Guidance

Import live animals and germinal products from the EU to Great Britain

How to import or move live animals and germinal products from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

Import controls on EU goods to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) that have already been introduced remain in place. This page will be updated in autumn 2022 with new dates for import controls.

This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) importing or moving the following germinal products and live animals from the EU:

  • germinal products (semen, ova and embryos)
  • reptiles
  • amphibians (except salamanders)
  • invertebrates (except bees, molluscs and crustaceans)
  • livestock – such as cows, sheep, goats and pigs
  • equines (including equines from Norway)
  • poultry (including day old chicks and hatching eggs)
  • captive-bred birds that are not pets, poultry or for research, display or conservation (for example, captive-bred birds imported commercially for sale in pet shops)
  • non-domestic ungulates – these are hooved animals that are not farm animals, such as llamas, alpacas, antelopes, camels, wild pigs, tapirs, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, hippos

You’ll need to follow additional rules if your live animal or germinal product is:

You need to follow different guidance if you’re importing:

You should check if current issues, such as disease outbreaks may affect your import.

Notify APHA about imports from the EU

You must submit an import notification on the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS) to notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) about imports from the EU of live animals and germinal products.

You must do this at least one working day before the animals or germinal products are expected to arrive at the point of entry.

You’ll get a unique notification number (UNN) when you submit your import notification for the animal or product. The format of this number will be IMP.GB.YYYY.1XXXXXX. You must give the UNN to the exporter or official vet (OV) who will add it to the health certificate for your animal or product, and give you a copy.

Check what documents you need

Most imports of live animals and germinal products from the EU must come with a health certificate.

If there’s no health certificate for your product, you may need an import licence or commercial document.

Equines imported to Great Britain from the EU, Norway and Northern Ireland must have an up-to-date horse passport.

Health certificates

The EU exporter must:

You must attach all pages of the health certificate copy to your import notification in IPAFFS – you’ll need to go back into IPAFFS to do this.

Import licence

If a health certificate does not exist for the animal or germinal product you want to import, you may need an import licence or authorisation to import from the EU.

In some cases, you may need an import licence as well as a health certificate.

Check the list of general licences to see if the licence you need already exists.

Contact the APHA Animal Imports team if:

  • there’s no licence for your animal or germinal product
  • you’re not sure if you need a licence

You must attach the import licence or authorisation to your import notification in IPAFFS – you’ll need to go back into IPAFFS to do this.

Commercial document

The exporter must send a commercial document, invoice and packing list with consignments of the following live animals and their germinal products:

  • reptiles
  • amphibians (except salamanders)
  • invertebrates (except bees, molluscs and crustaceans)

A commercial document must include:

  • details of what’s in the consignment, including species and number of animals, if this applies
  • the name of the person who sent it
  • the name of the person it’s being sent to
  • address of the premises of origin
  • address of the destination premises

The document must travel with the consignment.

They must also send an exporter declaration that confirms the animals are fit to travel for commercial trade.

Checks on imports of live animals and germinal products from the EU

Your live animal and germinal product may have document, identity and physical checks, including tests, at the place of destination.

Checks will depend on biosecurity and public health risks.

Equines: testing and keeping horses and other equines before you import them to Great Britain

If you’re importing equines from the EU and Norway, you must make sure your exporter follows the rules on testing and keeping registered and unregistered equines.

You will not be able to import equines if your exporter does not follow these rules.

Tests for equines

Your exporter must ensure that all unregistered equines are tested for:

  • equine infectious anaemia (within 30 days before travel)
  • equine viral arteritis (within 21 days before travel for uncastrated male equines that are older than 180 days, unless they meet vaccination requirements)

Equines that are registered with one of the following do not need to be tested before they’re imported:

  • an EU-approved studbook
  • a national branch of an international body for sporting or competition purposes

Keeping equines before they are imported to Great Britain

Your exporter must keep unregistered equines:

  • on a holding in a country with equivalent health status as Great Britain for 40 days before they travel to Great Britain
  • separated from other equines that do not have equivalent health status, for at least 30 days before they travel to Great Britain

Registered equines do not have to be isolated or kept on a holding in a country with equivalent health status before they’re imported from the EU or Norway to Great Britain.

Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

You can move live animals and germinal products from Northern Ireland to Great Britain if they’re qualifying Northern Ireland goods.

If you need help

Contact APHA’s Animal Imports team if you’re not sure about anything in this guide.

Published 15 December 2021
Last updated 1 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Removed references to changes to import controls previously due to come into effect on 1 July 2022, as these have been postponed. The page will be updated in autumn 2022 with new dates for import controls.

  2. Updated the health certificates section to advise EU exporters should also use supplementary health certificates to create versions that exporters can apply for.

  3. Import controls on EU goods to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) planned from July will not be introduced in 2022. The controls that have already been introduced remain in place. This page will be updated in autumn 2022.

  4. First published.