Starting your life in the UK

What life in the UK is like


The weather can vary depending on where you are in the UK but it is usually mild. 

Extreme weather used to be rare but it is becoming more normal to have prolonged periods of rain which leads to floods in some areas and prolonged periods of sun which leads to heatwaves in summer. 

Heating and cooling

It is very rare for homes in the UK to have an air conditioning unit. 

Energy is incredibly expensive in the United Kingdom, and many homeowners are struggling to keep up with the unexpected rise in bills. Whenever possible, wear a sweater or use a blanket to help save money on heating. If you're having trouble with feeling cold, talk to your host. 

Bank holidays

There are many UK bank holidays. Depending on your industry, you are usually given the day off, and if this is not possible, your employer may enable you to swap the day for another day. Some employers will pay you your normal salary for bank holidays, however this will depend on your contract and where you work.


The average person in the United Kingdom eats three meals every day.

Breakfast is typically cereal or toast, lunch is typically a sandwich or light meal, and dinner is typically the largest meal of the day.

A full English breakfast, fish and chips, Sunday roast, steak and chips, steak pie, shepherds pie, toad in hole, and bangers and mash are examples of traditional British food. However, as Britain has become increasingly multicultural, food has become considerably more diverse. 

Common meals also include spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, stir fry, stew, casserole, jacket potato, hot soup, burgers, pizza, fajitas, curry and chinese food. 


The national currency in the UK is called pound sterling and is represented by the £ symbol. There is 100p (pennies) in £1. 

Notes come in denominations £50, £20, £10 and £5, and coins in £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p. Smaller shops prefer when you pay with exact change or smaller notes (£5, £10, £20) as it can be hard for smaller shops to have the exact change for a £50 note.

The majority of individuals in the UK pay for products using their bank cards rather than cash. Although it is rare, some shops do not take cash and some takeaways are cash only.


Although smoking is permitted in the UK there are laws that dictate where and when you can smoke. These laws are different in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

In England, for example, you can’t smoke in enclosed public places such as restaurants, shops or pubs. It is illegal to smoke on public transport and you cannot smoke in a car if one of your passengers is under 18. If you smoke in the wrong place, you can receive a fine.  

The Government tried to reduce the prevalence of smoking due to the impact on the NHS. For this reason, cigarettes are very expensive compared to other European countries and the boxes carry health warnings.

If you smoke, it is important that you do not smoke in your host’s home without their permission. Many smokers in the UK don’t smoke inside their property. Instead, they can help you identify somewhere outside where you can smoke safely. Dropping litter is also illegal in the UK so make sure you ask your host for a bin or ashtray.

Cigarettes are heavily taxed in the Uk and as a result are very expensive.

Legal age limits

Age of consent in the UK

In each UK nation, the age of consent (the legal age when people can engage in sexual activity) is 16-years-old. This is the same regardless of the person's gender identity, sexual identity and whether the sexual activity is between people of the same or different gender. The law is there to protect children from abuse or exploitation, rather than to prosecute under-16s who participate in mutually consenting sexual activity. Underage sexual activity should always be seen as a possible indicator of child sexual exploitation.

The law says anyone under the age of 13 can never legally give consent (sexual offences act 2003)

Young people age 16-18

The law gives extra protection to young people who are over the age of consent but under 18. It is illegal:

  • to take, show or distribute indecent photographs of a child (this is often called sexting)
  • to pay for or arrange sexual services of a child
  • for a person in a position of trust (for example teachers or care workers) to engage in sexual activity with anyone under the age of 18 who is in the care of their organisation.

Age restricted products 12+

  • Newspapers/magazines with any 12/12A rated videos/games attached
  • 12/12A rated videos (DVD/Blu-Ray discs/streaming videos)
  • Christmas Crackers
  • PEGI 12 rated games
  • ge restricted venues and services 12+

-Cinema for movies U-rated to 12/12A-rated

Age 14+

You can get a part time job (restrictions apply), wearing a seat belt becomes your own personal responsibility, you can go into a bar and order soft drinks 

Age 15+ 

You can work more hours than at age 14 (you can find more information here) You can view and buy 15 rated films. 

Age restricted products 15+

  • Newspapers/magazines with any 15 rated videos/games attached
  • 15 rated videos (DVD/Blu-Ray discs/streaming videos)

Age restricted venues and services 15+

  • Cinema for movies U-rated to 15-rated
  • Join British Army (15 years, 7 months)

Age 16+

You have the right to give consent to medical, dental and surgical treatment. This includes contraceptive advice and treatment. You are entitled to free full-time further education (at school, sixth form college and city technology college). You can have sex, gay or straight, so long as your partner is also 16+ (17+ in Northern Ireland). If you’re 17 and under, it is an offence for someone in a position of trust who is 18 or over to engage in any kind of sexual activity with you. You can claim benefits and obtain a national insurance number and apply for legal aid. You can drink a beer, wine or cider with a meal in a pub or restaurant if you are with an adult. You can ride a moped with a max engine power of 50cc, choose your own doctor, work full time if you have chosen to leave school (but not in a bar or betting shop). You can move out of the family home with your parents’ permission (social service may apply a care order if you are under 17). You can rent accommodation but will need a guarantor if you are under 18. You must pay for prescriptions unless you are in full time education, pregnant or on income support (laws in Wales differ). You can play the national lottery and get married (with parental consent).

Age restricted products 16+

  • Petrol, paraffin and liquefied petroleum gas
  • Novelty matches
  • Caps
  • Serpents
  • Party poppers, throw downs, cracker snaps
  • Aerosol spray paints
  • Jumbo markers
  • PEGI 16 rated games
  • Pets and animals

Age restricted venues and services 16+

  • Cinema for movies U-rated to 15-rated
  • Most piercing salons
  • Full-time employment
  • Domestic flights

Age 17+ 

You can drive most types of vehicles (with a provisional driving licence and a 21+ adult in the passenger seat who is qualified to drive and insured). If you pass your driving test, and you’re properly insured, you can get behind the wheel and take to the road on your own.You can be interviewed by the police without an adult present, given a reprimand or a warning. Should you be charged with an offence (without being granted bail) then you could be sent to a remand centre or prison. You can become a blood donor.

Age 18+ 

You can vote in local and general elections. You can serve on a jury, or be tried in a magistrate's court and go to jail if you’re found guilty of a criminal offence. You can make a will, get married without parental permission, watch or buy 18 rated films, buy cigarettes and alcohol and open your own bank account. You can also get a tattoo.

Age restricted products 18+

  • All tobacco products
  • Alcohol
  • Scratch cards
  • Cigarette lighter refills, butane
  • e-Cigarettes or e-Liquids
  • Fireworks and sparklers
  • National Lottery and the Health Lottery
  • PEGI 18-rated games
  • 18/R18 rated videos (DVDs/Blu-Ray/streaming videos)
  • Knives, axes, razor blades (except safety razors)
  • Newspapers/magazines with any R18/R18 videos/games attached
  • Solvents, including glues and intoxicating substances
  • Crossbows
  • Imitation firearms and air weapons

Age 19+ 

You are no longer entitled to free full time education at school

Age 21+

You can apply to adopt a child. You can supervise a learner driver (so long as you’ve held a driving licence for the same type of vehicle for three years). You can apply for a range of licenses that would allow you to fly commercial transport airplanes, helicopters, gyroplanes and airships.You can drive lorries over 7.5 tonnes with a trailer (with the appropriate licence), as well as buses and road rollers.

You can find more useful information and details here. as well as here.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act became law in 2010. It covers everyone in Britain and protects people from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Everyone in Britain is protected. This is because the Equality Act protects people against discrimination because of the protected characteristics that we all have. Under the Equality Act, there are nine protected characteristics:

Under the Equality Act you are protected from discrimination:

  • when you are in the workplace
  • when you use public services like healthcare (for example, visiting your doctor or local hospital) or education (for example, at your school or college)
  • when you use businesses and other organisations that provide services and goods (like shops, restaurants, and cinemas)
  • when you use transport
  • when you join a club or association (for example, your local tennis club)
  • when you have contact with public bodies like your local council or government departments

There are four main types of discrimination. Direct discrimination, Indirect discrimination, Harassment and Victimisation

If you feel like you have been treated unfairly or been discriminated against you can find help and support here.

Providing biometrics

Once you arrive in the UK you will need to apply to extend your permission to stay. You will find the link to do this here. This is also an application for a biometric immigration document, commonly known as a biometric residence permit (BRP). You are required to provide biometrics (fingerprints and facial photograph) as part of this process. Some local authorities are supporting visitors to access and complete this form on arrival. 

£200 emergency cash

The UK Government has announced that every guest will be entitled to a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs. This payment will be provided by your local council.

Some councils have opted to make this payment at airports and train stations. Others are asking guests to attend a local community or designated registration centre where they are giving out cash or prepaid debit cards. 

We recommend you contact your local council for more information.

Food shopping and food banks

In the United Kingdom, there are numerous supermarkets with varying prices. You can even order food online and have it delivered to your home from select stores.

Lower cost supermarkets include shops like Aldi and Lidl.

Medium cost supermarkets include shops like Sainsburys, Morrisons, Tesco and ASDA.

Expensive cost supermarkets include shops like Ocado, Waitrose, Marks & Spencers and Booths.

If you are struggling with the cost of food you may be able to attend a food bank which can provide you with basic food essentials.

Bank accounts

When you have settled into your host's house, you'll need to start thinking about opening a bank account. Opening a bank account will allow you to do things like claim benefits, be paid a salary and pay for shopping whilst living in the UK.

When opening a bank account in the United Kingdom, you will typically be required to provide proof of your fixed address. As this is not possible for Ukrainians living in the UK, banks have made some allowances so that Ukrainian refugees can open a regular bank account without having a fixed address.

The following banks have confirmed that they will allow Ukrainian refugees to open a regular bank account when they arrive in the UK:

Other banks will also allow you to open a regular bank account but you will need to check with that provider.


When you set up a bank account you will most likely be given a basic bank account which will not include credit or overdraft facilities. 

The United Kingdom uses a credit rating system, and it is beneficial to understand it in order to avoid financial problems. Initially, you will have no credit rating when you are new to the country. After some time (usually at least six months), you might be eligible for small loans or credit agreements, for example a monthly phone or internet bill. You might be able to apply for a ‘credit builder’ card, which allows you to borrow a small amount of money every month; as long as you pay it back according to the terms, it will increase your credit score. 

You can check your credit score for free through services like Credit Karma, Experian and ClearScore

Credit scores are important because when you want to rent your own accommodation, most landlords and agencies will check yours to see if you will be a reliable tenant. Some jobs - in particular in the financial industry - will also check your credit score before deciding whether to hire you. 

For free and impartial money advice visit Money Helper.

Claiming benefits

The government has a range of benefits to provide opportunities and support. If you are entitled to any of these benefits, you will need to claim them from the right place.

Different types of benefits

Benefits are available for people of working age, for pensioners, for families and children, and for people with disabilities and their carers. Each of these areas is handled by different departments or parts of departments. Making a claim from the right area will make sure you get your benefit as quickly as possible.

Benefits are divided into four groups:

  • benefits for people of working age
  • benefits for people who have retired or who are planning to retire
  • benefits for families and children
  • benefits for people with disabilities and carers

Benefits for people of working age

If you are looking for work (or are in low paid work) you can get financial help and support from Jobs and Benefits offices and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Benefits for people of pensionable age

Many people of pensionable age are entitled to a basic State Pension and other benefits such as Pension Credit. These are administered by The Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

Benefits for families and children

Everyone who has a child is entitled to claim Child Benefit. Additional support is available for families who have particular requirements, such as children with special needs, lone parent families, expecting a baby and so on.

This help is provided by different sections of the Department for Communities and HMRC. Your nearest Jobs and Benefits office will help you find the right department to answer any questions you may have.

Benefits for people with disabilities and carers

There is a range of local and central government support available for people who are sick, or who have disabilities, and for the people who care for them. The support tends to vary according to the nature of illness or disability. For example, whether it is long-term, whether you were at work when you became ill or disabled, and whether the illness involves a stay in hospital or a care home.

You can find some benefit calculators and useful links below: 

Who to ask about your benefit

Your nearest Jobs and Benefits office will help you with any questions you have about your benefits situation. Contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre to discuss your state retirement pension. For information on benefits administered by HMRC, such as tax credits, contact your local Tax Office.

Finding a job

The government has confirmed Ukrainians arriving on the Homes for Ukraine visa scheme will be allowed to work in the UK. You will need to prove your right to work and this can be done by presenting your Biometric residence permit which you will receive when you provide your biometrics. Alternatively whilst you are waiting for your Biometric residence permit you can show your visa or a stamp in your passport. Please read official guidance on this.  

Useful sites include the following:

Writing a CV

When applying for a job many employers will request a CV (curriculum vitae). Others will ask you to complete an application form. A CV, or resume, is a summary of your skills, your qualifications and your work experience. In the UK, the standard format is a bit different from the Ukrainian template. Your CV typically should not include photos or personal information such as marital status or age. There are lots of websites that can help you format your CV but, if possible, ask your host to check the English. It is also important to tailor your CV to a specific job. You can take your CV to local pubs, restaurants, hotels and shops even if they are not advertising vacancies.  

In the UK, some employers will request information about any gaps in employment. Some will also want you to obtain a DBS certificate, which ensures you are safe to work with children and vulnerable adults. Find more information about the Disclosure and Barring Service

Searching for a job

Organisations offering support to Ukrainians 

Some organisations have declared support for Ukrainians:

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies are companies that help find suitable candidates for specific roles. They meet with employers to assess their needs and match them to qualified individuals. Some recruitment agencies specialise in a specific sector, for example health or education, others cover a wider variety of roles. Each agency will have their own terms of conditions and their own rates of pay - it is important that you read these before you sign up.

Some of the big recruitment agencies in Yorkshire include the following:


Sim cards for smartphones

You can visit any ‘Three’ store and show them that you came from Ukraine to collect a SIM card with one month of unlimited calls and data for free. 

Alternatively you can use any other pre-paid or ‘pay-as-you-go’ SIM card options, including the examples listed below.

These SIM cards can be bought from corner stores or supermarkets, or ordered online directly from the companies (you will receive them by post within a day or two). Like in Ukraine, these cards can be topped up with credit, but the best option is usually to buy a ‘pack’ (also called bundle, goodybag, etc.) that is valid for 1 month. 

Most providers also offer plans where customers pay monthly on a contract, but these require credit checks and commitments of several months. Usually, newcomers to the UK cannot use these plans yet. 

Note: Many providers are offering free calls and SMS to Ukrainian numbers currently. 



Prior to starting school, there are a number of childcare options in the UK. These include, for example, using a registered childminder, nanny, playscheme, nursery (kindergarten) or club. This leaflet explains the difference between different types of provision. 

The cost of childcare varies depending on the hours and the type of care your child requires. Childminders can operate on an hourly, daily or weekly rate, Nurseries usually have a full or half day rate. You may be asked for a deposit to secure a place and/or some fees in advance.

If your childcare is approved by the government you may be entitled to help with the costs.

Childcare Choices is a government website that helps you calculate the amount of financial support you can access. This includes free education and childcare for 2 year olds15 hours free childcare for 3 to 4 year olds, and 30 hours free childcare for 3 to 4 year olds. There are also other schemes such as support while you study.  

There is no doubt that the criteria are complicated; however, your local authority can help you navigate the system. 

Finding approved childcare provision

There are numerous websites that can help you find a nursery school place. These include government websites and private ones. Your local authority may also have a childcare portal such as this one in Leeds.  You may also want to talk to parents to find out their views on childcare in your area. Once you have created a shortlist of nurseries or childminders you will need to approach them directly to see if they have any spaces.  Some nurseries have a waiting list and are booked up months in advance.  

Education in England 

In England, children aged 5-16 are required to be in full-time education. Most schools are usually organised as follows:

  • Primary school: children between the ages 4-11
  • Secondary school: children between the ages 11-16
  • Secondary school with a sixth form: children and young people aged 11-18
  • Sixth form colleges: young people aged 16-18
    Further education colleges: young people and adults 16+

The majority of schools are state-funded. This includes maintained schools and academies. Independent schools, also known as private schools, charge fees for your child’s education. You can also choose to home-educate your child but you must let the Local Authority know if you intend to do this.

All schools have admission criteria to decide which children get places. These must be published on a school’s website. Your local council can give you information about state schools’ criteria and how to apply.

Children of families welcomed to the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Local Sponsorship Scheme are entitled to a school place. Unfortunately, you may not always be granted a place at the school closest to your home. This is because you will be applying as an ‘in-year’ admission and many schools will already be full. You can ask your local authority which schools have places available.  

It is important to note that the Secretary of State for Education has written to all Local Authorities and asked them to provide school places for children from Ukraine and to be flexible with their admissions criteria. 

Free School Meals

Your child will get free school meals in reception, year 1 and year 2 if they attend a state funded school. From year 3, your child may receive free school meals if you are on a low income or receive income support. To apply for free school meals you will need to fill out a form and submit it to your local authority. Ask your school for the paperwork and they will help you complete it. 

Activities for children

Breakfast Clubs and after school clubs

Out of school clubs form part of the Government's extended schools agenda, and include after-school clubs, breakfast clubs and holiday clubs or play-schemes. Extended schools are designed to help parents balance work and family commitments, whilst providing children with study support, and offering them a broader range of experiences and interests.

All schools are expected to provide access to wraparound childcare if there is sufficient demand, either on their own premises or nearby, from 8.00am to 6.00pm. If schools can demonstrate that there is little or no demand for extended services, they can signpost to other local provision, such as childminders or nearby out of school clubs.

Most out of school clubs that provide wraparound care are registered with and inspected by Ofsted, and have to implement the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) if caring for children of five years or younger (ie children in the reception year). You will have to contact your children’s school to find out which after school clubs are available but there are a few other sites that offer some alternatives too but these are not cheap. The family information centre will be able to offer advice too.

Family days out in Yorkshire/Free days out in Yorkshire

When it comes to days out as a family there are plenty of fun things to do and see in Yorkshire. If you prefer having fun for free you can find some great suggestions below: 



All Ukrainians arriving in England will be able to access NHS healthcare free of charge, including GP and nurse consultations, hospital services, and urgent care centres.

The UK has a public healthcare system called the NHS (National Health Service). Care is free at NHS hospitals and doctor’s offices; you do not need to pay and you should not pay any of the staff for your care. There are some private clinics that might offer faster appointments, but these are usually very expensive. 

Medications and prescriptions

If you need medicine, it is usually prescribed electronically. You can collect your prescription at a pharmacy near you. For most adults, there is a charge of approximately £9 for collecting prescriptions, regardless of which medicine it is. Children, people over 60 and people receiving certain benefits do not have to pay this fee (check eligibility here). If you have many prescriptions or repeating prescriptions, there are ways you might save money

You will notice that there are fewer pharmacies here than in Ukraine. Another difference is that some medications that are available over the counter in Ukraine require a doctor’s prescription here, for example:

  • Most NSAIDs other than ibuprofen
  • Some contraceptive pills (two types of progesterone-only pill are available without a prescription)
  • Antibiotics and antivirals

On the other hand, you don’t have to go to a pharmacy for basic medications, like paracetamol, cough syrup or indigestion tablets, since they are available from supermarkets. 

Find and register with a doctor

One of your first steps when coming to the UK should be to find and register with a GP (General Practitioner, sometimes called a ‘family doctor’). The NHS website will allow you to find a GP

Please note:

  • Some GPs are not accepting new patients because they already have too many.
  • Some GPs might ask to see proof of your address when you register. This is just to make sure you live locally and not too far away. 
  • You can also use online GP services. 
  • You cannot be registered with more than one GP at the same time. 

Your GP should be your first point of contact for non-emergency medical issues. They will refer you to a specialist (e.g. cardiologist, rheumatologist, neurologist, etc.) if needed. Using the NHS, you cannot book an appointment with a specialist directly. 

Medical emergency

If you have a medical emergency, you should go to the A&E (“Accidents & Emergencies”) department of your nearest hospital, or dial ‘999’ from any phone. An ambulance can come to your location. 

If you have a less urgent problem (or you are not sure if it’s urgent), you can call 111 or use NHS 111 online service for advice. They will guide you on the best course of action. 

Walk in clinics

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Mental health support

Content coming soon


Content coming soon


You can find information about contraception on the NHS website.  Contraception is free on the NHS. Find out where to get contraception and search by postcode to find:

You can also find out where to get emergency contraception.

Driving in the UK

There are strict rules when driving or being a passenger in a car when in the UK. If you break the rules you could risk getting points on your licence, a heavy fine or worse. 

There are differences between driving in the UK and driving in Ukraine or the rest of Europe. 

The following are some of the differences whilst driving in the UK:

  • Seatbelts are mandatory
  • Children and babies must use a car seat or baby seat - See Bringing Your Car to the UK on this page
  • Drive on the left side of the road in the UK
  • Speed restrictions are displayed in miles per hour (MPH) and not kilometres (km), 60mph is approximately 100km
  • Most petrol stations are usually self-serve; you fill up the tank yourself, go into the shop and state which petrol pump you used and then pay inside the shop. 
  • Some petrol stations allow people to pay by card at the pump; normally this is done by putting your card in the machine, put your pin number in, the petrol station takes a temporary hold of some of your money, you fill up the tank, select that you are done and drive off; however this is not normally possible for people who have a basic bank account which is most likely what Ukrainian refugees will be give but you can still go inside to pay for petrol at the shop
  • Car insurance: 
    • is mandatory and much more expensive than in Ukraine
    • is a combination of vehicle and driver insurance which means you cannot drive someone else’s car unless you are added as a driver to their insurance and others cannot drive your car unless they are included on your insurance policy
    • might not factor your driving history in Ukraine into the calculation which means the rate you pay will be high because you will be treated as a ‘new driver’ but the longer you drive in the UK the cheaper your insurance will get over time unless you are involved in any accidents or speed limit violations 

Ukrainian driving licences can be used for up to 12 months and then you must trade your Ukrainian licence for a British licence. This can be done by post. Please note that you will not receive your Ukrainian card back; it will be replaced with a British one. The process can take a few weeks, so if you  intend to switch to a British licence, it’s good to start early. 

Learning English

Deciding to come to the UK not knowing English can be very scary and overwhelming. There are many free resources available for people who do not speak English and want to learn. 

Some of these resources include:

  • Babbel is offering free access codes to Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons
  • Learn English with Duolingo - Learn languages in bite size pieces, it’s 100% free and can be used on their website or by downloading their app on Google Play or the App Store to use on your mobile.
  • English to Ukrainian translator by Lingvanex. Lingvanex is a free service that instantly translates words, documents(.pdf, .txt, .docx, .xlsx etc.) and web pages.
  • The Open University is offering free online resources and courses for Ukrainian refugees.
  • Visit Ukraine Today has a list of Free platforms for learning foreign languages.

Check Help and support in your area to see if any local councils, charities and organisations are offering English language courses in your area.


Britain is a multi-faith society and everyone has the right to religious freedom. Historically, the vast majority of people were Christian, which is why many traditions and holidays are based on Christian celebrations like Christmas and Easter. The Queen is ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.’

Now, there are large Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities throughout the UK as well as smaller communities of Buddhists, Jains, and Zoroastrians. In larger towns and cities, it’s easy to find somewhere to practise your faith.

It is also important to note that 52% of the population describe themselves as having no religion. In the UK the Equality Act protects you against discrimination because of your religious beliefs and you’re also protected against discrimination if you don’t belong to a religion.

Religious Clothing 

Many people in the UK choose to wear religious dress such as hijabs or turbans and you are able to choose how you want to express your faith. Some places of work have a dress code; however, employers must be flexible in their approach to religious symbols and dress unless it directly interferes with your ability to fulfil your role. 


If you come to the UK with a pet you will need to find and register with a vet (Veterinarians). You can do this by using a search engine and searching for ‘vet’ and your city or town, alternatively ask your host for recommendations.

As vet fees are very expensive in the UK it is also recommended to insure your pet. There are many companies who offer pet insurance and it can vary in price depending on the size, age and health conditions of the pet. Most insurance companies will not insure pre-existing conditions

Petplan has announced it will be providing free pet insurance to all Ukrainian refugees who bring their pets to the UK via the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

PDSA also offers free or low-cost veterinary care to owners on limited incomes.

Renting with pets

Unfortunately, a lot of landlords won’t accept pets in rental properties although the government does support the owners of well behaved pets. If you do have a dog or a cat, you will have to find a pet friendly property.

Laws relating to pet ownership

There are a number of laws, rules, code of practice guidelines issued by the government in the UK covering the welfare rights of pets to try and keep them safe and healthy. 

Banned dog breeds

It is against the law to let your dog be dangerously out of control, including public places, in a private place and the owner’s home.

Some breeds of dog are banned in the UK.  There include:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro


The UK Dangerous Dogs Act classifies dogs by “type” and not breed. The law doesn’t recognise a dog’s family tree or DNA, instead, the decision as to whether or not the dog is illegal is usually based upon physical characteristics alone. This can pose a threat to similar-looking breeds, which aren’t banned. 

Pure breed Wolf Dogs are classed as Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA) in the UK so they need a licence and liability insurance. However, when you get down to third-generation (also known as F3) Wolf dogs do not need a DWA licence so it is the same as owning any dog. 


ID tags & collars for dogs

Before you step outside, your dog must be wearing its ID tag and collar. This is a legal requirement. The ID should be engraved with information that can help find the owner if the dog is lost. As a minimum, this should include the name and address (including postcode) of the owner and telephone number (optional but advisable). It is also compulsory to have your dog chipped. If your dog does not wear an identification tag you could be fined up to £5,000. There are several specialist websites offering a huge range of ID tags or you can get advice from your vet.

Keeping your pet healthy

The five welfare needs outlined by the Animal Welfare Act are:

  • live in a suitable environment
  • eat a suitable diet
  • exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease


Pet owners who fail to meet their pet welfare’s needs face prosecution, but more importantly, they can cause suffering to their pet. Pet owners can face court if their pets are not properly cared for and risk prison sentences and fines up to £20,000. The pet may be taken away and you can be banned from looking after animals and pets in the future.


You must clean up your dog's waste and not leave it on the path or in the street.  The Dog Fouling Act of 2016, places responsibility on “the person in charge of the dog” at the time of the misdemeanour.

Free legal advice

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