Exporting animals, animal products, fish and fishery products if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

How to export animals, products of animal origin, animal by-products, fish, shellfish, crustaceans and fishery products if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Use this guidance to understand what will and will not change if you’re exporting from the UK to:

  • EU member states
  • non-EU member states (third countries)

Exports to the EU from the UK

You’ll need to complete an export health certificate (EHC) to export to the EU.

Animals, products of animal origin, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, germplasm or fishery products

To transport animals, products of animal origin (POAO), fish, shellfish, crustaceans, germplasm or fishery products from the UK to the EU in the event of no deal, you’ll need:

  • an export health certificate (EHC), which you need to apply for in advance
  • to understand the purpose and requirements of an EHC and any accompanying documentation
  • to have your EHC signed by an authorised signatory following an inspection of your consignment
  • to ensure the trade route for your goods allows for your consignment to be checked at a border inspection post (BIP) at the first EU country you enter for export
  • to make sure your EU-based import agent has notified the BIP that your consignment is arriving at least 24 hours in advance
  • to comply with wider HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU

Animal by-products not for human consumption

To export animal by-products not for human consumption, depending on the type, you will need one of the following in advance:

  • an EHC
  • a model declaration form for certain products, which will be available on the EHC tool
  • official documentation from the competent authority - that is, the equivalent of The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) - of the EU member state where your consignment is going

All animal by-products must go through a BIP. Your EU-based import agent must notify the BIP in advance that the consignment is arriving.

Check if your animal by-product’s Combined Nomenclature (CN) code is listed as required to undergo vet checks at a BIP. If your animal by-product does not require vet checks at a BIP, make sure that your EU-based import agent has found out the correct notification procedure from the competent authority of the EU member state that your consignment is going to.

EHC applications

A completed export health certificate must go with any animal or animal product you’re exporting from the UK.

It’s an official document that confirms your export meets the health requirements of the destination country.

An official vet or inspector will check that your export meets the health requirements of the destination country. They’ll complete and sign the certificate, and give it to you.

Find out how to apply for an EHC and download the forms on GOV.UK.

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

There’s unlikely to be any change to current export rules and processes for countries outside the EU.

However, exporters should check they are using the latest version of the EHC for each particular destination. See the existing guidance on exporting live animals.

Consignments destined for non-EU countries that transit the EU will either need an EU Transit Certificate if available or to be accompanied by an EHC for the destination that will be the EU BIP of exit. EU Transit Certificates can be found on the EHC finder.

Border and customs offices

Goods will only be able to enter the EU through a BIP designated for the specific consignment.

At the moment there is no BIP in Calais. BIPs are being built to be ready for when the UK leaves the EU. Check the list of existing BIPs in the EU and consider how to redirect your trade route if necessary.

You should contact your import agent in the EU to ensure that they notify the BIP through the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) of the arrival of their consignment. An EU BIP requires notice 24 hours in advance.

EU listing of the UK and its establishments

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will need to be listed as a ‘third country’ to export to the EU.

UK application for third country status and listing for live animals, germplasm, POAO and animal by-product exports

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the European Commission will vote again on whether to list the UK as a ‘third country’ and allow exports of animals and animal products to continue from the UK.

Because the EU has previously accepted the UK as a listed third country, the UK expects it will continue to meet the requirements for ‘third country’ status.

EU listing for exporters and suppliers

If you’re a UK establishment, for example a food wholesaler or processing plant, you’ll need to be listed as an approved establishment with the EU if you do either of the following:

  • export POAO, some live animals (for example zoo animals), germplasm and animal by-products direct to the EU
  • supply other UK establishments that export these goods to the EU

The European Commission has confirmed that the current list of UK animal by-product-registered or approved premises will be accepted. They’ll continue to be listed with the EU for the purpose of exporting animal by-products to the EU. Defra is confirming the list of these establishments with the EU.

Defra is preparing to submit a list of establishments that want to export commodities other than animal by-products to the EU. Establishments can ask to be listed by emailing

Documents for transporters

Documents issued by the UK will only be valid in the UK and not in EU countries.

Read the Department for Transport guidance for more information.

If you’re a UK transporter that transports live animals in the EU, you’ll need to appoint a representative within an EU country. You’ll need to apply to the relevant government department to get a:

  • transporter authorisation
  • certificate of competence
  • vehicle approval certificate
  • journey log (where necessary)

You’ll need to apply for a journey log from the first EU country you enter for export and show this at a BIP.

Other export requirements

Before exporting, businesses must:

Trade agreements

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be no implementation period. In this scenario, the government will try to bring into force UK-third country agreements from exit day, or as soon as possible afterwards.

These new agreements will replicate existing EU agreements as far as possible. Where replacement trade agreements are not agreed, trade would take place on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms with that country.

The temporary tariff policy announced in March would apply to all UK imports from countries the UK does not have trading arrangements in place with, including the EU, if there’s no deal.

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

Read the guidance on existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Published 20 February 2019
Last updated 26 April 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated information about the UK's application for third-country status.
  2. Added links to the model declarations needed to export animal by-products used for medicines and cosmetics, and untreated wool and hair
  3. Updated to add that the EU has now listed the UK as a ‘third country’.
  4. Added information about exporting animal byproducts.
  5. Updated to include information on trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
  6. First published.