Guidance

Export or move live animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021

What you need to do to export or move live animals, products of animal origin and animal by-products from 1 January 2021.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) exporting or moving live animals and animal products to, or through the EU and Northern Ireland (NI). Find out more about moving goods into, out of, or through NI from 1 January 2021.

Exporting or moving live animals and animal products

You’ll need to follow different guidance for:

Live animals, products of animal origin (POAO) or germplasm (semen, ova and embryos)

You’ll need an export health certificate (EHC) from 1 January 2021 to:

  • export live animals, POAO or germplasm from GB to the EU
  • move live animals,POAO or germplasm from GB to NI
  • transit through the EU and NI

You’ll also need to:

  • get your goods checked at a border control post (BCP) or point of entry in the first country you enter
  • make sure your EU-based import agent has notified the BCP that your consignment is arriving - check with the BCP for how much notice needs to be given
  • comply with wider HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU

Use the transition checker to find out what you need to do from 1 January 2021.

You should read additional rules if you:

  • export or move composite food products to the EU and NI
  • want to check if your product counts as a composite food product

Animal by-products

To export or move animal by-products (ABPs), you’ll need to check the export health certificate (EHC) finder to get either:

If you cannot find either of these for your product type, you’ll need to contact the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in NI or the competent authority in the EU country where your consignment is going - this means the equivalent of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in that country. They’ll send you the paperwork you’ll need to fill in.

You’ll also need to comply with HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exports to the EU or moves to NI.

Some ABPs need to go through a BCP in the EU or a point of entry in NI. You can confirm this by checking the EU list of products which must be inspected by a vet at a BCP in the EU or point of entry in NI.

If your ABP needs to go through a BCP in the EU, or point of entry in NI you must make sure that your:

  • goods are checked at a border control post (BCP) that can accept your type of goods - this must be in the first EU country you enter, or at the point of entry in NI
  • EU-based import agent has notified the BCP or point of entry in NI that your consignment is arriving - check with the BCP or point of entry for how much notice needs to be given

If your ABP does not need to go through a BCP in the EU or point of entry in NI, you must make sure that your EU-based import agent notifies:

  • DAERA in NI or the competent authority of the EU country that your consignment is going to
  • NI or EU port or airport, within the time limits set out by the competent authority

Exports to non-EU countries (third countries) from the UK

There’s unlikely to be any change to the current export rules and processes for countries outside the EU. Make sure you check the existing guidance on exporting live animals or animal products.

Border and customs offices

You must get your animals and animal products checked at an EU BCP or point of entry in NI, from 1 January 2021.

These checks are made to protect:

  • animal health and welfare
  • public health

Your goods may be refused entry, seized, destroyed or returned to GB if they arrive at:

  • a port in the EU without a BCP or a point or entry in NI where checks cannot be carried out
  • an EU BCP or point of entry in NI that cannot check your type of product
  • an EU BCP or point of entry in NI without the correct documentation

Find the correct BCP for your goods

You must find a BCP that can accept your type of goods - as not all BCPs accept all goods. Consider how to redirect your trade route if needed.

There are more than 400 BCPs in the EU and they’re usually at EU ports and airports.

You can check the list of EU BCPs on the EU site.

Eight extra BCPs were added in early October 2019.

Give advance notice to a BCP

You’ll need to give EU BCPs advance notice of goods arriving. Check with the BCP you’re planning to use for how much notice is needed.

Contact your import agent in the EU to make sure they notify the BCP through TRACES of the arrival of the consignment. They must do this within the time limits set out by the BCP.

What happens if your goods fail inspection at a BCP

If your goods fail inspection because of risks to animal or public health, they will be destroyed immediately. If the goods fail for other reasons, the BCP will:

  • notify your importer or agent
  • ask them to decide whether your goods should be destroyed or returned to GB

The BCP will not usually contact the exporter directly.

Rejected goods from 1 January to 30 June 2021

From 1 January to 30 June 2021, these consignments rejected at EU BCPs may, subject to a risk assessment, re-enter GB through any point of entry:

  • live animals including equines
  • germinal products
  • products of animal origin (POAO)
  • animal by products

GB importers must submit an import notification on IPAFFS.

Rejected goods are consignments rejected by the competent authority in an EU country. Consignments rejected for commercial reasons cannot be returned as rejected goods.

There are certain documentary requirements to return rejected goods to GB from the EU. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will notify you if the returned consignment needs to enter through a BCP or can enter through any point of entry.

Animal by-products and germinal products: document requirements for rejected goods from 1 January to 30 June 2021

Apply to APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) on IPAFFS to return a consignment.

Submit the notification on IPAFFS one working day in advance. In exceptional circumstances, known as ‘logistical constraints’, you can submit the notification at least 4 hours before arrival.

Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification:

  • a declaration from the EU BCP describing the reason for refusal of entry
  • full details of destination in GB and the intended use or destruction of the returned consignment from the person responsible for the consignment
  • the original export certificate for the returned product
  • a declaration stating that the consignment has remained sealed with an intact original seal or an official seal applied by the EU BCP

If the consignment did not require a veterinary certificate or did not have a certificate for export you must present:

  • a commercial invoice or similar that verifies the returned consignment corresponds with the one that was exported

You must have an official declaration from the EU BCP if the products are any of the following:

  • have been unloaded, stored, re-loaded in the EU
  • the original seal has been replaced
  • not originally exported in a sealed container

The official declaration must state the:

  • place and date of unloading, storage and re-loading and the seal number put on the container after reloading
  • reasons for unloading and storage

The official declaration must confirm that the:

  • seal on the vehicle or container of the consignment was only broken for the purpose of official controls
  • products were handled only to the extent necessary, and in particular at the appropriate temperature
  • products were handled in a way that prevents cross contamination during the official controls
  • vehicle or container was immediately re-sealed after the official controls

APHA will assess these documents to decide the conditions of import and if the consignment will have to be returned through any point of entry or a BCP. APHA will give you an authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.

Products of animal origin for human consumption: document requirements for rejected goods from 1 January to 30 June 2021

Apply to APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) on IPAFFS to return a consignment.

Submit the notification on IPAFFS one working day in advance. In exceptional circumstances, known as ‘logistical constraints’, you can submit the notification at least 4 hours before arrival.

Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification:

  • a declaration from the EU BCP describing the reason for refusal of entry
  • full details of destination in GB and the intended use or destruction of the returned consignment from the person responsible for the consignment
  • the original export certificate for the returned product

If the consignment did not require a veterinary certificate or did not have a certificate for export you must present:

  • a commercial invoice or similar that verifies the returned consignment corresponds with the one that was exported

If the consignment was not originally exported in a sealed container or where the seal is broken for official control purposes, you must have an official declaration from the EU BCP stating the:

  • place and date of unloading and reloading of the consignment
  • consignment did not undergo any handling other than unloading, storage and reloading
  • products were handled only to the extent necessary for the purposes of official controls at the appropriate temperature
  • unloading and reloading of the consignment was handled hygienically to avoid cross-contamination
  • consignment was stored under hygienic conditions at the required temperature and not at risk of cross contamination
  • effective measures were put in place to avoid the contamination of the POAO with disease agents which cause transmissible animal diseases during the unloading, storage and re-loading in the EU country
  • place of any unloading, storage and re-loading in the EU country was not subject to animal health movement restrictions due to transmissible animal diseases during the unloading, storage and re-loading

If the rejected good was originally exported in a sealed container and maintained an intact original seal, you must have a declaration by the person responsible for the consignment stating:

  • since the product was originally exported, the storage and transport conditions have been complied with
  • that the content of the consignment has not been altered

APHA will assess this information to decide the conditions of import and if the consignment will have to be returned through any point of entry or a BCP. APHA will give you an authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.

Returned live animals: document requirements for rejected goods from 1 January to 30 June 2021

Apply to APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) on IPAFFS to return a consignment.

Submit the notification on IPAFFS one working day in advance. In exceptional circumstances, known as ‘logistical constraints’, you can submit the notification at least 4 hours before arrival.

Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification:

  • the original export certificate and related documentation
  • statement from the EU BCP of the reasons why the returned animals were refused by the EU BCP
  • statement from the EU BCP with details of the premises in which the animals were kept since leaving GB, for example in quarantine or in isolation
  • declaration by the person responsible for the returned animals that the import conditions relating to transport have been complied with in relation to the returned animals
  • declaration by the person responsible for the animals that they have not been in contact with any other animal of a lesser health status since leaving GB

APHA will assess this information to decide the conditions of import and if the consignment will have to be returned through any point of entry or a BCP. APHA will give you authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.

Returned goods procedure for animal products and live animals rejected from an EU Border Control Post from 1 July 2021

From 1 July 2021, returned goods must enter GB at an appropriately designated BCP for checks on entry. You must notify on IPAFFS and present the relevant documentation to the BCP as set out in the returned goods processes for animal products and live animals.

EU listing of the UK and its establishments

The European Commission will vote on whether to list the UK as a ‘third country’ (non-EU-country) and allow exports of:

  • live animals
  • germplasm
  • POAO
  • ABPs

If the vote is passed, the UK will be listed as an approved third country to allow these exports to continue to the EU.

EU listing for exporters and suppliers

You’ll need to be listed as an approved establishment with the EU if you do any of the following:

The European Commission has confirmed that the current list of UK animal by-product and germplasm premises will be accepted.

Documents to transport live animals

To transport live animals from GB to the EU, you’ll need to apply to an EU member state where you have representation, for an EU-issued:

  • Transporter Authorisation
  • Certificate of Competence
  • Vehicle Approval Certificate

The EU will no longer recognise GB-issued versions of these documents.

You are not permitted to hold Transporter Authorisation or Vehicle Approval certificates in more than one member state. You may not be able to apply before 1 January 2021.

You can hold a Certificate of Competence in more than one member state. You may apply for this from the relevant member state before 1 January 2021.

Further information on the requirements to transport live animals to or from Northern Ireland will be added to this guide.

For further information contact APHA: CITCarlisle@apha.gov.uk

Journey logs

To transport live animals from, or through, GB to the EU you’ll need to apply for 2 journey logs:

  • one approved by the EU member state which is the first point of entry into the EU
  • one approved by APHA (or DAERA, if the journey originates in NI)

Further information on the requirements to transport live animals to or from Northern Ireland, will follow

For further information on documents to transport live animals, email APHA: CITCarlisle@apha.gov.uk.

Other export requirements

Before exporting, businesses must:

Trade agreements

Where replacement trade agreements are not agreed, trade would take place on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms with that country.

The temporary tariff policy would apply to all UK imports from countries the UK does not have trading arrangements in place with, including the EU.

Find out which non-EU countries the UK has trading arrangements with.

Find out which new trade agreements will be in place.

Published 20 February 2019
Last updated 10 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated to show rules for ear tagging animals exported from GB to the EU from 1 January 2021.

  2. Added guidance on documents you'll need to transport live animals.

  3. Guidance updated to reflect some of the changes to the export process from 1 Jan 2021.

  4. First published.