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The New Rules after Brexit for Equines in the Republic of Ireland

New regulatory and customs requirements are part of trading with or through Great Britain. The UK is no longer applying the rules of the Single Market or the Customs Union (except in Northern Ireland in accordance with the Protocol). Read more about the Brexit and the Agri-Food Sector by visitng the GOV.IE website here.

New regulatory requirements for exporting to Great Britain

Importers and exporters of agri-food products now have to comply with new customs and regulatory requirements. The finalisation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, whilst welcome does not replicate the status quo.

Export certification requirements will have to be fulfilled on exports to Great Britain. The UK Border Operations Model published in July 2020 and updated on 8 October sets out UK Government’s approach to the administration of customs and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements as the UK will no longer be in the EU Customs Union or Single Market.

The UK proposes a phased approach to the implementation of their import requirements including SPS controls. From the 1st of January the UK have set down SPS requirements for imports of live animals, germinal products, marine caught fish and fishery products and high priority plants and plant products into Great Britain. The requirements include pre-notification on IPAFFS (UK equivalent to TRACES) and the provision of relevant certification (export health certificates/catch certificates).


  • Each equine animal exported to GB must be pre-notified to the new UK IT system - Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) and be accompanied during transport by an Export Health Certificate (EHC) issued by DAFM;
  • The IE exporter must therefore register with Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and must register for the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES);
  • The IE exporter should go to our ‘Register to Import and Export’ section for registration details. Registration may be completed by completing the steps outlined here.
  • The equine exporter should contact the local DAFM Regional Veterinary Offices (RVO) a minimum of 5 days in advance of departure to make arrangements for completing the EHC;
  • The exporter must secure the services of a GB-based importer who will need to register with IPAFFS and submit advance notification of import to IPAFFS. This notification must be submitted a minimum of 24 hours, and up to 30 days, before arrival of the equine animal/s in GB.
  • Following pre-notification on IPAFFS by the UK importer, a Unique Notification Number (UNN) is generated. The GB importer is required to send the UNN number to the IE exporter for inclusion in the EHC from Ireland.
  • The equine exporter must complete consignment details in Part I of the EHC online on TRACES. The exporter will also need to ensure that the UNN is included in Part I Section I.6 of the EHC. The exporter should submit notification to the RVO when completed, including TRACES-generated certificate reference number.
  • The EHC will be generated, printed, signed and stamped by the Regional Veterinary Offices
  • The exporter should make arrangements to collect the EHC from the local Regional Veterinary Offices 
  • The IE exporter should email a scanned copy of the EHC to the GB importer;
  • The GB importer will need to upload the EHC to IPAFFS;
  • GB import control documentary checks will occur remotely, with identity and physical checks at the point of destination on a risk-determined basis;
  • From 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021, live equines may enter GB via any point of entry;
  • A DAFM fee will apply for equine export certification to GB and will be charged at the rate of €12.50 per certificate, as per current fee charged for certification to the EU.

For queries in relation to Equine health certification requirements, please contact:

Transport of live animals including equines

  • UK issued transporter authorisations, including Certificates of Competency and vehicle approvals will no longer be valid in the EU.
  • Transporters with UK approvals who wish to continue to operate in the EU will have to apply to an EU Member State for authorisation. To apply for an authorisation, a transporter will need to be established in the EU. Please see Transport of Live Animals here for details.
  • From 1 January 2021, EU- issued transporter authorisations, including Certificates of Competency and vehicle approvals will no longer be valid in the UK.
  • Those with EU approvals who wish to continue to operate in the UK will have to apply to the UK Authorities for approval. Further information on how to apply is available by contacting APHA by email:
  • The UK rules for commercial transport of live animals from the EU may be accessed here
  • EU-issued transporter authorisations, Certificates of Competency and Vehicle Approvals remain valid in Northern Ireland. However, the EU will not recognise such documents issued NI authorities outside the territory of NI.
  • For movements from GB to EU or from EU to or through GB, both UK and EU authorisations will be required.
  • In addition, 2 journey logs will be required for live animal movements from the EU to, or through, GB: one approved by APHA for travel in GB and one approved by an EU member state of origin for travel within the EU and NI. Journey logs must be applied for at least 48 hours in advance.

Further resources and information


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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