always scrutinised by the Eurotunnel control (can’t speak for the ferries) but your vet should complete it in any case because there seems to be an expectation for it to be completed. Once that page is full (as there is only one page set aside for this) the vet will simply use the next page (Legalisation) – both the French vet and the Eurotunnel control confirmed this. When we last visited France, the pet control officer at Eurotunnel did say he would expect the clinical examination to be completed.

      • Adam Lewis says:

        We were told yesterday at the Calais Eurotunnel control that the ‘fit to travel ‘ section was no longer needed and only Tapeworm treatment needs to be certified on the dog’s passport now. But be warned! Our Italian vet had forgotten to put the time down and we were told that had we not arrived more than 24hours before the five day limit we could not have travelled.

  12. karin says:

    hi im looking for a vet in France so i can take my dogs over with me, but not sure how to find my local as i have not done this befor and my French is not very good.we are in berni, so hope any one would be able to help.

    • Keith says:

      This is certainly way too late a reply for your question but this link may help others with a similar problem.
      A Google Map of recommended Vets throughout Europe –
      All Vets have been recommended within the last few years by Motorhome owners bringing their pets to Europe and complying to the Pet Passport regulations on their way back to the UK.

  13. Milena says:

    Hi there,
    thank you for the detailed information. However, my journey is a bit different and I hope that you can help me. I currently live in Paris and I want to visit my friends in London for a month. I have to take my cat with me but I don’t have a car. I checked that Eurostar don’t accept animals. Please advise 🙂

    • Martin says:

      Your only options are fly or ferry but you’d need to contact the ferry companies to see if they accept foot passengers with pets. I know Eurostar has been heavily lobbied to accept pets but has maintained its position of no pets which is a shame for people who don’t have a car. 🙁

  14. Max says:

    My name is Max and I have a question.
    Last month we traveled to Dover from Dunkirk with our dog.
    We had all the documents and we visited a vet to get a medication from worms.
    On arrival to Dunkirk and before boarding our ferry, we checked in with french authorities. The chip, pet passport and required vaccination was checked and we received a sticker, that we had to desplay on a windscreen.
    So the french side was ok, but when we arrived to Dover we removed the sticker imideatly after we arrived to Dover (before we left the port)
    Does anyone know did we had to report our dog to any UK authorities in Dover?

    Thank you


  15. jennifer says:

    I am moving from the US to the UK. It is horribly expensive to bring my dog because she is required to go as cargo and then there is a PBS fee for customs clearance (another 385 pounds). It is much less expensive to have her come with me as baggage to France and then drive to the UK. Is there a “customs clearance” charge at the border of France and the UK? Thanks!

    • Shandos says:

      There’s no customs clearance charge, however you’ll need to pay a fee for the dog, usually it’s about £15-20 for the Eurotunnel or ferries.

      • anissa says:

        Hi shandos , i m taking my dog for outside europe ( middle east ) to germany then crossing france to take eurostar as it is cheaper. So are you sure no need for custom declaration this is what i read on defra :
        If you move animals from an EU country to a non-EU country, this is considered exporting.

        If you move animals into an EU country from a non-EU country, this is considered importing.

        If you move animals from one EU country to another, this is considered EU trade.

        Do you think they will consider it as EU trade even if the dog was coming from the middle east 10 days before entering in UK ?
        Many thanks !!!

  16. Vivien Horsnell says:

    Do you have a list of vets in Switzerland who can do the worming and complete passport before returning to UK? We don’t want to wait until we are in France in case there is not enough time before returning to the uk
    many thanks

  17. Kate says:

    Just travelled from Calais to Dover on the ferry with the dog and it couldn’t be easier. After French passport control and uk border control you declare the dog at check in……..there is no pet reception at Calais ferry port. After handing over the pet passport I was asked to scan the microchip. This was checked against her passport. With everything in order the paperwork to travel was issued and we were given a large yellow sticker for the windscreen which has to remaining there until you exit Dover. Had 3 weeks away travelling through France to Italy and have found everywhere to be extremely pet friendly.

  18. Helen Hodgson says:

    Just wondering how much time to leave before the return train to allow for the pre-journey pet passport check?
    In other words, how long before our train time should we arrive at the terminal?

  19. teresa ewart says:

    Hello, what a brilliant website! Defra should be paying you… (or at least post a link to your site)
    We live in France with our dog amongst other animals. We’re travelling via ferry, calais to dover with our dog. he has all his jabs and preventative meds up to date, his passport & chip etc (most pet dog owners in France keep this all up to date – there are lots more potential problems here, ESPECIALLY with ticks)
    So,we will just get the tapeworm treatment 4 days before our ferry.
    My question is – do I need to factor some additional check-in time for our dog the we arrive at the port?
    I live in Provence – so for any questions about dog visits to this area please fire away… (also french language help re vets!)

  20. Ellie says:

    My husband and I and our Standard Poodle Fiona returned to London this Monday (via dfds ferry – calais/dover) after having spent the last 3 weeks in Aix. One tiny hitch — when it was “Fiona’s turn” to have her passport inspected (you have 3 ‘drive-thru’ passport inspection kiosks – at the 3rd kiosk they want to see the dog’s passport as well as yours) — the agent was unfamiliar with the process, and mis-interpreted the dates on Fiona’s passport, told us her passport dates were wrong, did not hand us the micro-chip reader through the car-window, and directed us to some authority figure. i told my husband to drive through the exit and start over and enter again and go to a different person — because I KNOW that Fiona’s records are PERFECT. So we did. And again, at the 3rd kiosk (different person), the agent asked for all of our passports, then handed us the micro-chip reader through the window, and I scanned Fiona and handed back the reader – and she gave us the golden stamp of approval (the sticker for the window) — and that was that. SO — word to the wise — try, try again. Great trip!

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