You are here: Home > Advice & Information > Laws & Legal Requirements > Brexit > Exporting horses to the EU | Brexit

Exporting horses to the EU | Brexit

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.
  • 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.

Documentation required

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 issued for travel.

Equines would need to have been tested for the relevant diseases before completing the process to obtain an EHC, as the official vet will need this information to certify an equine for travel.

If the EU does not approve our equine studbooks before 1 January, most will also need a Government issued ID document to travel, including for moves to Ireland, unless they are currently horses registered with a national branch of an international organisation for sporting or competition purposes. 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);
  • 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 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. 

For further detailed information, please refer to the stakeholder note attached.

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 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 to equine owners and related businesses in advance of 1 January, in order to help prepare for the end of the Transition Period.  But 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. 

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

Registering for the Export Health Certificate Online Service

If your organisation has not yet registered to use EHC Online, please ensure you register as soon as possible: links appear as below. You will not be able to apply for EU EHCs if you are not registered.

Please note, it is important that each organisation only registers once. After registering, additional people can be added to the organisation’s account.

If you are not the person who will register your organisation, please can you pass on the above links to the most appropriate person.

If you have any further questions, please contact the team at

Resources and downloads

  • UK Government Webinar on Export Health Certificates (Link to video)
  • Exports Health Certificate Webinar - Supporting Narrative (Downloadable PDF)
  • Webinar slides - Export Health Certificates (Downloadable PDF)
  • UK Government - Frequently Asked Questions - Exporters of Live Animals and Products of Animal Origin — GB to EU (Downloadable PDF)

    Please read our guidance for equestrians intending to transport their horse between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021


Please wait while we complete your membership

Processing your details...