Guidance

Importing animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin from 1 January 2021

What you need to do to import animals, animal products, high-risk food and feed into the UK from 1 January 2021.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

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

You can also read about the transition period.

Import from a non-EU country

You’ll no longer have access to the EU’s import system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) from 1 January 2021.

You’ll need to use the UK’s new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) for imports of:

  • live animals
  • POAO subject to veterinary checks
  • high-risk food and feed not of non-animal origin
  • germplasm (also called germinal products)
  • ABPs not intended for human consumption subject to veterinary checks

Health certificates and other documentation are being reviewed and further guidance will follow.

High-risk food or feed of non-animal origin

You must continue to import high-risk food or feed of non-animal origin into the UK through a border control post (BCP), previously called a border inspection post (BIP) or designated point of entry (DPE). Find out which BCP you should use.

Live animals, germplasm, POAOs and ABP

You must continue to import live animals, germplasm, POAOs and ABP that are subject to vet checks into the UK through a UK border control post (BCP). Find out which BCP you should use.

Importers should check if the CN code for their product is listed in Commission Implementing Regulation 2019/2007 to find out if the POAO or ABP must be vet checked at a BCP.

You must use IPAFFS to notify the UK BCP at least one working day before your consignment is due to arrive.

For imports of certain POAOs and ABP that do not require veterinary checks at a BCP, there is no requirement to pre-notify a port of the arrival of the consignment.

Import from an EU country

The UK has left the EU. There will be new processes that importers must follow. These processes will be introduced in 3 stages.

From 1 January 2021, the UK will operate a full, external border with the EU. This means that there will be controls on the movement of goods between England, Scotland and Wales and the EU .

You’ll need to use the UK’s Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) for imports of:

  • live animals
  • POAO subject to veterinary checks
  • high-risk food and feed not of non-animal origin
  • germplasm (also called germinal products)
  • ABPs not intended for human consumption subject to veterinary checks

Import from an EU country from 1 January 2021

There are new rules for importing animal products, live animals, ABPs and germinal products into England, Scotland and Wales from the EU from 1 January 2021.

Animal Products: POAO and ABPs

ABPs are in either high risk or low risk categories. Find out what products are in the different ABP categories.

You must use IPAFFS to pre-notify the arrival of high-risk ABPs.

Most ABPs will continue to be accompanied by commercial documentation when you import them from the EU. Contact the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) if you’re unsure whether you need a commercial document.

New import requirements for low-risk ABPs or POAO will not apply until 1 July 2021.

New import requirements for POAO will not apply until 1 April 2021.

Live animals and germinal products

From 1 January 2021 live animals, including equines and germinal products imported from the EU, will be subject to new import controls.

Goods must be:

  • accompanied by an Export Health Certificate (EHC)
  • pre-notified by the importer using IPAFFS

Import from an EU country from 1 April 2021

There are new rules for importing animal products, live animals and germinal products, and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin into England, Scotland and Wales from the EU from 1 April 2021.

Animal Products: POAO and ABPs

From 1 April 2021, POAO imports must be:

  • accompanied by an EHC so they can have remote documentary checks
  • pre-notified by the importer using IPAFFS

Import requirements for high-risk ABPs introduced on 1 January 2021 will continue to apply.

New import requirements for low-risk ABPs will not apply until 1 July 2021.

Live animals and germinal products

Import controls on live animals, including equines and germinal products, will remain unchanged from those introduced on 1 January 2021 until 1 July 2021.

High-risk food and feed not of animal origin

From 1 April 2021, anyone importing high-risk food and feed not of animal origin (HRFNAO) must use IPAFFS to submit import pre-notifications.

Import from an EU country from 1 July 2021

There are new rules for importing animal products, live animals and germinal products, and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin into England, Scotland and Wales from the EU from 1 July 2021.

Animal Products: POAO and ABPs

From 1 July 2021 POAO and ABPs must enter England, Scotland or Wales through a BCP.

Goods must be:

  • accompanied by an EHC so they can have remote documentary checks
  • pre-notified by the importer using IPAFFS
  • entered through a BCP so they’re available for documentary, identity and physical checks

Live animals and germinal products

From 1 July 2021, new import requirements will apply to live animals, including equines and germinal products from the EU.

Goods must be:

  • accompanied by an EHC so they can have documentary checks
  • pre-notified by the importer using IPAFFS
  • entered through a BCP so they’re available for documentary, identity and physical checks

High-risk food and feed not of animal origin

From 1 July 2021, anyone importing high-risk food and feed not of animal origin must:

  • submit import pre-notifications at least one working day in advance of the goods’ arrival
  • enter them through a BCP so they can have documentary checks, and if necessary identity and physical checks

Find a full list of UK BCPs.

New rules for importing fish and CITES-listed goods will be published in this guide before 2021.

Published 10 June 2020
Last updated 27 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Reverted changes announced today (26 August 2020) - you will not have to use IPAFFS from 7 September and can continue using TRACES.

  2. Added statement that "New import requirements for POAO will not apply until 1 April 2021."

  3. New sections on importing from an EU country added, including the rules from 1 January 2021, 1 April 2021 and 1 July 2021.

  4. First published.