London-Stansted (Onboard Pets Passport): Business Aviation Guide

PT 4 M minute read

Onboard can enter the UK via Stansted (EGSS), and this is great news for many UK-bound business aircraft operators. There are, however, procedures and specific restrictions to consider, so it’s important to confirm all requirements with your ground handler in advance of travel.

Here’s an overview of what you need to know:

Only certain pets may enter the UK

Current regulations and restrictions only allow cats, dogs, and ferrets into the country from outside the European Union (EU). There are, however, certain restrictions to be mindful of. Particular breeds and types of dogs – such as certain types of pit bulls – are not allowed in the UK. The cat category covers common domestic cats. If you’re operating within the EU, opportunities for pet transport are expanded to include reptiles, birds, and amphibians. Still, some restrictions apply. Certain breeds of sub-Saharan squirrels – including several species of flying squirrels – are banned, even though they may be currently in the EU.

Certain requirements must be met

The process for bringing animals into the UK is the same, whether the animals are coming from within or outside the EU. All pets must possess pet passports, animals must be micro-chipped, and all veterinarian records need to be provided and up-to-date. If a rabies shot is required, it must be administered at least 21 days prior to travel. Dogs must be treated for tapeworms between one and five days prior to travel and have documentation to confirm that. Note that rabies and tapeworm requirements do not apply for pets that reside within the EU. If those steps are not strictly followed, the animal will be quarantined. If a banned pet is brought into the country, there will be a fine, the animal will be quarantined at the owner’s expense and, in most cases, will not be returned to the owner.

You must be an approved carrier in order to bring in pets

Operators may only transport approved pets into UK pet-nominated airports if they’re “approved carriers.” To become an approved carrier, you must register online with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and list the airports you intend to enter. The process takes about two weeks. You will need to apply for separate approval for each airport that you wish to use.  Registration covers all aircraft in your fleet and is valid for 3 years. Only operators that hold an AOC can apply to become an approved carrier and it’s not open to private operators. Your ground handler can assist with the process. Also, for passengers looking for approved carriers, DEFRA maintains a list that provides that information.

Do not land at non-approved airports with onboard pets

If you land with your pet at a location that is not an approved airport, your pet will not be permitted into the UK. All approved carriers with pets onboard must land at authorized airports for pet entry.

Be aware of notification procedures

Prior to the day of operation – and preferably 48 hours prior to travel – advise your ground handler that a pet will be brought onboard and provide full pet information. Your ground handler will notify appropriate authorities and provide both the carrier license (an approved carrier) and pet passport information. A background check will be conducted, and, upon arrival, the animal will be checked and have its microchip scanned. This process only takes a few minutes and must be done onboard the aircraft. No departure clearance for the animal is needed. Animals may be cleared at EGSS 24 hours a day with prior notification. Note that EGKB is not available 24 hours for pet clearance, and both EGLL and EGKK are subject to airport slot availability.

Ensure that no documentation is missing

If you do not have all the required pet documents onboard – even if they have been forwarded to the ground handler in advance – the animal will be subject to quarantine for four months. Keep in mind, also, that even if you have the required documentation on hand but have not provided proper advance notification, the animal clearance cannot be accomplished.

Be aware of tech stop restrictions with onboard pets

Aircraft that are not approved carriers and/or are carrying undocumented pets are permitted to tech stop in the UK. However, in such cases, no trash of any kind may be removed from the aircraft, and the animal will not be permitted off the aircraft for any purpose.


Pet entry requirements for the UK are among the strictest in the world. When traveling with a pet to this location, ensure that you’re an “approved carrier,” that proper advance notification for pet clearance has been provided, and that all required documentation is available onboard.

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