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For Equine Vets Everywhere

MOVEMENT OF EQUINES BETWEEN THE UK AND THE EU AFTER BREXIT

This page will be updated with relevant guidance from GOV.UK when it is made available, for to most up to date information on exporting equines from 1 January 2021 please click here.

The following update was added on 8 January 2021

Ensure correct paperwork for live animal and animal product health checks at the EU border

Traders must ensure that UK hauliers have the correct paperwork to comply with new animal and animal product checks at the EU border. Traders should take the following steps to obtain the necessary paperwork before exporting goods to EU member states.


Check if you need an Export Health Certificate

Exports of live animals and products of animal origin to the EU require an Export Health Certificate (EHC) signed by an Official Vet (OV) or Food Competent Certifying Officer (FCCO). The original signed EHC must travel with the consignment. 


You can check which EHC you need via Defra’s Form Finder and apply online. Full guidance on the EHC process is available on gov.uk. You should ensure that you have found an OV or FCCO who can certify your consignment before you start the application process.


If you cannot find an EHC, you’ll need to contact the competent authority in the EU country you’re exporting to, in advance, to find out what paperwork you’ll need. If the competent authority says that you need an EHC, you’ll need to get their import conditions. Email the conditions to APHA at exports@apha.gov.uk who’ll arrange an EHC for you.


Find the correct Border Control Post for your goods

You must get your animals and animal products checked at an EU BCP. There are more than 400 BCPs in the EU and they’re usually at EU ports and airports. The most frequently used are:

• Belgium BCPs

• France BCPs

• Germany BCPs

• Netherlands BCPs

• Portugal BCPs

• Spain BCPs

You can check the full list of EU BCPs.


Your goods may be refused entry, seized, destroyed or returned to GB if they arrive at:

• a port in the EU without a BCP or where checks cannot be carried out

• an EU BCP that cannot check your type of animal

• an EU BCP without the correct documentation


Give advance notice to the EU Border Control Post (pre-notification)

You’ll need to give EU BCPs advance notice of goods arriving (pre-notify). Check with the BCP you’re planning to use for how much notice is 

needed.


Contact your import agent in the EU to make sure they notify the BCP through the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) of the arrival of the consignment. They must do this within the time limits set out by the BCP or point of entry.


Comply with new customs requirements

Comply with wider HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU, follow HMRC guidance for moving goods from GB and follow rules on identifying animals, if you want to export them to the EU.


Useful resources

Trader webinars:

View webinars for exporters of animals and products of animal origin to the EU. Follow the links below for:

• Export Health Certificate (EHC) and the online service

• Products of Animal Origin

• Live animals or livestock

• Equines

• Composite food products


EU guidance:

• Guidance: Sanitary and phytosanitary controls on goods imported from the UK into EU entering via France - French Ministry for Agriculture and Food


Defra Helplines:

• Select the most appropriate Helpline for the commodity you are exporting to the EU here.

 

The following update was added on 26 November 2020

Update 19th Nov 20

Racing Industry Guidance

Current BHA/TBA/Weatherbys Guidance here

TB Movement Timelines here

Sport Horse Guidance

Current Sport horse guidance here

BEF Infographic here

Govt Guidance on Importing Horses from 1st Jan 2021

To move horses and other equines from the EU to GB from 1 January 2021, you’ll need to:

  • submit a pre-import notification via the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS)
  • check if the equine you’re importing requires blood testing
  • meet isolation and residency requirements
  • ensure your exporter has an equine health certificate
  • check if the exporter has the correct equine identification (ID)
  • know GB border rules
  • follow the regulations for transporting equines from the EU to GB or NI via GB
  • make customs declarations
  • check other import requirements

full details here

Govt Guidance on Moving Horses from GB to EU from 1st Jan 2021

To move horses and other equines from GB to the EU from 1 January 2021, you’ll need to contact:

  • your official vet to book an appointment so you can get blood tests taken in time
  • an agent or transporter and tell them when you plan to travel - you may need more time to plan travel through an EU border control post (BCP)

You’ll also need to:

Full details here


The following update was added on 29 October 2020

IPAFFS – Live animals and animal products 

At the end of the transition period imports into GB of live animals, animal products and high risk food and feed will be notified via our new national system IPAFFS (Imports of Products, Animals Food and Feed System).

To enable a smooth transition from TRACES, Defra will phasing in IPAFFS before the end of the year as follows:
- All notifications to GB from non-EU/non-EEA countries which are currently made in TRACES NT on a CHED-A must be made in IPAFFS from 23 November 2020.
- Notifications to GB from non-EU/non-EEA countries made on a CVED-P or a CHED-D notifications should remain in Traces until 7 December after which they should be in IPAFFS.

Note: Imports into Northern Ireland will continue on TRACES NT after the transition period ends.

What you need to do now

If you haven’t already, register for IPAFFS now. 
Please note: You only need to register for IPAFFS if your current function is to create notifications on TRACES, acting as the person responsible for the load.

If you are already registered for IPAFFS, please check that you have your Government Gateway ID and password. If you have forgotten these, or your memorable word, contact the APHA Service Desk on 03300 416 999 or email APHAServiceDesk@apha.gov.uk.

What you need to do from 23 November

Use IPAFFS for imports of live animals arriving to GB on or after 23 November 2020.

The technical switch from TRACES New Technology (NT) to IPAFFS will be made at 6am on Monday 23 November 2020. There may be delays to consignments being processed from 6am for approximately 30mins, as we make the switch from TRACES NT to IPAFFS.

Consignment’s arriving before 6am on 23 November should be notified on TRACES NT but  consignments that arrive after 6am should be notified on IPAFFS.

Any consignments arriving after 6am but notified on Traces NT or those that have not been cleared by 6am will require manual clearance via the National Clearance Hub.

Access is available to the IPAFFS Training Environment to help prepare for the change.  You will need a Government Gateway account specifically to access this.  

Note: You will need to create a separate Government Gateway account to the one you use for your live IPAFFS account.

Training videos are being refreshed and will be available shortly.

The following update was added on 16 October 2020

With three months remaining until the end of the Transition Period, Defra has provided an overview on the process for moving equines between GB and the EU. Read the full summary here.


The following update was added on 14 October 2020:

Returned horses and other equines rejected from an EU border control post from 1 July 2021

From 1 July 2021, returned horses and other equines must enter Great Britain at an appropriately designated BCP for checks on entry. You must notify on IPAFFS and present the relevant documents to the BCP. Follow guidance on returned goods processes for animal products and live animals

Moving horses to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland 

From 1 January 2021, if you want to move horses from the UK to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland you should consult your transporter or the competent authority in the country you’re exporting to.


The following update was added on Monday 28 September 2020:

Preparations required before moving horses and other equines from Great Britain (GB) to the EU under third country rules from 1 January 2021, in the absence of a Free Trade Agreement with the EU before 31 December.

You may already be familiar with these arrangements as they are detailed on GOV.UK.

3rd Country Listing

All international equine movements from 1 January 2021 will be dependent on the UK obtaining “third country listing” from the EU. Unless this is granted, no horses will be able to move from GB to the EU or Northern Ireland. It expected, but not guaranteed, that third country listing will be obtained before 31st December 2020.

Registered vs Unregistered

In order to be considered registered, an equine will need to have its studbook approved by the EU (unless it is registered by an international sporting organisation like the FEI Federation Equestre Internationale). If the studbook has not been approved, the equine will be considered unregistered (and will have to follow the relevant requirements for this category).

PLEASE NOTE: Weatherbys and other UK studbooks are NOT currently approved

The UK has applied to the EU for studbook listing but, currently, Defra does not expect this to be granted by 31 December. Until and unless this changes, any plans should be made on the basis that horses (other than those registered with the FEI) will be considered unregistered.

From 1 January 2021:

Any unregistered horse, other equine or one that is being exported permanently from GB to EU or Northern Ireland, is required to be in GB (or another country with a similar or enhanced health status, including any EU state) for 90 days prior to export.

Therefore, if an owner is planning to move a horse in these circumstances, on or shortly after 1 January, the owner should now be ensuring that he/she is able to provide the required evidence to allow the Official Vet to sign off the Export Health Certificate to confirm the residency period has been met.

In addition, owners/vets should be prepared to meet the requirements in relation to blood testing and isolation (summarised below):

 

Unregistered Temporary

Unregistered Permanent

Blood testing

  • Equine Infectious anaemia within 90 days of travel
  • Equine viral arteritis - within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet vaccination requirements
  • Equine infectious anaemia - within 30 days of travel
  • Equine viral arteritis - within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet vaccination requirements

Residency

90 days

90 days

Isolation

30 days

30 days

If an owner is planning to move a registered horse or other registered equine to the EU or Northern Ireland, temporarily after 1 January, the required residency period is shorter at 40 days. In this situation, whilst the oner/vet will also have to meet the relevant blood testing requirements, but the equine will not require isolation.

 

Registered Temporary

Registered Permanent

Blood testing

  • Equine Infectious anaemia within 90 days of travel
  • Equine viral arteritis - within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet vaccination requirements
  • Equine infectious anaemia - within 30 days of travel
  • Equine viral arteritis - within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet vaccination requirements

Residency

40 days

90 days

Isolation

N/A

30 days

The following processes will also need to be followed in all cases:

  • Equines travelling from GB to the EU, will need both an ID document (equine passport) and Export Health Certificate (provided by APHA and needing to be signed off by an approved vet).
  • Unregistered equines will also need a Supplementary Travel ID (again provided by APHA and signed off by an approved vet).
  • The vet will need to certify that the equine has met the necessary pre-export residency and isolation requirements and been blood tested to prove the absence of particular notifiable diseases.
  • The equine will have to enter the EU through a relevant Border Control Post.  A list of those able to take equines will be provided in due course.

Paperwork will need to be completed via the EHCO system and an official vet.

See further guidance and other information on GOV.UK.


The following update was added 28 January 2020:

Please see below updated information from the APHA and Defra on the movement of equines. This was sent to all relevant OV's on 28 January 2020.

The Government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill has now been agreed by Parliament and received Royal Assent, so we will now enter a transition period until 31st December 2020. 

During the transition period, you should continue to move equines in the same way as you do now (using all the current processes and systems in place) until the end of 2020 – there are no immediate changes to the process.
 
The arrangements after that date will depend on the outcome of our negotiations with the EU which will take place in the interim.  
 
All of the relevant guidance will be available on GOV.UK throughout, and we will continue to engage with you at regular intervals to keep you informed of what you need to know and the actions that you will need to take. We are extremely grateful for your engagement so far.


The following was added on 18 February 2019:

Please see below a DEFRA communication highlighting how international equine movements will be affected after Brexit. This note was sent to all relevant OV's on the 18 February 2019. 

The headline points are:

  • If the UK reaches a deal with the EU, then there will no changes to the process for the movement of equines during any agreed implementation period.
  • If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the requirements (after 29 March 2019) will depend firstly on whether the EU lists the UK as a third country and secondly on the health status category the EU gives the UK. 
  • The EU has not yet decided on third country or health status and may keep us waiting.
  • Defra will be releasing guidance for owners later this week.  You might therefore receive a barrage of questions – hence Defra has allowed us to circulate this note to provide BEVA members with background information.

INFORMATION NOTE – Please read the information below carefully

Movement of equines between the UK and the EU after Brexit

This is an update to equine veterinarians on what changes may apply to the process for certifying equines for movement from the UK to the EU after the 29 March 2019 in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.   

Summary

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the requirements for after 29 March 2019 are dependent on:

  • if the EU lists the UK as a third country for the export of equines
  • the sanitary group (health status category) the EU gives the UK

If the EU does not list the UK as a third country, there will be no movement of equines to the EU.

If the UK is listed, to export equines, owners will need:

What will change?

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the UK will become a third country on 30 March 2019. 

For the purposes of equine movement the EU has a number of different sanitary groups which third countries are assigned to. The group the UK is placed in will depend on the outcome of an application to the EU Commission made by the UK, currently under review. The Commission has outlined its intention to provide listing for the UK swiftly, but should no listing be secured equines will be unable to move from the UK to the EU.

Currently equines can be moved to the EU either;

  • under the Tripartite Agreement (TPA). Under this arrangement, eligible equines travelling to France require a commercial document (DOCOM) and  equines travelling to Ireland do not require any form of animal health certificate.

Or

  • with an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) for all other equine movements not made under the TPA,

Under a no deal scenario, equines will require the same animal health documentation and the same level of health checks prior to travel, regardless of which EU country they are travelling to.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal;

  • The UK will no longer be a party to the Tripartite Agreement so all movements currently made under the TPA will be subject to the same requirements as all other equines from 30 March
  • All equines will need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) in order to travel for each journey made from the UK to the EU. The EHC will replace the ITAHC and DOCOM
  • All unregistered equines will need a new UK Government issued ID document in order to travel. Equines registered on a recognised studbook or pedigree register or with an international organisation for racing and competition will be able to use current ID documents to travel. Current equine passports will continue to be required as now for domestic identification purposes and will need to accompany a Government issued ID during travel for relevant equines.
  • All equines entering the EU will need to do so via a Border Inspection Post (BIP)
  • All equines will be required to undergo relevant blood tests within 30 days or less of travel to prove the absence of certain diseases.

If the UK reaches a deal with the EU, then there will no changes to the process for the movement of equines during any agreed implementation period.

Sanitary grouping and testing for disease

The type and number of blood tests that will be required will depend on what sanitary group the UK is placed in by the EU.  

Until the UK’s listed status is confirmed owners should consider preparing for each of the most likely sanitary groups as set out below to make sure their equine will be able to travel. 

Before an equine can be certified for travel and be issued an EHC by an OV, equines will need to be tested for the absence of certain diseases.

Below are the blood test requirements for sanitary groups A and B. In the unlikely event that the UK is listed in a sanitary group other than A or B, it is unlikely that any further blood tests would be required, due to the absence of relevant diseases from the UK. In this scenario we will issue further guidance if needed.

If the UK is put in sanitary group A, equines will need to be tested for:

  • equine infectious anaemia within 30 days of travel for permanent moves
  • equine infectious anaemia within 90 days of travel for temporary moves (moves of under 90 days of equines registered on a studbook, pedigree register or with an international body for sporting and competition purposes)

In the event that equine viral arteritis is detected in the UK within 6 months of the equines intended date of departure:

  • equine viral arteritis within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet other specific vaccine or testing requirements specified in the Model Health Certificate. These can be found in EU Commission Implementing Regulation 2018/659.

If the UK is put in Sanitary Group B, equines will also need blood tests for:

  • glanders within 30 days before travel
  • dourine within 30 days before travel for an uncastrated male or a female if they are older than 270 days

Sampling can be carried out by any qualified veterinarian. Blood samples must be sent to the APHA laboratory in Weybridge for analysis.

Residency requirements

If the UK is put in sanitary group A or B, owners will need to ensure that equines meet certain residency and isolation requirements, depending on the type of move they are undertaking.

To export a registered horse for under 90 days, it will need to have been resident on a UK holding under veterinary supervision, in a country with a similar health status or in an EU member state for 40 days prior to export.

For permanent exports, equines must be resident on a UK holding under veterinary supervision, or in a country with a similar health status:

  • for 90 days
  • since birth if the animal is less than 90 days old
  • since entry to the UK if the animal was imported directly from the EU fewer than 90 days before export

Equines being exported permanently must also meet isolation requirements. They should be kept separate from other equines not of the equivalent health status for 30 days prior to export. If the UK is put in sanitary group B, this isolation must take place under veterinary supervision.

In the unlikely event that the UK is put in a sanitary group other than A or B different residency and isolation requirements may apply. In this scenario we will issue further guidance if needed.

An official vet with the appropriate authorisation must confirm these requirements have been met before export.

Veterinary supervision

OVs will need to be assured by owners’ records that equines meet the relevant residency and isolation requirements. Depending upon the UK’s sanitary grouping, they may also need to see evidence that either the holding or the equine has been under veterinary supervision during the relevant time period of residence/isolation.

Owners may therefore look to contact their vets ahead of export to ensure that their equine is registered with a vet and to alert a vet to their plans to export and steps taken to isolate an equine in preparation.

We do not anticipate owners requiring regular veterinary visits during a period of pre-export residency or isolation for EU exports, as is required for equine exports to some other countries currently.

Certifying equines for movement – Export Health Certificates and Government issued ID

The EHC will replace the Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) for exports to EU countries.

Before an EHC can be issued by an OV, equines will need to have been tested and found free of certain diseases (see above).

Steps for owners to get an EHC and Government issued ID:

  1. Owner will be able to find the EHC and other forms needed on the export health certificate form finder. If exporting from Northern Ireland, owners should contact their local DAERA office. Most EHCs also have guidance documents explaining how to fill out the certificate. If the equine is not registered on a recognised studbook, pedigree register or with an international body for sporting and competition purposes, the owner will also be able to apply for a Government issued ID document at this point in the process via the form finder.
  2. Owner nominates an official vet to inspect the horse or other equine. There are various ways owners will be able to find an official vet:
  3. Owner fills in the EHC and supporting forms and emails them to the APHA address on the forms.
  4. APHA will send the EHC and if relevant the Government issued ID document to the nominated official vet within 7 working days, or within one working day if planning to export in the next 7 working days. They will provide copies of the EHC in the languages of the destination country and the country where the horse or other equine first enters the EU.
  5. Owner arranges for the official vet to check that the horse or other equine meets the health requirements of the destination country within 24 hours of travel. The official vet will complete and sign the EHC and send a copy to APHA.  If relevant, they will also complete, stamp, sign and date the Government Issued ID. Official vet will then email a copies of the relevant documents to APHA.
  6. Owner keeps the completed EHC and other documents with the animal during travel

There will be no fee for the Export Health Certificate or Government issued ID.

If you’re in Northern Ireland, contact DAERA for specific advice.

When will equine owners need to take action to prepare?

Equine owners will be advised to consult veterinarians at least six weeks ahead of when they intend to move their equine to allow for any additional blood tests and to make appointments with a vet.

Defra will begin to issue advice to equine owners from mid-February to allow time for preparations in the event of a no deal exit.

We advise checking gov.uk regularly for the latest information 

Imports

In the event of a ‘no deal’, the Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) used to import live animals and germinal products directly from the EU will be replaced with the UK Health Certificate.

The importer will be responsible for ensuring APHA receives a complete and valid UK Health Certificate for these consignments. In order to do so, importers must notify APHA of intended arrival of a consignment who will provide the importer with a Unique Notification Number (UNN). The UNN should be given to the EU Official Veterinarian who enters the UNN on the UK Health Certificate. The UK Health Certificate should be sent to APHA and a paper copy should travel with the consignment. There will continue to be no border checks for live animals and germinal products imported directly from the EU. 

For horses which currently enter the UK from France using a DOCOM, or travel from Ireland without any animal health documentation, there will be no immediate change to the current entry documentation in the event of a no deal. Importers will, however, need to notify APHA of the arrival of a future consignment.

Customs

Importers will also need to comply with UK customs procedures. In some cases importers may want to register for simplified import procedures. Information from HMRC on customs procedures in the event of a no deal exit from the EU are available here.  

Owners regularly moving the same equine between the UK and EU may wish to consider applying for an ATA Carnet to further streamline customs procedures. More information is available here.

Will Official Vets need any additional training?

Official Veterinarians who are currently certified to carry out the current checks for equine travel won’t need to undertake any additional qualifications.

After 29 March 2019, vets who wish to qualify as an Official Veterinarian for equine travel, would be required to undertake training modules in the same way as now. From 29 March 2019, the training modules for OVs will cover information on any new processes.

If you have any questions regarding any of the information above please contact: EquineExportsCarlisle@apha.gov.uk

Yours faithfully,

Pamela Thompson

Deputy Director, Biosecurity and Food Projects 

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