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Here is the latest guidance for moving equines between Great Britain and the EU. We will update this page with further information as we get closer to 1 January.

Leaving the EU without a Free Trade Agreement in place

If we leave the EU without a Free Trade Agreement, whether owners will be able to move equines after 1 January 2021 depends on the EU listing us as a third country for the export of equines.

If the EU does not list us as a third country, it will not be possible to move equines to the EU.

If we are listed – and we very much hope we will be – owners will need to do the following to continue to be able to export. Further guidance on the requirements follows below:

  • to get equines tested for certain diseases before export, depending on the UK’s sanitary group;
  • to meet pre-export isolation and residency requirements;
  • to apply for an export health certificate (EHC);
  • have the correct equine identification (ID) documents;
  • to check if they need an export welfare declaration.

The type and level of health checks required would depend on the category of listed third country the UK obtains, but will include a number of blood tests within 30 days or less of travelling.  

Exporting to the EU

Transporter authorisation

UK Transporter Authorisations, driver and attendant Certificates of Competence and Vehicle Approval Certificates issued in the UK will not be recognised by the EU from 1 January 2021. Any 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.
  • 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 FEI purple Recognition Cards) will not need Journey Logs.
  • GB-issued transport documentation will remain valid for transport within GB 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.

Required documentation

All equines travelling from GB to the EU would 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”, won’t require any further Government issued ID documents.

If your horse has a studbook passport, but no FEI Recognition Card, and the EU does not approve our equine studbooks before 1 January, all other horses will also need a Government issued ID document to travel, including for moves to Ireland. This document would be in addition to the EHC but would not replace the current equine passport. The current passport would still be a requirement for domestic identification purposes and will need to be accompany all equines moving to the EU.

Disease testing

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.  

Assuming we are placed in sanitary category A, you’ll need tests for:

  • equine infectious anaemia – within 30 days before travel for permanent exports, or within 90 days before travel for temporary exports of under 90 days (for horses registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting and competition purposes eg FEI)
  • equine viral arteritis - within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet vaccination requirements

Further information regarding testing can be found on GOV.UK.

Residency and isolation requirements 

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:

  • for 40 days
  • since its entry to the UK, if the animal was imported directly from the EU or a country with a similar health status to the UK less than 40 days before you export

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:

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

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

EU recognition of UK studbooks

The UK has applied to the EU for recognition of the UK’s studbooks. We do not currently expect recognition of studbooks to be granted ahead of 1 January.

You should plan any exports on the basis that the UK’s studbooks will not be recognised immediately from 1 January 2021. This means if you’re exporting a horse registered in a UK studbook you should follow the rules set out for unregistered horses.

Should some, or all, of the UK’s studbooks be recognised by the EU prior to or after 1 January, 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).

Should the position on studbook recognition change we will provide a further update.

When will equine owners need to start to prepare?  

We will be issuing further guidance in advance of 1 January, in order to help prepare for the end of the Transition Period.  However, please note that the pre-export residency requirements for certain movements mean that you will need to keep records up to 90 days in advance. There are resources to help you at the bottom of this page, including a pre-travel checklist for FEI horses travelling to Europe. 

We advise equine owners to consult a vet at least six weeks in advance of when they wish to move their equine to the EU to begin preparations. 

The latest guidance is available on GOV.UK.

Import requirements

From January 2021, new import requirements will apply to live animals, including equines. These include the requirement for:

  • goods to be accompanied by an Export Health Certificate (EHC)
  • import pre-notifications submitted by the importer via IPAFFS at least one working day before the expected time of arrival at the point of entry

This does not include the requirement for entry via an established point of entry with an appropriate Border Control Post (BCP); this 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. Full details will be provided in due course.

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 GB, ahead of the journey taking place. Documents issued by an EU Member State are no longer valid for use in GB.

From July 2021 all goods will need to enter GB via an established point of entry with an appropriate BCP, where the goods may be subject to identity and physical checks, if selected. The GB 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.

Location of checks

From July 2021 equines will need to enter GB via an established point of entry with an appropriate BCP in order for the animals to be checked. A list of current BCPs and the commodities they accept is available here.

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.

Brexit Webinar

Recently, 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 everything we currently know about moving horses to the EU after the post-Brexit transition period ends.

All information was current at the time of recording but, with many aspects still awaiting government clarification, may have changed in the time since.


To make your journeys to Europe from 1 January 2021 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.