Exporting animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021

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

The UK has left the EU

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

You can also read about the transition period.

Exports from the UK to the EU

You’ll need to follow different guidance for:

Animals, products of animal origin or germplasm

To transport these products from the UK to the EU from 1 January 2021, you’ll need:

  • an export health certificate, which you need to apply for in advance
  • to get your goods checked at a border control post (BCP), previously known as a border inspection post (BIP) or designated point of entry (DPE) that can accept your type of goods, in the first EU country you enter
  • to 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
  • to comply with wider HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU

If you’re exporting live animals, meat or dairy, you can view flowcharts with the steps you need to take.

You’ll also need to follow new rules on identifying livestock, if you want to export sheep, cattle, goats and pigs to the EU after 1 January 2021.

You should read additional rules if you:

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

Animal by-products

To export animal by-products (ABP), 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 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 will send you the paperwork you’ll need to fill in.

You’ll also need to comply with HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU.

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

If your ABP needs to go through a BCP you must make sure that your:

  • goods are checked at a BCP that can accept your type of goods, in the first EU country you enter
  • 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

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

  • competent authority of the EU state that your consignment is going to
  • 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.

Consignments destined for non-EU countries that transit the EU will need both an:

You’ll need an EU importer who will take responsibility for the consignment while it’s transiting the EU. You’ll also need to check HMRC guidance on any customs declarations you’ll need to make.

Border and customs offices

You must get your animals and animal products checked at an EU BCP, 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 the UK if they arrive at:

  • an EU port without a BCP
  • a BCP that can’t check your type of product

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.

Check the main list of BCPs on the EU site.

8 extra BCPs were added in early October 2019.

Give advance notice to a BCP

All EU BCPs require 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 the UK

The BCP will not usually contact the exporter directly.

If you get permission to bring your goods back to the UK, you can do this using the same documents you used to export.

You’ll also need to pre-notify APHA or DAERA that your goods are arriving by submitting an IV66 import notification form. You do not need to enter via a UK BCP and will not need to go through checks at the UK point of entry.

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 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.

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 4 November 2019 + show all updates
  1. Information about third country listing for the EU has been updated, due to the latest Brexit extension.

  2. Updated callout box with latest Brexit deal information. Added information on what happens if goods fail inspection at an EU BIP.

  3. We have included the page guidance link for live aquatic animals to the list.

  4. Expanded information on border inspection posts.

  5. Updated information on third country listing.

  6. Link to rules on composite food products added.

  7. Added new link to Food Standards Agency guidance on how to become listed to export products of animal origin to the EU in a no-deal Brexit. Also added new link to how to identify livestock in a no-deal Brexit.

  8. Added link to the process maps collection

  9. Extra information has been added about products which transit through the EU to be exported to a non-EU country. Link added to show FSA list of approved establishments.

  10. Updated information on how to check which animal by-products need to go through a BIP in a no-deal Brexit.

  11. Updated links to HMRC guidance on exporting after Brexit. Highlighted how to stay up to date with Brexit changes. Streamlined guidance to make it easier to follow.

  12. Content relating to fish and fishery products has been removed and users should instead visit

  13. Updated information about the UK's application for third-country status.

  14. Added links to the model declarations needed to export animal by-products used for medicines and cosmetics, and untreated wool and hair

  15. Updated to add that the EU has now listed the UK as a ‘third country’.

  16. Added information about exporting animal byproducts.

  17. Updated to include information on trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

  18. First published.