Brexit: Import & Export Update for OVs & Veterinary Businesses

16 September 2019

When the UK leaves the European Union (EU) it is vital that all businesses are prepared for the changes that will be required for importing and exporting goods to and from the UK. Although all of the preparations by Government may not be applicable to some veterinary businesses, it is important to be aware of the information that is available and how to access it so as to make a decision on how relevant it may or may not be to a business. Defra and APHA continue to engage with BSAVA to provide Brexit related information which BSAVA in turn shares with its members. The latest such information outlined below mainly covers export of goods.

Exporting goods to the EU and beyond: Export Health Certificates (EHC)

When the UK leaves the EU, exporters will need an Export Heath Certificate (EHC) not just for export to non-EU countries but also for export to the EU. Businesses that already export goods to countries outside the EU will be familiar with these forms and with the online process for exports to non-EU countries. This is a robust and tested system that is well known to exporters and it will be ready from Day 1 Brexit when it will also cover exports to the EU.

Revised Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for exports to the EU, along with the Notes for Guidance, can be found here. Please be aware that EHCs are subject to live updates so always check to make sure you are working to the latest version. Following user feedback, Defra/APHA have improved the design of EHCs so as to reduce the number of potential errors and to make them easier to complete. Defra/APHA welcome feedback to support continuing refinement of the forms which aims to ensure that they are as straightforward as possible to complete. If you have any feedback, please submit it by email here.

Longer term, Defra/APHA are developing a new online system, “Export Health Certificates Online (ECHO)”, which will be rolled-out in phases later this year. Further updates will be provided in due course.

Exporting goods to the EU and beyond: Process maps

To help businesses understand what they need to do to carry on exporting if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Defra/APHA are preparing a series of process maps. Each map will set out the key steps that need to be followed in order to ensure any exports go as smoothly as possible. Maps will be published on GOV.UK in the near future. Please be aware that these maps will not be unique to OVs but will cover an entire process which will include OVs as part of that process.

Economic Operator Registration & Identification (EORI) Numbers

UK traders will need an EU EORI (Economic Operator Registration & Identification) number if they interact with both UK and EU customs but not if they just move goods between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. HMRC’s latest EORI guidance can be found here. Any queries about EORI numbers should be directed to HMRC.

French customs guidance

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, Brexit customs formalities and controls at the border between France and the UK will be reinstated for goods. Both imports and exports, will be subjected to two customs declarations, one to British Customs and one to French Customs. Details of the guidance issued by the French authorities can be found here.

Border Inspection Posts (BIPs)

Goods will only be able to enter the EU through a Border Inspection Post (BIP) designated for the specific consignment. Check the list of existing BIPs in the EU (here). You should also consider how to redirect your trade route if necessary. If you are transporting goods by road, you should ensure that your freight company is prepared.

Pet Travel

Previous links to resources unique to OVs and Pet Travel are in the process of being updated by Defra/APHA and should be made available in the near future. BSAVA will aim to share information with its members as and when it is made aware of updates.

‘Get Ready for Brexit’ Campaign

The Government has launched a public information campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU. It is the largest single communications campaign ever undertaken by the UK Government. The campaign includes an online checker tool that will tell you what you and your business will need to do to get ready for Brexit. The checker can be found here.

Defra & APHA Brexit Updates

If you would like to sign up for Brexit update alerts you can find the link here or you can contact the Defra Stakeholder Team directly on

BSAVA Brexit Updates

The most recent BSAVA news articles on Brexit and Pet Travel can be accessed here