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Belfast Local Information

Time Zone
The definition for time zones can be written in short form as UTC±n (or GMT±n), where n is the offset in hours. Here is an example given the local time in Belfast and New York City at 12:00 UTC when daylight savings time is not in effect:

Belfast Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC + 00:00 hour = 12:00pm

NYC Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC – 05:00 hour = 7:00am

Belfast is on Western European Time and observes Daylight Savings time from the last Sunday in March to the Last Sunday in October.

Electricity
240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs are standard and the visitor is unlikely to come across the older round three-pin type.

Holidays
Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
Mar 17 – St Patrick’s Day
Apr 6 – Good Friday
Apr 9 – Easter Monday
May 7 – Early May Bank Holiday
May 28 – Spring Bank Holiday
July 12 – Battle of the Boyne (Orangeman’s Day)
Aug 27 – Summer Bank Holiday
Dec 25 – Christmas Day
Dec 26 – Boxing Day

Public holidays are usually referred to as ‘bank holidays’ in the UK.

Pets
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is the system that allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules. The rules are to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other diseases.

Pet rabbits and rodents imported into the UK from any non-EU country must be licensed into quarantine for 6 months. The EU Regulation on the movement of pet animals such as birds, ornamental tropical fish, invertebrates (except bees and crustaceans), amphibians and reptiles into the EU have not yet been set by the European Commission. To bring these animals into the UK they must meet either national import rules or the general rules for trade in the animal species.

To bring your pet into the UK you must carry out the following procedures in the order shown:

  1. Have your pet microchipped. Before any of the other procedures for PETS are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so that it can be properly identified. We do not specify a particular type or brand of microchip to be used but, in Europe, ISO (International Standards Organization) Standard microchips meeting specifications 11784 or Annex A of ISO Standard 11785 are generally used. If the microchip does not meet either of these ISO Standards, you must provide your own microchip reader (at your expense) to enable the microchip number to be read successfully when your animal enters the UK or needs to be checked in a European PETS country.
  2. Have your pet vaccinated. After the microchip has been fitted your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination. Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the recommendation on the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet. Before vaccinating your pet, make sure your vet reads its microchip number and enters it on your pet’s vaccination record. If your pet has been vaccinated against rabies before it was identified by a microchip, it will have to be vaccinated again. This is to make sure that your pet is correctly identified when it is vaccinated.
  3. Arrange a blood test. After your pet has been vaccinated, it must have a blood test to make sure that the vaccine has given sufficient protection against rabies. The vet will arrange to take a sample of your pet’s blood and send it to an EU-approved laboratory for testing. The vet who vaccinated your pet can arrange this for you. You will need to take your pet’s vaccination record with you when the blood sample is taken. Make sure that the vet records the microchip number accurately and clearly on the submission form, together with the date the blood sample was taken. Your dog or cat may not enter the UK under PETS until six calendar months have passed from the date that your vet took the blood sample which led to a satisfactory test result.
  4. Get PETS documentation. If you are preparing your animal in a non-EU listed country you will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate. It is headed “Veterinary certificate for domestic dogs, cats and ferrets entering the European Community for non-commercial movements (Regulation (EC) No 998/2003)”. This certificate must be in English and may also contain a translation in another language. It must be completed in block letters in the language of the EU country of entry or in English. This certificate replaces the PETS certificate which can still be used to enter the UK and other European Union countries until the “Valid until” date shown on the certificate. PETS certificates issued after 30 September 2004 will not be accepted for entry to the UK.
  5. Before your pet enters the UK; it must be treated against ticks and tapeworm. Your pet must be treated against ticks and tapeworms not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before it is checked in with an approved transport company for its journey into the UK.
  6. Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorized route. Your pet must enter the UK from an approved country traveling with an approved transport company on an authorized route. For a list of authorized carriers, contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Defra
Customer Contact Unit
Eastbury House
30 – 34 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7TL
44 20 7238 6951
44 20 7238 2188 (fax)
www.defra.gov.uk