How to apply for, correct or replace a cattle passport and what to do if you miss the application deadline or it has not arrived.
Applies to England and Wales
- have a passport or other official identification document for all cattle you are responsible for
- apply for a cattle passport when a calf is born - this happens when you register its birth
- apply for cattle passport when you import or move cattle into England or Wales from outside of Great Britain
- meet the deadlines for getting a passport
- tell the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) if there’s a mistake on a passport
- report a lost or stolen passport
- not move animals that do not have a passport, except with a movement licence, nor enter them into the food chain
You must carry out all of these actions so that cattle can be traced at all times. This is a legal requirement to prevent and contain the outbreak of disease.
If you fail to do this, your passport application could be refused, you could have movement restrictions placed on your herd, reduced subsidy payments or be prosecuted.
New cattle passports and corrections are free. If you need to replace your cattle passport, you’ll need to pay £20 for each replacement.
When and how to apply for a passport for a newborn calf
For a newborn calf, you’ll apply for a passport when you register its birth with BCMS. You can do this online, by phone or by post.
For cattle or buffalo, you must register the birth by the day the calf is 27 days old to get a passport.
For bison, you must register the birth by the day the calf is 7 days old.
If you’re worried you do not have enough time to register the birth, contact BCMS.
Before you start
You’ll need to provide the:
- calf’s official ear tag number
- calf’s sex
- calf’s date of birth
- official ear tag number of the genetic dam (the calf’s genetic mother)
- official ear tag number of the surrogate dam (only if a surrogate has given birth to the calf)
- official cattle breed code - you need to follow the bloodline of the sire to determine the breed
You do not need the ear tag number of the sire (the father of the calf) to apply for a passport. But if you would like it to appear on the passport, you can give it when you apply.
Register a birth using Cattle Tracing System (CTS) Online
You can register a birth using Cattle Tracing System (CTS) Online - you’ll get a receipt when you do this.
If you’re not registered to use the system, follow the registration and enrolment guidance on CTS Online.
For animals born after embryo transfer enter ‘embryo trans’ into the ‘genetic ID’ box if you do not have the ear tag number of the genetic dam.
Register a birth using CTS Web Services
You can connect to CTS Online using compatible software packages to register births.
To enrol for CTS Web Services, you’ll need a CTS user ID and password from BCMS.
Fill in Parts A and B of the CTS Web Services user ID and password request form (PDF, 108 KB, 1 page) and email it to email@example.com. Use ‘CTS Web Services user ID and password request’ as the subject header of your email.
Register a birth by telephone
You can register a birth by calling the CTS self-service telephone line anytime. You’ll get a reference number at the end of the call.
You cannot use the self-service telephone line if:
- the calf has a surrogate dam
- you want to include the sire’s ear tag number on the passport
You’ll need to apply online instead.
CTS self-service telephone line
Telephone (English language): 0345 011 1212
Telephone (Welsh language): 0345 011 1213
Open 24 hours, 7 days
Find out about call charges
Register a birth by post
To register a birth by post, fill in a passport application form (CPP12). If you need this form, contact BCMS.
Post the application form to:
British Cattle Movement Service
Consider getting proof of posting or using recorded delivery.
How to apply for a passport for imported or moved cattle
For cattle imported or moved into England or Wales from outside of Great Britain, you can only apply for passports by post. Find out more about passport rules for cattle imported into England and Wales.
When you receive the cattle passport
If you apply online or by telephone, BCMS aims to send out the passport within 3 days of getting your application.
If you apply by post, BCMS aims to send out the passport within 7 days of getting the application.
Check the passport details
When you receive the cattle passport, you must:
- check the details are correct
- sign it
- stick a barcode label (also called a holding address label) in the section ‘to be completed by keeper on receipt of passport’
There is a diamond-shaped image in the bottom right corner of the passport that is heat sensitive and will fade if held between finger and thumb. This tells future keepers of the animal that it’s a genuine document.
If a new cattle passport has not arrived
If it’s been more than 14 days since you applied and your passport has not arrived, contact BCMS. Do not delay or you may have to pay a passport replacement fee.
If you tell BCMS within 6 weeks of applying that the passport has not arrived, they will send you a free replacement passport.
If you tell BCMS more than 6 weeks after you applied, you’ll have to pay £20 per animal for replacement passports.
Correct a cattle passport
If there’s an error on a passport, such as the wrong sex or the wrong date of birth, return the passport immediately to BCMS. BCMS will correct the passport for free. You can either:
- write the changes clearly on the passport
- include a letter with the passport explaining the changes
If you need to change the date of birth, or you need to make 3 or more changes to a passport, you’ll also need to send a copy of your calving record.
Return the passport and relevant part of your calving record (if necessary) to:
British Cattle Movement Service
You should get proof of posting, in case you need to prove a passport has gone missing. You cannot move the animal until you’ve received a corrected passport.
If you miss the application deadline
BCMS will not issue a passport. Instead, you’ll get a notice of registration (CPP35) for the animal with a letter telling you about your options. You can:
- appeal to BCMS to change their decision if you had a good reason for missing the application deadline
- ask BCMS if they could issue a passport based on a DNA test on the calf
The letter tells you how to appeal.
An animal that has a notice of registration cannot leave the holding unless you have a movement licence. Find out about the rules for cattle without passports.
Use continuation sheets when a passport is full
If the ‘movement history’ section of the passport is full, you can record movements on a continuation sheet (an A4 form) that you must keep with the passport.
For the continuation sheet, you can either:
- download and print a blank passport continuation sheet
- photocopy the back of another single-page passport, if you have one, where the movement boxes are blank
Replace a lost or stolen cattle passport
You must apply for a replacement passport within 14 days of realising it’s missing. You’ll need:
- the animal’s official ear tag
- to pay a £20 fee
Do this by completing the application for replacement passport(s) (form CPP9A).
You must not move the animal off your holding until you have a replacement passport.
If you cannot download or print the form, you can get a paper copy by contacting BCMS through your CTS Online account or by telephone.
British Cattle Movement Service
Telephone (England): 0345 050 1234
Telephone (Wales): 0345 050 3456
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
When you’ll receive the replacement passport
You’ll usually receive the passport within 14 days of applying.
If BCMS cannot trace the animal’s full movement history, they will not issue a replacement passport and you will not get a refund.
Instead, you will get a notice of registration (CPP35). This means the animal cannot leave the holding unless you have a movement licence. Find out more about the rules for cattle without passports.
If you find the lost passport
Contact BCMS as soon as possible.
Types of passport and other ID documents for cattle
By law, all cattle must have one of the following official identification documents.
Most cattle have a one-page A4 passport (CPP52). This type of passport has been issued since 2011.
Older types of passport
There are 2 types of passport issued before 2011:
- chequebook-style passports issued between 28 September 1998 and 31 July 2011
- blue and green passports issued between July 1996 and 27 September 1998
Cattle with a blue and green passport will also have a certificate of CTS registration from BCMS.
Other official ID documents
Cattle without a passport will have either a:
- notice of registration - if BCMS could not issue a passport (for example, if you missed the passport application deadline)
- certificate of CTS registration from BCMS - for animals born, imported or moved into England or Wales before July 1996
Find out more about cattle without passports.