To ensure you have the best journey please make sure you are fully prepared. This page should give you some important tips and advice to make sure your trip goes smoothly.
For full information on Customs allowances when entering the UK visit the Home Office website https://www.gov.uk/duty-free-goods
Passports and visas
If you are travelling internationally, a valid passport is required. For some countries your passport will need to be valid for at least six months after your intended return and you may also need a visa.
Before travelling you should always check the entry requirments for the country you are travelling to and allow enough time to renew your passport and/or apply for a visa at the relevant embassy or consulate.
Travelling to the USA from a visa waiver country
All travellers from visa waiver countries now require travel authorisation in advance, in addition to having a machine-readable passport. The system is referred to as ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The application process should be done in advance online and is operated by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You can apply online here Apply online.
Lost or stolen passports
We know that passports can sometimes go missing and although it will take time getting a replacement, you can make life easier by taking photocopies of your passport with you. You should also carry additional photographic ID separate from your passport, for example a driving licence.
If your passport is lost or stolen you must report it to the UK Identity and Passport Service (IPS) by calling their Adviceline on 0300 222 0000 or visit their website https://www.gov.uk/passport-advice-line.
If your passport is lost or stolen while abroad, your should report this immediately to the local police. You can get details of your local embassy, consulate or high commission by calling +44 (0)20 7008 1500 (or 0870 606 0290 if you're in the UK).
Travelling with pets
Rules and regulations for carrying animals onboard an aircraft are complex and vary between different countries and airlines. If you are intending to take an animal abroad you should contact your airline or a seek advice from specialist pet travel agency before planning your journey.
Airlines will only carry animals if arrangements have been made in advance. There are two options available and your airline will be able to tell you which service applies they are able to offer:
- Accompanied baggage - most airlines will accept animals as accompanied baggage providing they are in a suitable container. They will travel in the baggage hold of the aircraft where a suitable environment can be created. Please note that animals arriving into the UK may only be allowed to do so as registered air cargo.
- Air cargo - owners can arrange for their animals to travel as air cargo without making the journey themselves.
Please contact your airline for more information on travelling with an animal.
Taking pets out of the UK
If travelling with an animal from the UK you must comply with the requirements of your destination country. Some authorities will only require an export health certificate, proof of vaccination or an import permit.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) operates an export helpline on +44 (0)20 7904 6347 or Fax +44 (0)20 7904 6395. For more information visit the Defra website http://www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-scientific/services/lab/pets/
Arrival into the UK
All animals, apart from dogs and cats from countries which comply with a Pet Travel Scheme, will be required to undergo a period of quarantine when they arrive into Edinburgh Airport. Arrangements must be made and confirmed before the you begin your journey.
Providing they meet necessary reuirments, dogs and cats are able to travel to the UK from a number of different countries without having to undergo six month's of quarantine. Only carriers approved by Defra may carry animals into the UK on specific routes.
To be considered for entry into the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme, your animla will have to meet the conditions imposed by Defra. These can be found on their website http://www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-scientific/services/lab/pets.
Extrordinair Animal Reception Centre
Extrordinair operate the Border Inspection Post at Edinburgh Airport. This facility allows dogs, cats or ferrets registed under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, to arrive into Scotland.
The Border Inspection Post has been designed to meet the needs of pets of varying sizes. Fresh water and dry food will be provided and your pet will have access to a secure exercise area. This facility aims to reunite passengers with their pets within three hours of arrival.
It is important that, in addition to the health and documentation requirements, your animal travels in a suitable container which must be well ventilated and large enough that the animal can stand up, lie down and turn around freely.
No part of the animal is allowed to protrude from the carrier and it should be secure and leak proof. Your airline or any specialist pet travel agent should be able to advise you on how to obtain a suitable container.
Please note that sedating your animal is not recommended as the effects of the drugs and altitude are not predictable.
Guide dogs do qualify for the Pet Travel Scheme but must also meet the same requirements imposed by Defra. Some airlines do permite assistance dogs to travel with passengers inside the aircraft cabin but please check with your airline if this is something you are interested in learning mroe about.