Export or move livestock and poultry from GB to Northern Ireland
Last updated 1 April 2021
This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (GB) (England, Scotland and Wales) exporting or moving livestock (sheep, cattle, pigs and goats) or poultry to, or through Northern Ireland.
You need an export health certificate (EHC) to export livestock and poultry.
Follow the rules in this guidance to find out what you need to do.
Register for the poultry health scheme
You must be a member of the Poultry Health Scheme to export poultry:
- to the EU or NI (unless you’re exporting 20 birds or hatching eggs or less)
- to non EU countries - your EHC will say if you need to join the scheme
Find out how to register for the poultry health scheme.
Quarantine rules for livestock and poultry
Check the EHC you’re applying for to find out how long livestock or poultry must be held at the premises of origin before export to a non-EU country.
Cattle, sheep and pigs must be held at the premises of origin for 40 days before you export or move them to the EU or NI.
Export or move livestock or poultry to NI
You need an EHC to:
- export livestock and poultry from GB to the EU
- move livestock or poultry from GB to Northern Ireland (NI)
- transit through the EU and NI
You also need to:
- get your goods checked at an EU border control post (BCP) or NI point of entry in the first country you enter
- make sure your EU or NI-based import agent has notified the BCP or NI point of entry that your consignment is arriving - check with the BCP or NI point of entry for how much notice needs to be given
- comply with wider HMRC guidance on customs requirements for exporting to the EU
- follow HMRC guidance for moving goods from GB to NI
- follow rules on identifying animals, if you want to export or move them to the EU or NI
Check if you need an EHC
Check the EHC finder to see if a certificate exists for your animal.
If you find an EHC, follow the EHC process to export.
If you cannot find an EHC, you’ll need to contact the competent authority in NI or the EU country you’re exporting to, in advance, to find out what:
- paperwork you’ll need to fill in
- rules you need to comply with
The competent authority means the equivalent of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the EU country you’re exporting to. DAERA is the competent authority in NI.
If the competent authority says that you need an EHC, you’ll need to get their import conditions. Email the conditions to APHA at email@example.com who’ll arrange an EHC for you.
If you’re moving livestock or poultry to NI, you do not need to pay for them to be inspected and certified. The certifier invoices the government for these costs as part of the Movement Assistance Scheme.
Checks at EU BCPs or point(s) of entry in NI
You must get your livestock or poultry checked at an EU Border Control Post (BCP) or point of entry in NI.
These checks are made to protect:
- animal health and welfare
- public health
Your livestock or poultry may be refused entry, seized, destroyed or returned to GB if they arrive at:
- a port in the EU without a BCP where checks cannot be carried out
- an EU BCP that cannot check your type of animal
- an EU BCP without the correct documentation
Find the correct BCP or NI point of entry for your goods
You must find a BCP that accepts livestock or poultry as not all BCPs accept all goods. You’ll need to consider how to redirect your trade route if needed.
There are more than 400 BCPs in the EU and they’re usually at EU ports and airports.
Check the full list of EU BCPs.
Give advance notice to EU BCPs or point(s) of entry in NI
You need to give EU BCPs or points of entry in NI advance notice of livestock or poultry arriving.
Check with the BCP or point of entry you’re planning to use for how much notice is needed.
Contact your import agent in the EU or NI 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.
What happens if your livestock or poultry fail inspection at an EU BCP or NI point of entry
If your livestock or poultry fail inspection because of risks to animal or public health, they will be destroyed immediately. If the goods fail for other reasons, the BCP or point of entry will:
- notify your importer or agent
- ask them to decide whether your goods should be destroyed or returned to GB
The BCP or point of entry will not usually contact you directly.
Return livestock and poultry rejected at EU BCPs or NI points of entry from 1 January 2021 to 28 February 2022
From 1 January 2021 to 28 February 2022, livestock or poultry rejected at EU BCPs or NI points of entry may, subject to a risk assessment, re-enter GB through any point of entry. You’ll need to provide certain documents to return your rejected goods.
Documents you need to return rejected livestock and poultry from 1 January 2021
To return a consignment, submit an import notification on the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS).
If your consignment is rejected at a point of entry in Northern Ireland and does not include cattle from Northern Ireland, you do not need to submit a notification on IPAFFS. You should instead email APHA's Centre for International Trade (CIT) at firstname.lastname@example.org. You must state in your email that you wish to return your consignment to Great Britain.
If your consignment is rejected at a point of entry in Northern Ireland and includes cattle from Northern Ireland, you must submit a notification on IPAFFS.
Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification (or to your email if your consignment is rejected at a point of entry in Northern Ireland and does not include cattle):
- the original export certificate and related documentation
- statement from the EU BCP or NI point of entry of the reasons why the returned animals were refused
- statement from the EU BCP or NI point of entry with details of the premises in which the animals were kept since leaving GB, for example in quarantine or in isolation
- declaration by the person responsible for the returned animals that the import conditions relating to transport have been complied with in relation to the returned animals, such as animal welfare requirements
- declaration by the person responsible for the animals that they have not been in contact with any other animal of a lesser health status since leaving GB
You should state NI or the EU country where the rejected BCP is located as the country of origin on the IPAFFS notification.
Email APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) at email@example.com to tell them that you’ve submitted an IPAFFS notification.
In the title of the email:
- state that the message is about an IPAFFS notification for the return of a consignment
- include the Unique Notification Number that IPAFFS generates when the notification is submitted
APHA will assess the information you submit and issue you with a written authorisation that tells you if the returned consignment needs to enter through a GB BCP or through any point of entry.
You cannot return the consignment until you receive this authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.
The firstname.lastname@example.org email address is monitored Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm (excluding public holidays).
Returns process from 1 March 2022
Returned live animals must enter GB at an appropriately designated BCP for checks on entry from 1 March 2022.
You must notify on IPAFFS and present the relevant documentation to the BCP as set out in the returned goods processes for live animals.
Documents to transport livestock or poultry
You need EU-issued documents to transport live animals:
- direct from GB to the EU
- through the EU to a non-EU country
You should apply to an EU member state where you have representation to get a:
- transport authorisation
- certificate of competence
- vehicle approval certificate
The EU will no longer recognise UK-issued versions of these documents. You can use GB-issued transporter authorisations, certificates of competence, and vehicle approval certificates in NI.
You can use NI-issued transporter authorisations, certificates of competence, and vehicle approval certificates in GB.
Journey logs for livestock
To transport livestock from, or through, GB to the EU you’ll need to apply for 2 journey logs:
- one approved by the EU member state which is the first point of entry into the EU
- one approved by APHA (or DAERA, if the journey originates in NI)
Export to non-EU countries
You’ll usually need to complete an export health certificate (EHC) and some supporting documents to export a live animal.
Check the export health certificate (EHC) finder to see if a certificate exists for your animal or product. If you find an EHC, follow the EHC process to export.
If you cannot find an EHC for your product, 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 to fill in
- rules you need to comply with
If the competent authority says that you need an EHC, you’ll need to get their import conditions. Email the conditions to apha at email@example.com who’ll arrange an EHC for you.
Welfare standards for transporting livestock and poultry
You must make sure you meet animal welfare standards when transporting animals.