Updated 21 August 2021
Here is the latest guidance for moving equines between Great Britain and the EU. We will update this page with further information as new information is published. Please note that the EU Animal Health Law which came in to force on 21 April does not change any of the requirements below.
UPDATE: Shippers are currently experiencing challenges with export documentation, in addition to there being significant delays at EU ports on arrival. Please be aware and allow plenty of time to plan your journey, and engage a shipper early so that they can help you throughout the entire process. Please also be prepared to see an increase in fees as a result of the increased documentation required and time taken to process this.
The UK has now left the EU with an agreed trade deal and third country status. This means that if you are planning on exporting a horse to the EU and Northern Ireland, you will need to...
Further details are available here.
UK Transporter Authorisations, driver and attendant Certificates of Competence and Vehicle Approval Certificates issued in the UK are not recognised by the EU. Any commercial transporter wishing to transport live animals into the EU will need to obtain new transport documentation issued by one of the EU27 Member States.
UK transporters wishing to transport live animals in the EU will need to appoint a representative within an EU country and apply to their relevant government department to obtain a valid Transporter Authorisation, Certificate of Competence and Vehicle Approval Certificate. The details of the process to enable this to happen are currently under negotiation, with active envolvement from British Equestrian, the British Horseracing Authority, the Thoroughbred Breeder's Association and the British Horse Council. If you have a query, please contact us via email.
Where Journey Logs are required, they will need to be obtained from both APHA and the EU country that is the initial point of entry into the EU. Exporters need to present their transport documentation at the correct Border Control Post in the EU. FEI horses (with purple FEI Recognition Cards) will not need Journey Logs.
Great Britain-issued transport documentation will remain valid for transport within Great Britain only and those documents issued by Northern Ireland will remain valid for use in the UK (only).
Transporters should also check the latest advice from the Department for Transport.
All equines travelling from Great Britain to the EU will need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) signed by an official vet for each journey to the EU. This would replace the current Intra-Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) or DOCOM (formerly used by FEI horses).
Equines would need to have been tested for the relevant diseases (see below) before completing the process to obtain an EHC, as the official vet will need this information to certify an equine for travel.
Horses with a purple FEI Recognition Card are classed as “registered with a national branch of an international organisation for sporting or competition purposes”, and won’t require any further Government-issued ID documents.
Click here to begin the process of notifing customs of your horse's journey.
Before an equine can be certified for travel and be issued an EHC, equines will need to be tested for the absence of certain diseases.
You’ll need tests for:
Further information regarding testing can be found here.
Before you export temporarily (less than 90 days) a horse registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting or competition purposes, you will need to keep it on a holding in the UK or a country with a similar health status either:
Before permanent export, or temporary export of any other equine, you’ll need to keep the animal separate from other equines that do not have equivalent health status for at least 30 days.
You’ll also need to keep the animal on a holding in the UK under veterinary supervision, or a country with similar health status either:
An official vet with the appropriate authorisation must confirm these requirements have been met before export.
The EU has announced that all UK studbooks will be recognised. Horses registered in those studbooks will be able to follow the rules for horses registered with national branches of international bodies for sporting or competition purposes (eg FEI) when moving to the EU for less than 90 days. They will not require a UK Government-issued ID document to move to the EU. They will also be able to travel via Border Control Posts that are specifically approved for registered equines, as opposed to BCPs for unregistered equines (classified as ungulates). Consignments will be inspected on arrival in the EU, and we have been informed that registered horses will not need to be unloaded for identity and health inspections. Appointments must be booked with BCPs on arrival, and a full list of BCPs is available here.
New import requirements apply to live animals, including equines. These include the requirement for:
This does not include the requirement for entry via an established point of entry with an appropriate Border Control Post (BCP), which will not come into force until July 2021.
From July 2021, importers will also need to enter the EU via an established point of entry with an appropriate Border Control Post (BCP), where goods may undergo identity and physical checks, if selected.
From 1 January, all equines will need to be accompanied by an Export Health Certificate (EHC). This will need to be secured by the exporter from the EU country of origin’s competent authority.
Those equines that represent a significant disease risk will be required to undertake pre-export blood testing and meet particular residency and isolation requirements, as part of this process.
Transporters will require Transporter Authorisation, driver/attendant Certificate of Competence, and a valid Vehicle Approval Certificate issued by the UK authorities. Applications for Journey Logs (where relevant) must be submitted to APHA for any journeys ending in or transiting through Great Britain, ahead of the journey taking place. Documents issued by an EU Member State are no longer valid for use in Great Britain.
From July 2021 all goods will need to enter Great Britain via an established point of entry with an appropriate BCP, where the goods may be subject to identity and physical checks, if selected. The British importer will also need to submit a pre-notification to the BCP via the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) in advance of the goods’ arrival. Further details can be found here.
The application of the new certificates, scheduled for 21 August 2021, has been delayed by the EU until 15 January 2022. Read the FAQs on the news item for futher help.
Until that date it is permitted to use either the current OR the new certificates
If you choose to use the new certificates, please find a summary of the changes below (which now apply from 15 January 2022), the main one being that you will need to apply for a registration number for your departure premises.
The changes mean that:
British Equestrian’s recommendation remains that you use an established and experienced professional shipper to help you with the requirements and documentation needed for your move, the details of which are constantly changing. For further details see Defra’s showcase site for full information or email us.
From July 2021 equines will need to enter Great Britain via an established point of entry with an appropriate BCP in order for the animals to be checked. A list of current BCPs will be provided nearer the time.
The UK Government is currently exploring options to build more BCPs and to provide targeted support to ports to do so. Therefore, this list will likely change to include further sites. These changes will be made public in order for traders to prepare accordingly
For more information, please see the latest version of the Border Operating Model.
At the end of 2020, we hosted a live webinar with for the riders on our World Class Programme, where John McEwen, Jan Rogers, Henry Bullen and Fiona McCormack covered the situation as it stood at the time. New details have since emerged, but many parts are still applicable. An updated webinar will be provided once we have secured further details from the relevant authorities.
To make your journeys to Europe as stress-free as possible, we've prepared a series of resources to help you. We recommend printing out copies of the infographic poster and pre-travel checklist, and keeping them in your tack room or yard office so that you can tick off each step as you complete them. Please be aware that these resources relate to travelling FEI-registered horses – shortly, we will be adding resources relating to non-registered horses.