Prepare your veterinary business for Brexit

What you need to do as a veterinarian to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Stay up to date

The UK will leave the EU on 31 October. This page tells you how to prepare for Brexit. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.

Sign up for government-wide email alerts about Brexit.

Sign up for Defra alerts about Brexit and the veterinary sector.

Importing and exporting

There are some actions you’ll need to take if you certify animals, germplasm or animal products for import or export between the UK and EU.

Exporting animals, germplasm, animal products, fish and fishery products

If you’re a private or an official veterinarian (OV), you’ll need to be aware of changes in the way animals, animal products, fish, shellfish, crustaceans and fishery products are moved to the EU.

Exporters will need to apply for an export health certificate (EHC) in advance of moving consignments to the EU. If you’re an OV, you’ll need to authorise the EHC following an inspection of the consignment.

Read the guidance on exporting animals, animal products, fish and fishery products if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Exporting equines

For equine owners, you may also need to supply the correct identification documents for their equine in addition to an EHC for each journey.

If the UK becomes a listed non-EU (third) country, you’ll need to carry out additional blood tests to prove the equine is free of certain diseases. The equine owner will need to contact you at least 6 weeks before travelling to allow time for these additional checks. These tests will only be valid if completed within a specific time period before travel.

Read the guidance on export horses and ponies: special rules.

EHC training

These changes are likely to increase the demand for EHC applications. To help OVs with this increase, a Certification Support Officer (CSO) role has been created and training is now available in England, Scotland and Wales. You can register for the training on the Improve International website.

New import notification system

There will be no additional checks at the UK borders on animal imports that originated in the EU if there is a no deal. However, the way animal and animal products importers tell the UK authorities of these imports will change.

They’ll no longer use the EU’s import system Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) for importing into the UK. The new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) system will replace this.

Read the guidance on importing animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Changes to pet travel

The rules for taking pets to any EU country will change.

If you’re a private vet or an OV, you’ll need to advise pet owners on what steps they can take to prepare for all scenarios.

Pet owners will need to contact you at least 4 months in advance of travelling to allow time for additional health preparations.

Read the guidance on Pet Travel to Europe after Brexit.

You can find the latest advice for OVs on the APHA Vet Gateway.

Veterinary medicines

The new UK veterinary medicine regulation will make sure you continue to have access to safe and effective veterinary medicines.

All registered veterinary medicines in the UK will continue to be registered after Brexit.

For veterinarians, there will be changes to the following processes:

Visit the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)’s EU Exit hub for detailed guidance on what’s changing.

Your employees

There are certain schemes and processes you should be aware of if you employ people.

Find out more in Employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members after Brexit

Veterinary qualifications

If you’re an EU and EEA national currently registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), you’ll continue to have your registration recognised.

RCVS will make sure all veterinary qualifications meet their required equivalent standards. This will apply to all new registrants after Brexit.

The majority of EU/EEA vet degrees already meet these standards. You can contact the RCVS to check if your degree is recognised.

Published 7 March 2019
Last updated 24 June 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updates to the 'Your employees' section
  2. First published.