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.

The UK has left the EU

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

You can also read about the transition period.

The process for notifying the UK authorities about imports will change from 1 January 2021.

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

Health certificates and other documentation currently used for imports will be accepted by the UK for 6 months from 1 January 2021. 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 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 border control port (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 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 products of animal origin and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin.

POAO transiting through the EU to the UK can only enter the UK through a UK BCP - it cannot enter Northern Ireland across the land border with Ireland. For more information, see the guidance from the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

You must also get your consignment checked at a UK BCP for POAO or high-risk food and feed not of animal origin.

Live animals and germplasm

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

  • full veterinary checks with favourable results at a recognised EU BCP
  • a valid CVED sent to HMRC UK

For live animals, you must also email a completed IV66 import notification form and copy of the valid EU CVED to Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) Centre of International Trade (CIT) at GBImports@apha.gov.uk at least 24 hours before arrival.

For commercial dogs, you must also email APHA CIT at GBImports@apha.gov.uk proof of the time and date of arrival, a completed IV66 import notification form, a copy of the valid EU CVED and a copy of the Export Health Certificate.

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 tradeadminport@daeri-ni.gov.uk as soon as they’re available.

If full veterinary checks in the EU have not been carried out, consignments must be checked at a UK BCP approved for the commodity you are importing. You must also pre-notify on IPAFFS.

Animal by-products not intended for human consumption (ABP)

For animal by-products that do not require veterinary checks at a BCP, there is no requirement to pre-notify a port of arrival of the consignment.

ABP subject to veterinary checks at a border control post may use any UK port if they have:

  • full veterinary checks with favourable results at a recognised UK BCP
  • a valid CVED sent to HMRC UK

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 tradeadminport@daeri-ni.gov.uk as soon as they’re available.

If full veterinary checks in the EU have not been carried out, consignments must be checked at a UK BCP approved for the commodity you are importing. You must also pre-notify using IPAFFS.

Import from an EU country

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

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 of certain imports.

IV66 is required for notification of:

If you did not need to notify on TRACES before 31 January 2020, you will not need to notify under IV66.

You must also follow the IV66 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 BCP

The process for EU imports is:

  1. UK importers must notify APHA of imports into the UK by submitting the IV66 form.(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-import-of-animals-and-products-notify-authorities)
  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).

Live animals and germplasm

If the live animals and germplasm are coming from the EU, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein, you must notify APHA or DAERA in Northern Ireland at least 24 hours in advance.

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

Importers must also notify APHA for:

  • equines 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 these do not need a health certificate or official documentation

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

Products of animal origin

Products of animal origin (POAO) arriving in the UK from the EU will not need to notify using IV66 unless the consignment is coming from an EU member state with disease outbreak safeguard measures in place.

Imports from the EU of POAO will not need to be accompanied by a health certificate, unless a health certificate was required on the commodity before 31 January 2020.

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

Food and feed

The process for importing feed and food from the EU to the UK won’t change from 1 January 2021. There will be no additional controls or checks - if you did not use TRACES, you will not need to use IPAFFS or IV66.

ABP not for human consumption

There will be no additional controls or checks for Category 3 ABP imports other than Category 3 processed animal protein (PAP) from the EU. If you did not use TRACES, you will not need to use IPAFFS or IV66.

Importers must notify APHA using the IV66 notification process for:

  • Category 1 and category 2 material (other than research and diagnostic samples)
  • Category 3 processed animal protein (PAP) travelling under a DOCOM (notify APHA when the consignment arrives)

However, once the UK is classed as a non-EU country, under EU law EU member states may be prohibited or restricted from exporting certain ABP to the UK:

  • ABP and derived products for incineration or landfill
  • Category 1 and Category 2 material
  • products derived from Category 1 and 2 material for purposes other than incineration or landfill

Importers should check which Category 1 and Category 2 material can be imported to the UK in Article 25(4) and Article 26 of Regulation (EU) No 142/2011.

Defra is not banning such imports and will update this guidance when the process is confirmed.

Transits via the UK from a non-EU country into the EU

Consignments from a non-EU country that pass through the UK on their way to the EU have several options.

Live animals, germplasm and ABP

For live animals, you should check with the EU that transit through the UK is allowed.

Consignments of live animals, germplasm and ABP subject to veterinary checks at a BCP that are imported into the EU from a non-EU country via the UK must enter and be checked at a designated UK BCP.

Once document, identity and physical checks (where applicable) are done by the entry BCP, the consignment can leave via any UK exit point to travel on to the EU. The consignment does not have to exit via a UK BCP. Live animals, ABP subject to veterinary checks at a BCP and germplasm will only be tested if non-compliance is suspected.

You must use IPAFFS to notify of transit consignments subject to veterinary checks. When completing Part 1 of the CVED, the exit BCP details selected should be the same as the entry BCP details - for example, if the consignment enters the UK at Heathrow Airport and leaves at Dover Port, then the entry and exit BCP details should both be Heathrow Airport.

You must submit a full Export Health Certificate to the UK BCP. All consignments must be accompanied by an EU Export Health Certificate and enter the EU at an EU BCP approved for the type of commodity, where appropriate checks will be carried out.

For ABP that’s not subject to veterinary checks at a BCP, there is no requirement to pre-notify a port of the arrival of the consignment.

POAO subject to full sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks

Consignments of POAO imported into the EU from a non-EU country via the UK must enter the UK at a designated UK BCP.

Once checks are performed by the UK BCP, the consignment can leave via any UK exit point to travel on to the EU.

You must use IPAFFS to notify of transit consignments subject to veterinary checks. When completing Part 1 of the CVED, the exit BCP details selected should be the same as the entry BCP details - for example, if the consignment enters the UK at Heathrow Airport and leaves at Dover Port, then the entry and exit BCP details should both be Heathrow Airport.

You must make sure a full Export Health Certificate (including both animal and public health attestations) is completed by the exporting non-EU country competent authority. This must travel with the consignment into the UK. You will also need a separate EU Export Health Certificate for export to the EU.

You should confirm with the UK entry BCP that the consignment will not exit via a BCP and that full veterinary checks on the consignment will be required. Your consignment may be subject to physical checks, random or targeted laboratory testing, and may be detained or delayed.

POAO treated as a UK transit

You can also follow the normal transit procedure for POAO entering and exiting via a UK BCP. This allows you to submit a UK Transit Health Certificate instead of a full UK Export Health Certificate.

All consignments need to be accompanied by an EU Export Health Certificate and enter the EU at an EU BCP approved for the type of commodity, where appropriate checks will be carried out.

Documents for transporters

Read the guidance on preparing to drive in the EU after 31 January 2020.

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 1 January 2021.

Trade agreements

Read the guidance on free trade agreements with non-EU countries from 1 January 2021.

Published 20 February 2019
Last updated 13 December 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated no-deal importing process and information.

  2. Added the process for importing from the EU into the UK.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Updated links to information about customs and transporting goods. Highlighted how to stay up to date with the latest guidance on preparing for Brexit.

  6. Updated information on the EU to UK notification process.

  7. Minimum notification period corrected from one working day to 24 hours

  8. Updated instructions on how to notify EU and non-EU imports

  9. Added information about new procedure for importing from the EU to the UK if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

  10. Updated to include information on trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

  11. First published.