What you'll need to export animals, products of animal origin and animal by-products in a no-deal Brexit.
Stay up to date
The UK is leaving the EU. This page tells you how to prepare for Brexit and will be updated if anything changes. Sign up for email alerts to get the latest information.
Sign up for Defra alerts about Brexit and the trade sector.
Exports to the EU from the UK
You need to follow different guidance for:
- fish and fishery products
- live aquatic animals
- endangered animals
- animals for display, research and conservation (under the Balai directive)
Animals, products of animal origin or germplasm
To transport these products from the UK to the EU in a no-deal Brexit, you’ll need:
- an export health certificate, which you need to apply for in advance
- to get your goods checked at a border inspection post (BIP) 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 BIP that your consignment is arriving - check with the BIP 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 in a no-deal Brexit.
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
If you’re exporting different types of food products together, such as meat products with dairy products, or several composite products, there’s a simplified process you can follow to get export health certificates.
To export animal by-products (ABP), you’ll need to check the export health certificate (EHC) finder to get either:
- an export health certificate (EHC)
- a model declaration form
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 BIP. You can confirm this by checking the EU list of products which must be inspected by a vet at a BIP.
If your ABP needs to go through a BIP you must make sure that your:
- goods are checked at a border inspection post (BIP) that can accept your type of goods, in the first EU country you enter
- EU-based import agent has notified the BIP that your consignment is arriving - check with the BIP for how much notice needs to be given
If your ABP does not need to go through a BIP, 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:
- EU Transit Certificate, held on the export health certificate (EHC) finder - if you cannot find one, contact APHA Carlisle
- EHC for the final destination (the non-EU country)
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 border inspection post, if there’s a no-deal Brexit.
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 BIP
- a BIP that can’t check your type of product
Find the correct BIP for your goods
You must find a BIP that can accept your type of goods - as not all BIPs accept all goods. Consider how to redirect your trade route if needed.
There are more than 400 BIPs in the EU and they’re usually at EU ports and airports.
Check the main list of BIPs on the EU site.
8 extra BIPs were added in early October 2019.
Give advance notice to a BIP
All EU BIPs require advance notice of goods arriving. Check with the BIP you’re planning to use for how much notice is needed.
Contact your import agent in the EU to make sure they notify the BIP through the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) of the arrival of the consignment. They must do this within the time limits set out by the BIP.
What happens if your goods fail inspection at a BIP
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 BIP will:
- notify your importer or agent
- ask them to decide whether your goods should be destroyed or returned to the UK
The BIP 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 BIP 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 before Brexit on whether to list the UK as a ‘third country’ (non-EU-country) and allow exports of:
- live animals
If the vote is passed, the UK will be listed as an approved third country to allow these exports to continue to the EU in a no-deal Brexit.
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:
- export POAO including red or white meat, fish and fish products, or dairy and egg products - read guidance on how to get listed
- export germplasm - contact APHA Centre for International Trade to be listed
- export animal by-products - contact the ABP team on 03000 200 301 or CSCOneHealthABP@apha.gov.uk to be listed
- supply other UK establishments that export these goods to the EU
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:
- register for an Economic Operator Register and Identification (EORI) number
- be aware of potential EU trade tariff changes
- find out the commodity code for your goods
- choose the correct customs procedure code (CPC) for your goods
- check the wider HMRC guidance for exporters
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.
Find out which non-EU countries the UK has trading arrangements with.