Apply for or renew a licence to sell animals as pets

Use this service to apply for a licence to sell animals as pets if you’re a:

  • pet shop
  • business selling animals over the internet

Licences are valid for between 1 and 3 years depending on the star rating.

Before you apply, you may need to check if planning permission is required to carry out the specific activity.

Who cannot apply

You cannot apply for a licence if you:

Fees

Licence type Fee
Selling one category of animal - mammals, reptiles, birds or fish £598
Selling additional category of animal - mammals, reptiles, birds or fish £87

Vet fees are also payable for new applications.

Apply for or renew a licence

Application to sell animals as pets PDF, 860KB

Along with your application, you’ll need to provide your:

  • premises plan
  • insurance policy
  • operating procedures
  • fire risk assessment and emergency plan
  • preventative healthcare plan
  • qualifications
  • training records

We'll contact you to request payment for the licence after we receive your application.

Pay the fee

Do not send cash or cheques. We'll contact you for payment when we have verified your application.

Renewing your licence

You should renew your licence at least 10 weeks before your current licence expires.

If we do not receive your application within this time, it may be delayed and you may need to stop trading until it’s approved.

If your licence is approved

You’ll need to:

  • display your licence in a public-facing area of the premises, such as the entrance or reception area
  • show the name of the licence holder and the number of the licence holder’s licence on any website used in respect of the licensable activity

Premises inspections and star ratings

We will inspect your premises before the licence is granted. You’ll need to be able to show that you have:

  • a specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare
  • comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to the activities you want to carry out
  • an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly
  • training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, a system of annual staff appraisals and ongoing knowledge development for all staff, including yourself

Based on the application, and the information given to us at the inspection, we’ll assess the risk rating and award stars using the animal activity star rating system.

Challenging your star rating

If you want to challenge the star rating awarded, you should contact the inspecting officer to discuss the matter. If they do not revise their decision, you can appeal in writing.

You have 21 days to make your challenge following the issue of the licence.

If you disagree with the outcome of the appeal, you can challenge the decision through a judicial review.

Requesting a reinspection

If you feel that your star rating should be reviewed, and have made improvements or changes, you can apply for a reinspection in writing by showing:

  • what changes you've made
  • evidence of the changes

Find out about reinspection requests during the term of a licence on GOV.UK.

If your application is refused

You can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal if we refuse to grant or renew a licence.

You must make your appeal within 28 days of the day following the date of the decision.

Make a change to your licence

You'll need to request a change to your licence if you want to:

  • increase animal numbers
  • add a new type of animal
  • let us know you've moved house

Contact [email protected] for advice.

Statutory guidance

Contact the animal licensing team