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Import live animals and germinal products to Great Britain under Balai rules

Import controls on EU goods to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) that have already been introduced remain in place. This page will be updated in autumn 2022 with new dates for import controls.

You must follow Balai rules to import animals and germinal products (semen, ova and embryos) to Great Britain that are not covered by other rules that apply to importing live animals and germinal products from:

All animals and germinal products covered by Balai rules must be imported to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from premises that are either registered or approved by competent authorities in EU and non-EU countries.

Your premises in Great Britain may need to be approved by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) depending on:

  • the animal or product you want to import
  • the reason you’re importing

Approved premises are usually zoos or laboratories.

Animals and germinal products covered by Balai rules

Animals and germinal products covered by Balai rules include:

  • anteaters, sloths, armadillos
  • bats, for example vampire bats, flying foxes, fruit bats, gliders
  • bears, for example polar, black, brown, grizzly, pandas or giant pandas
  • captive-bred birds for research, conservation or display
  • cats, dogs and ferrets imported commercially
  • flying lemurs and flying squirrels
  • germinal products from certain animals such as horses, goats, sheep, deer, dogs, cats and zoo animals, such as elephants, bisons and bears
  • jackals, foxes, wolves, African wild dogs, hyaenas
  • marsupials, for example, koalas, kangaroos, wombats or wallabies
  • non-domestic cats like cougars, cheetahs, lions, tigers and leopards
  • otters, martens, polecats, badgers, skunks, wolverines
  • possums, bandicoots, bilbys, quolls and Tasmanian devils
  • pig embryos
  • prosimian primates, for example lemurs, bushbabies, lorises, aye ayes and tarsiers
  • racing pigeons
  • rabbits and hares
  • raccoons, coatis and other new world procyonids
  • rodents, for example, gophers, squirrels, mice, rats, hamsters, voles, beavers, gerbils
  • shrews, moles and hedgehogs
  • simian primates, monkeys and apes

Pet cats, dogs and ferrets: commercial imports

Pet cats, dogs and ferrets are commercial imports if they’re brought to Great Britain for:

  • rehoming
  • comes out
  • transfer of ownership (including rescue cats and dogs brought to Great Britain to be rehomed)

Cats, dogs and ferrets brought to Great Britain as your own pets (they’ll live with you and will not be rehomed, sold or change ownership) are also commercial imports if:

  • you’re bringing in more than 5 animals
  • you cannot travel to accompany your pets 5 days before or after they arrive in Great Britain

Commercial imports of pet cats, dogs and ferrets must come from approved EU and non-EU countries.

You must follow Balai rules in this guidance and the following pet travel rules for commercial imports of pet cats, dogs and ferrets:

Cats, dogs and ferrets that do not meet pet travel rules must be quarantined when they arrive in Great Britain.

Import non-commercial pet cats, dogs and ferrets

Follow different guidance for bringing pet cats, dogs and ferrets to Great Britain that are not commercial imports.

Import from a registered or approved premises in EU and non-EU countries

The animals and germinal products you can import depend on whether the premises you’re importing from is registered or approved with the competent authority in the exporting country.

You can import:

Import to an approved premises in Great Britain

Your premises must be approved by APHA to import:

  • germinal products – your premises only needs to be approved if you plan to re-export germinal products after you’ve imported them
  • captive-bred birds for research, display and conservation
  • carnivores – your premises only needs to be approved if you plan to apply to waive quarantine rules
  • primates

Apply to get your premises approved

Complete the application form.

Email the completed form to the imports team at the Center for International Trade (CIT), Carlisle.

A vet from APHA will inspect your premises to check it meets conditions for approval. APHA will send you a list of conditions when you apply for approval.

When your premises is approved, it will be added to the list of approved premises.

Border officials will check if your premises is on the list when your import arrives in Great Britain.

Apply for a waiver for animals susceptible to rabies

If your premises is approved, you can apply to waive quarantine rules for animals susceptible to rabies you’re importing from EU and non-EU countries.

To apply for a waiver:

Notify APHA about imports from the EU

You must submit an import notification on the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS) to notify APHA about imports of live animals and germinal products from the EU.

You must do this at least one working day before the expected time of the animals’ arrival at the point of entry in Great Britain.

When you submit your import notification in IPAFFSyou’ll get a unique notification number (UNN) for the product. The format of this number will be IMP.GB.YYYY.1XXXXXX.

You must give the UNN to the EU exporter or official veterinarian (OV).

The exporter or OV must add the UNN to the health certificate and give you a copy.

Notify APHA about imports from non-EU countries

You must complete part 1 of the Common Health Entry Document (CHED) on IPAFFS to notify APHA about imports of live animals and germinal products from non-EU countries.

You must do this at least one working day before the expected time of the animals’ arrival at the border control post (BCP) in Great Britain.

If you do not notify APHA before your consignment arrives at the BCPyou may be charged an additional fee or your check could take longer.

Check what documents you need to import from EU and non-EU countries to Great Britain

Imports from EU and non-EU countries will need either one or both of the following documents, depending on the animal or germinal product you’re importing:

  • health certificate
  • import license

health certificate

Imports of most live animals and germinal products from EU and non-EU countries must have a health certificate. The exporter in the EU or non-EU country will need to:

  • apply for the health certificate in their own country – competent authorities should use model health certificates to create versions that exporters can apply for
  • send the original health certificate with the consignment, and give you an electronic copy

You must attach all pages of the health certificate copy to your import notification in IPAFFS – you’ll need to go back into IPAFFS to do this.

Import licenses

Imports of live animals and germinal products from non-EU countries must have an import license or authorization and a health certificate.

If you’re importing from the EU, you may need a license as well as a health certificate.

You should check the list of general licenses to see if there’s a license for your animal or germinal product.

If a general license does not exist, you must apply for a license to import animals susceptible to rabies.

You’ll need an additional license if you’re importing:

Contact the imports team at the Center for International Trade (CIT), Carlisle if:

  • there’s no license for your animal or germinal product
  • you’re not sure if you need a license

You must attach all pages of the health certificate copy to your import notification in IPAFFS – you’ll need to go back into IPAFFS to do this.

Checks on imports of live animals and germinal products from the EU

Your live animal and germinal product may have document, identity and physical checks, including tests, at the place of destination.

Checks will depend on biosecurity and public health risks.

Checks on live animal and germinal product imports from non-EU countries

Imports of live animals and germinal products from non-EU countries must be checked by an OV or inspector at a BCP in Great Britain.

Find a BCP that’s approved to check the animals or germinal products you’re importing.

the OV or inspector will:

  • record the result of the checks on IPAFFS
  • complete and validate the CHED

fees

You must pay a fee to have your consignment from non-EU countries checked at a BCP. To find out what fees you’ll have to pay, you can:

leaving the BCP

You must not remove your consignment from the BCP or customs clearance area until official inspectors have completed and validated the CHED.

After your consignment leaves the BCPyou must:

  • make sure your consignment goes directly to the destination named on the CHED
  • make sure the original CHED goes with your consignment to its final destination
  • comply with any movement restrictions associated with your import

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