Guidance

Get an export health certificate

How to get an export health certificate to export or move live animals and animal products from Great Britain to the EU, Northern Ireland or non-EU countries.

An export health certificate (EHC) is an official document that confirms your export meets the health requirements of the destination country.

You must apply for an EHC if you’re exporting or moving live animals or animal products from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to, or through:

  • the EU
  • non-EU countries
  • Northern Ireland

You’ll also need a transit EHC to transit through an EU country.

You may need a transit EHC to transit through a non-EU country. Check with the competent authority (the equivalent of Defra) in that country.

If you do need a transit certificate, apply for an EHC in the usual way.

You’ll need an EHC for each:

  • type of animal or animal product you’re exporting from Great Britain
  • product type - if you’re exporting a consignment which includes a mix of products.

If you’re moving live animals or animal products to Northern Ireland, you do not need to pay for them to be inspected and certified. The certifier invoices the government for these costs as part of the Movement Assistance Scheme.

Exporting from Northern Ireland to the EU and non-EU countries

You need an EHC to export live animals and animal products from Northern Ireland to non EU countries.

You do not need an EHC to export to the EU.

Contact DAERA on 02877 442 060 to find out what you need to do.

How to apply

You should:

Make sure you contact the official vet (OV) or inspector who will certify your EHC before you submit any applications.

If you cannot find the EHC you need, contact APHA.

Use a logistics hub to export or move your products

You can use a logistics hub to export or move products of animal origin (POAO), such as:

Using a logistics hub can save you time by speeding up border processes. It does this by providing a central point for exports and expert staff in one location.

A logistics hub can:

  • consolidate your batch of products with others from different suppliers into a single consignment
  • collect your products and transport them to their destination in the EU or Northern Ireland
  • complete and process the EHCs for your products - including access to a certifying officer
  • provide a customs brokerage service

Not all logistics hubs offer the same services. Contact your logistics company or email: traders@defra.gov.uk to find out more about logistics hubs.

Your products need to be accompanied by the relevant supporting documents when they arrive at the logistics hub.

The certifying officer will need to check these documents before they can certify the EHC.

Contact the logistics hub to find out what information you need to send with your products, and when you need to send it.

Find an OV or inspector

You will need to choose an OV or local authority inspector and:

  • name them in your application
  • check they can inspect your consignment and sign your EHC in the days before your export

An OV is someone who’s been authorised by APHA to perform statutory duties (work that is required by law). Use this guidance to find a professional to certify your export health certificate.

After APHA approves your EHC application

APHA will send your EHC to your OV or inspector, or let them know it is ready to download and print if they are registered to use the EHC online service:

  • 7 working days before your export date
  • within one working day of receiving it, if you plan to export in the next 7 working days

If you’ve applied online, you’ll be able to see when APHA has sent your certificate to your OV or inspector. Contact APHA if your OV or inspector does not receive the EHC.

Get your export inspected

There are different export inspection processes depending on where you’re exporting from.

Exporting from England, Scotland or Wales

Once you’ve applied to APHA for an EHC, you need to arrange for your nominated OV or inspector to complete, sign and give the EHC to you. The EHC must travel with your consignment to the export destination. The goods must not be split up during transit.

Exporting from Northern Ireland

The arrangements for getting your export inspected are different in Northern Ireland - check the inspection process on the DAERA website.

If you need to make changes to an application

If you need to make changes or cancel an application, contact APHA or DAERA.

If you and your OV or inspector are registered to use the online service, you can ask them to cancel the EHC and ask for a replacement.

If your export does not meet all conditions set out in the EHC

You must contact the competent authority in the country you’re exporting to. Competent authority means the equivalent of Defra in that country. Ask if they’ll give you a waiver for the conditions you cannot meet.

If they agree to waive any of the conditions, then an APHA vet can provide your official vet or inspector with a ‘derogation’ which gives them an exemption so that they can still certify your EHC.

Attach the waiver to your EHC application at the time you submit it to APHA.

If you receive the waiver after you’ve submitted your EHC, email the waiver to exports@apha.gov.uk. Include your case ID number or application number in this email so that APHA can link your request to your EHC application.

If you need help

Contact APHA or DAERA if you need help getting an EHC.

England, Scotland or Wales

You can contact the APHA Centre for International Trade in Carlisle.

Email:exports@apha.gov.uk

Telephone: 03000 200 301

Find out about call charges.

You can also use these contact details if you’re having any difficulties using the online service.

Northern Ireland

You can find your DAERA direct regional office or contact DAERA by phone.

Telephone: 0300 200 7840

Find out about call charges.

Published 17 April 2019
Last updated 8 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. New content added that explains how exporters can use logistics hubs to export or move their goods to the EU and Northern Ireland.

  2. Updated with guidance on how to comply with rules from 1 January 2021.

  3. Guidance updated to explain how to get ready for changes to exports from 1 Jan 2021.

  4. Content added to explain export process from 1 January 2021.

  5. Some information has been removed on how to apply. Users should now go to the form finder to find out the correct way to apply for their commodity. The guidance has been updated to reflect this.

  6. New information has been added on transit certificates and waivers.

  7. Updated the information about applying for an export health certificate to include applying using the online service for exporters and certifiers.

  8. At the bottom of the page I have added a H2 title and a link to a service-specific Accessibility Statement.

  9. Updated information on Brexit deal.

  10. Added link to the process maps collection.

  11. Added link to the process maps collection

  12. Updated Brexit alert. Clarified that you need to get export certificates and applications from the export certificate finder. Restructured the content to make it easier to read and follow.

  13. deleted a duplication

  14. Following user feedback, a clearer explanation has been added in the section called: "Get your export inspected" The rest of the page is unchanged.

  15. First published.