20 Jan 2021

DEFRA Brexit Transition Update - January 2021

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

New legislation is issued by the devolved Governments of Scotland and Wales as well as Defra.

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. 

Animals exported to N Ireland need to have GB ear tags rather than UK.

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:

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:

EU guidance

Defra Helplines

19 January 2021