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The New Rules after Brexit for Equines in the Northern Ireland

The rules have changed for bringing in animals including fish, food, feed, plants, plant products and wood from GB to NI.  Use the Brexit checker to get a personalised list of actions for you, your business and your family. Find out more about the new rules by visiting the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs website.

Guidance on bringing live animals to NI from GB

There are new procedures to follow when moving live animals from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. Visit DAERA to find out more.

Before moving live animals the person responsible for the movement must:

  • Ensure they are registered on TRACES NT (the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System)
  • At least 10 days before arrival apply to DAERA ( if a specific import licence is required. (Currently only necessary for Sheep and Pigs for Breeding and Production). 
  • Check that the animals are tagged/identified as would be required for export to the EU. 
  • Obtain copies of export health certificates (EHCs) after they are signed by an official in Great Britain. 
  • At least 24 hours before arrival, create a Common Health Entry Document for Live animals (CHED A) on TRACES NT uploading the EHC and all supporting documents including those for welfare during transport. This will pre-notify DAERA of the arrival of the consignment. 


  • Horses travelling to GB for racing/competition and returning home must present for inspection in Larne/Belfast before leaving NI. A certificate will be issued to enable a GB vet to certify the EHC for the return journey.
  • Livestock can only enter Northern Ireland by the sea route to Larne Port. All other live animals can enter through either Larne or Belfast ports.

On arrival in Northern Ireland the driver must:

  • Follow the signs to the live animal inspection facility.
  • Present the consignment for inspection with hard copies of all relevant documentation.
  • Assist inspectors to unload and handle animals as requested.
  • If the outcome of documentary, identity and physical inspection is satisfactory the consignment will be permitted to enter Northern Ireland.

Visit the link here for an equines importer checklist.

Further resources and information


Identification, registration and movement

Negotiations between the UK and the EU are continuing with both the UK and the EU seeking to secure a zero tariff, zero quota FTA and the closest possible alignment on regulations between GB and NI in order to minimise trade frictions between GB and NI.

At the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland will be subject to the requirements of the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP). This means that Northern Ireland will maintain regulatory alignment with the EU on the application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and that the current European Commission rules on movement and identification of equines will continue to apply.

Further guidance will be published when it becomes available.

Domestic Legislation

The Equine Identification Regulations (Northern Ireland) came in to operation on 29 March 2019 and they were brought in to enforce the European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/262 which has applied throughout all EU Member States from 1 January 2016. 

All Equidae or equine animals, as defined in this EU Regulation, which are born or imported in to the EU, must be identified in accordance with the EU Regulation.  This includes any horses, ponies, donkeys, mules or other equine animals such as zebras.


Brexit information from The British Horse Society

The British Horse Society is a member of the British Horse Council and a Passport Issuing Organisation, who work closely with Defra to keep updated on current guidance regarding moving equines after Brexit.

Visit our Brexit hub for further information

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