Register cattle imported or moved into Great Britain

When you import or move cattle, bison or buffalo into Great Britain you must register them within certain deadlines unless they are going straight to slaughter.

If an animal imported or moved into Great Britain moves directly to a slaughterhouse, you don’t need to apply for a GB passport.

If this isn’t the case, you must send the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) an application for a cattle passport with the required supporting documentation.

If you do not apply in time with the right supporting documentation, BCMS will apply its late application procedure and you may not be able to get passports for your animals.

You should receive your passport within 14 days of BCMS receiving the application. If you don’t, you must tell BCMS.

Get passports for cattle imported or moved into Great Britain

You can only apply by post and not online or by phone. This is because you’ll need to send paper documents to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).

You must apply using form CPP16, ‘Animals moved into Great Britain: Application for Cattle Passports’. You can either:

The information you must send with the form will vary according to where the animal is imported from.

Cattle moved into Great Britain from within the EU

Within 15 days of the animal arriving at your holding, send these documents to BCMS:

  • completed form CPP16 or CPP16W
  • any original EU passport that came with the animal
  • an export health certificate

If you are moving the animal from Northern Ireland, the animal will arrive with a printout from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development database. You should send this instead of the original passport.

Republic of Ireland ear tag numbers

From 1 January 2018 all cattle born and registered in the Republic of Ireland must be identified by a new 3 digit country code (372) followed in the usual way by the 12 digit individual animal identifier. This international technical standards (ISO) country code replaces the previous 2 letter country code (IE).

Currently, Great Britain’s Cattle Tracing System (CTS) and Ear Tag Allocation System (ETAS) only accept a 2 letter country code. Therefore, when an animal born in the Republic of Ireland is brought into Great Britain and registered on CTS, the passport issued by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) will show IE as the country code (not 372). The 12 digit individual animal identifier will stay the same. This also applies to any replacement ear tags ordered in Great Britain on ETAS.

For traceability, country codes 372 and IE both relate to the Republic of Ireland and the animal will be accepted if the 12 digit animal identifier and passport details match.

Cattle imported from outside the EU

Within 20 days of the animal leaving the border inspection post or before it leaves the holding of destination, you must remove any original ear tags and replace them with approved UK ear tags.

Within 15 days from the date the animal must be tagged you must apply for a passport by sending BCMS the completed form CPP16 or CPP16W and health certificate.

Contact BCMS

British Cattle Movement Service

Curwen Road
Derwent Howe
CA14 2DD

Normal BCMS helpline opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm, closed weekends and bank holidays. All calls charged at local rate.

Published 6 May 2014
Last updated 5 February 2019 + show all updates
  1. BCMS email address updated on form CPP16.

  2. Change to format of Republic of Ireland ear tag numbers.

  3. Minor amendment to form CPP16

  4. Version 6 of the CPP16 added

  5. New version of application for cattle passports form (CPP16) published

  6. New version of Application for cattle passports form (CPP16) published

  7. First published.