Overseas veterinary certificates and Border Control Posts

Handling POAO on arrival from EU member states or third countries

Any of your consignments that contain live animals or products of animal origin (POAO) originating from another European Union (EU) member state can usually enter the UK without any further checks. This is due to the harmonisation of the animal health systems in all member states.

Each member state has agreed levels of animal health that apply to all intra-community imports and exports. Health checks at borders can be dispensed with if the consignment meets the required level of animal hygiene before it leaves its original country. Exceptions can arise when there are outbreaks of disease such as Foot and Mouth.

Imports of POAO from third countries, however, are strictly controlled by the issue of veterinary certificates and only then from countries that meet certain criteria - eg the health status of their livestock, other domestic animals and wildlife and membership of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Each of your consignments must be accompanied by a health certificate. This should always be issued by the health authority in the country of origin. Generally, paper copies of the original health certificate should accompany each of your consignments.

Before your consignments arrive at a Border Control Post (BCP), you must notify the BCP of their arrival by submitting a Common Veterinary Entry Document (CVED) with Part 1 completed. Read more about veterinary certificates.

So that the consignment can be checked, you'll need to submit the health certificate and any relevant commercial documentation such as a copy of the invoice and Bill of Lading. Your consignments will then undergo a documentary check that confirms whether:

  • pre-notification has taken place
  • all documents have been completed properly
  • the certification of the consignment is correct
  • the products contained within the consignment originate from an approved establishment
  • the country is authorised to export and is on the list of countries with an approved residue plan

You can find the list of approved third country establishments.

The official veterinary surgeon (OVS) or official fish inspector (OFI) may then carry out checks.

  • The consignment itself will be checked unless it has an official veterinary seal to ensure that it matches the details in the certificate (an identity check).
  • In some cases the inspector will also carry out a more detailed examination of the product (a physical check), this may include laboratory analysis.

On completion of the veterinary checks, part 2 of the CVED will be completed and signed by the OVS/OFI. Note that a signed CVED will be required for each consignment, even if the main consignment is split into smaller loads. If the consignment is split down at the BIP, multiple CVEDs will be issued to ensure that each part of the load is covered.

Additional checks

In some cases you'll need additional analysis, for example if there has been a contaminant or serious problem in a previous consignment from the same source. You'll have to pay for any checks requested by the OVS. If a commercial store is used while the additional checks are carried out, you'll have to meet the full cost. It may become necessary to have checks carried out to confirm an OVS finding.