Guidance

Importing live animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin from non-EU countries to Great Britain

Where you can import from, the documents you need, and the border checks your import must pass at border control posts.

You should follow different rules for personal imports of animals and animal products into the UK.

You should check the current topical issues like diseases for your import.

You need to use the 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 animal origin (HRFNAO)
  • germplasm (also called germinal products)
  • animal by-products not intended for human consumption subject to veterinary checks

Documents you need

Health certificates must accompany live animals, including equines, animal products and HRFNAO imported to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

In some cases, you will also need:

  • an import licence or authorisation
  • a commercial document
  • to meet some other legal requirements, like those controlling the trade in endangered species

HRFNAO

You must import HRFNAO into Great Britain through a border control post (BCP).

Find out which BCP you should use.

Importers should check if their product must be vet checked at a BCP by looking for the CN code for their product in:

Live animals, germplasm, POAO and animal by-products

You must import live animals, germinal products, POAO and animal by-products into Great Britain through a UK border control post. Find out which BCP you should use.

Importers should check if the CN code for their product is listed in Regulation 2019/2007 to find out if the POAO or animal by-products must be checked at a BCP.

You must use IPAFFS to notify the Great Britain BCP at least one working day before your consignment is due to arrive.

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

Health and identity requirements for equines imported or moved to Great Britain via the EU, Norway or Northern Ireland.

From 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2022, equines imported or moved to Great Britain from a country other than an EU Member State, Norway or Northern Ireland, via the EU, Norway or Northern Ireland, do not need to enter Great Britain via a BCP if:

  • they have a health certificate
  • you have submitted a notification through IPAFFS
  • the exporter can prove their equine passed an animal health inspection at a recognised EU BCP – they need to either upload the Common Health Entry Document (CHED) to IPAFFS or email a copy of the CHED to the Centre for International Trade – Carlisle (CITC)

If you cannot prove that the equines you’re importing have passed an animal health inspection at an EU BCP, they must enter Great Britain at a recognised BCP. The BCP needs to have the facilities to carry out identity and physical checks for equines.

An APHA veterinary office will inspect an equine and relevant documentation again if APHA:

  • decide the equine requires another animal health inspection
  • suspect any non-compliance

Check if you need a licence

Some animals and animal products must have an import licence to be imported into Great Britain. Check the list of general licences to see if the licence you need exists.

You must follow the conditions in the licence and check your licence to see if it must also travel with the consignment.

If the general licence you need does not exist, you must either:

  • complete form RM01 to apply for a specific licence for animals (excluding pet dogs, cats or ferrets)
  • complete form IV58 to apply for a specific licence for animal pathogens and products

Where you can import from

You can only bring live animals or animal products into Great Britain from countries on the EU’s approved list. Contact the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle to find out if the country you’re importing from is on the list.

Some animal products must also come from businesses that are approved to export to the EU. Check the list of businesses in non-EU countries approved to export to Great Britain.

Getting imports checked at a BCP

Most consignments of animals and animal products imported from non-EU countries must be checked at a BCP. Contact the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle to find out if your consignment must be checked.

Finding the right BCP

Find a UK BCP that’s approved to check the animals or animal products in your shipment.

Fees

You must pay a fee to have your consignment checked at a BCP. See the BCP fees table or contact the BCP you plan to use for information on the fee you’ll be charged.

Notify the BCP before the consignment arrives

Use IPAFFS to notify the BCP of imports.

If you do not notify the BCP before you import a consignment, you may be charged an additional fee or your checks could take longer.

You must complete part 1 of the Common Health Entry Document (CHED) on IPAFFS and submit this to the BCP of entry one working day before your consignment is due to arrive.

You must make sure the original health certificate travels with the consignment.

When your consignment arrives

When your consignment arrives, port operators may charge you to move it to the BCP.

Official veterinarians or inspectors at the BCP will then check the consignment. This may include a physical check.

The result of the check will be recorded on IPAFFS and officials will give you a completed and validated CHED.

Leaving the BCP

You must not remove your consignment from the BCP or customs clearance area until official inspectors have completed and validated the CHED.

After your consignment leaves the BCP, you must:

  • make sure your consignment goes directly to the destination named on the CHED
  • make sure the original CHED goes with your consignment to its final destination
  • comply with any movement restrictions associated with your import

Transiting live animals through Great Britain

Read guidance about moving food containing animal products from one third country to another third country and transiting Great Britain, known as ‘landbridge’ movements.

Animal welfare when importing live animals

You must make sure you meet animal welfare standards when transporting live animals.

Endangered species

You need to check if your import is on the list of endangered species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). If your import is on the CITES list, you may need to apply for a CITES permit before importing.

Display, laboratory and research animals

You need to follow different rules, known as the Balai Directive, if you’re importing display, laboratory and research animals, including those used in conservation or education programmes.

Contact APHA for help

Contact the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle for help.

Published 12 September 2014
Last updated 14 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated with new dates for the introduction of controls on equines imported or moved to Great Britain from a country other than an EU Member State, Norway or Northern Ireland, via the EU, Norway or Northern Ireland.

  2. Updated with new dates for when equines do not need to enter Great Britain through a Border Control Post (BCP) provided they meet certain health and identity requirements.

  3. Content added on health and identity requirements for equines.

  4. Updated with guidance on how to comply with rules from 1 January 2021.

  5. Updated to explain that importers should use IPAFFS instead of TRACES to notify BCPs of live animal imports.

  6. Changed new import system users will need from TRACES to IPAFFS.

  7. Explained new processes for Live animal notifications and Animal products notifications.

  8. Highlighted the link to guidance about how importers should prepare for Brexit.

  9. Updated to include link to EU Exit guidance

  10. Replaced the link to UK border inspection posts on the EU website with a link to UK border inspection posts on GOV.UK in the section Finding the right Border Inspection Post.

  11. BIP fees updated

  12. Updated contact details links to the European Commission.

  13. Change of address for Centre for International Trade Carlisle.

  14. General review and update to clarify guidance in some sections including commercial imports, notifying the BIP

  15. Added a link to the form to request updates on changes to rules on imports of animals and animal products.

  16. Updated guidance under the general licences heading.

  17. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  18. First published.