Guidance

Importing animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin if there’s a no-deal Brexit

What you need to do to import animals, animal products, high-risk food and feed into the UK after a no-deal Brexit.

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The process for notifying the UK authorities about imports will change after Brexit.

Import from a non-EU country

You’ll no longer have access to the EU’s import system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

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

  • live animals
  • products of animal origin (POAO) subject to veterinary checks
  • high-risk food and feed not of non-animal origin
  • germplasm
  • animal byproducts (ABP) subject to veterinary checks

Health certificates and other documentation currently used for imports will be accepted by the UK for 6 months after Brexit. You’ll then need to use a new UK health certificate.

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 designated point of entry (DPE). Find out which DPE you should use.

Live animals, germplasm, POAOs and ABP

You must continue to import live animals, germplasm, POAOs and ABP into the UK through a UK border inspection post (BIP). Find out which BIP you should use.

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

Import from a non-EU country via the EU

The process for transit consignments coming to the UK via the EU depends on what you’re importing.

POAO and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin

You must use IPAFFS for imports of animal origin and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin. You must also get your consignment checked at a UK BIP or DPE.

Live animals, germplasm and ABP

Live animals, germplasm and animal byproducts can use any UK port if they have:

  • full veterinary checks at a recognised EU BIP
  • a valid CVED sent to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)

If full veterinary checks have not been carried out, consignments must be checked at a UK BIP and use IPAFFS. You will not be able to use IPAFFS for transit consignments that do not enter the UK through a UK BIP and should follow the EU imports process.

For imports to Northern Ireland, email scanned copies of the CVED and health certificates to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) at tradeadminpost@daera-ni.gov.uk as soon as they’re available.

Import from an EU country

You’ll no longer have access to the EU’s import system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

Initially the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) will not be used to notify of EU imports and you must use the IV66 form to notify UK authorities.

You must also follow this process if you’re importing to the UK from:

  • the crown dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man)
  • Switzerland, Norway or Liechtenstein
  • Iceland, except for live animal imports, which still need to be notified on IPAFFS and enter via a BIP

You must notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland at least 24 hours in advance for live animals and germplasm coming from the EU, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

APHA only needs to be notified of germplasm from Iceland - live animal imports from Iceland will need to be notified on IPAFFS.

Importers must continue to notify APHA for:

  • equines and certain ABP consignments travelling under a DOCOM (notify APHA when the consignment arrives)
  • live animals that have to be notified under Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations (TARP) (for example, insects, reptiles and amphibians) but do not need a health certificate or official documentation

Imports from the EU will not need to be accompanied by a health certificate, unless a health certificate was required on the commodity before Brexit.

Check the import information notes on the APHA vet gateway if you’re not sure what documents you need.

The process for EU imports is:

  1. UK importers must notify APHA of imports into the UK by submitting the IV66 form.
  2. APHA provides the importer a Unique Notification Number (UNN).
  3. Importers give the EU exporter/Official Veterinarian (OV) the UNN - this must be added to the commercial documentation or health certificate (if one is required).
  4. The UK importer is responsible for providing APHA with the completed health certificate (if one is required), which will be manually matched to the notification they previously raised.
  5. Once received, APHA will undertake all checks required on the health certificate.
  6. Where appropriate, APHA will undertake a risk-based post-import check (as happens currently).

Importing food and feed

The process for importing feed and food from the EU to the UK won’t change after Brexit.

There will be no additional controls or checks. You will not need to use IPAFFS.

Importing ABP not for human consumption

There will be no additional controls or checks for category 3 ABP imports from the EU after Brexit.

You may not be permitted to import category 1 and 2 ABP from the EU after Brexit. Defra will update this guidance when the process is confirmed.

Documents for transporters

Read the guidance on preparing to drive in the EU after Brexit.

If you’re a UK transporter transporting live animals in the EU, you’ll need to appoint a representative in an EU country. You’ll also need to apply to the relevant government department to get a:

  • transporter authorisation
  • certificate of competence
  • vehicle approval certificate
  • journey log (where necessary)

Other import requirements

You will have to apply customs, excise and VAT procedures to goods traded with the EU. You must:

Read how to get your business ready to import after Brexit.

Trade agreements

Read the guidance on free trade agreements with non-EU countries if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

Published 20 February 2019
Last updated 30 September 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added the process for importing from the EU into the UK.
  2. Added in the process for importing from non-EU and EU countries (as well as transiting through the EU), where confirmed. Defra will publish further information about this process in early October.
  3. No actions have changed, but the page has been reworded page to focus on the actions you must take to prepare for importing after Brexit.
  4. Updated links to information about customs and transporting goods. Highlighted how to stay up to date with the latest guidance on preparing for Brexit.
  5. Updated information on the EU to UK notification process.
  6. Minimum notification period corrected from one working day to 24 hours
  7. Updated instructions on how to notify EU and non-EU imports
  8. Added information about new procedure for importing from the EU to the UK if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
  9. Updated to include information on trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
  10. First published.