Poots introduces emergency pet travel rules for Ukrainian refugees

Date published: 25 March 2022

Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine can enter Northern Ireland with their pets without having to meet all pet travel rules, Environment Minister Edwin Poots has announced.

“The Ukrainian people are facing a horrendous situation with many forced to flee their homes and seek safety elsewhere. We have witnessed them carrying their treasured possessions, including their cherished pets, as they flee the war and their homes,” said Minister Poots.

“It is a traumatic experience without the added bureaucracy of travel documents and proof of vaccination for your cat or dog, so I am pleased to announce that they can enter Northern Ireland using an emergency licence.

“We have strong biosecurity measures in place to protect the public and other animals from diseases which can be brought to Northern Ireland by animals from overseas.  To protect these measures alternative arrangements have been put in place.    

“This will include meeting the costs of quarantine for pets and the necessary health treatments such as tapeworm or rabies vaccinations to ensure we protect our long held rabies-free status and ensure pets are returned to their owners as quickly as possible."

Notes to editors: 

  1. People travelling direct to NI from Ukraine will be required where possible to pre-notify via a digital app or via email. On arrival a compliance check will be carried out to determine the status of the animal. Fully compliant animals will be allowed to enter as normal and proceed to their destination. Should an animal be non-compliant DAERA will make arrangements for quarantine and the necessary health preparations in order to meet compliance with the legislation.
  2. Should animals arrive in NI where their final destination is GB or ROI, a compliance check will be carried out and if fully compliant they will be permitted to travel onwards. If they are non-compliant, DAERA will arrange for an approved transporter to transport the non-compliant pet to its destination and inform the relevant competent authority.
  3. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Officepressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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