This page provides information on the import conditions which will apply from 1 January 2021, for both Breeding/Production and Slaughter cattle from Great Britain (GB). It also provides documents which will help to make sure you have all the required import paperwork. Any cattle moving from GB to Northern Ireland (NI) will require an EU Export Health Certificate (EHC) instead of the previously used GB to NI EHCs.
As a consequence of the introduction of these new requirements the previous Specific Import licencing arrangements no longer apply. This includes for cattle returning from a Show & Sale which is no longer permissible.

Import conditions for breeding and production cattle

Extra identification requirements

GB keepers who are selling or moving livestock to a keeper in NI will be expected to attach an “export” tag to animals printed with the country code ‘GB’, unless those animals already have the letters GB printed on their existing official ear tags.

Port of entry

Landing must take place at the port of Larne and the person in charge of the animals must report immediately following disembarkation to a Portal Inspector and must co-operate with DAERA staff as required. Animals may not leave the Port until a Portal Inspector has authorised such departure.

Health certificate guarantees

The animals to be imported must be accompanied by

  • a valid health certificate signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) appointed by the appropriate authority in Great Britain. The necessary health certificate and the conditions therein required for export from GB to NI can be viewed here.
  • Fulfillment of these conditions is a matter for consideration between the exporter and their OV in GB.

Post import conditions

Immediately after landing imported cattle must be moved directly to the holding of destination in Northern Ireland as shown in the health certificate and must remain there for a period of at least 30 days, unless they are dispatched directly to a slaughterhouse. The person in charge of the holding of destination of the imported animals must advise the local Divisional Veterinary Officer of their arrival within 7 days following importation. This requires the importer to confirm movement of the animals onto the farm by submitting an MC2 to their local DAERA Office. 

All cattle moving from GB to NI for breeding and production purposes will need to be re-tagged by the receiving NI keeper unless the cattle being imported are identified with a tag number previously issued by DAERA (UK 9 prefix) or a current EU Member State ( eg. DE, DK, IE or 372 prefix). This is because, under the relevant EU law, which will continue to apply to Northern Ireland, animals must be identified, upon entry from a third country, with a unique identification code, related to the holding of destination. Cattle must be re-identified within 20 days of arriving in NI and before leaving the holding of destination in NI and the re-identification must be supervised by a DAERA inspector to ensure the cattle’s traceability is maintained.

Cattle imported from GB which do not have a negative BVD test result that is recognised by the NI BVD Eradication Programme require a BVD virus test within 20 days of arrival. This must be arranged and paid for by the owner, and done before the animal is moved to another herd. Further information is available from Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI), or at the link below.

More useful links

Import conditions of slaughter cattle from Great Britain

Extra identification requirements

GB keepers who are selling or moving livestock to NI for slaughter will be expected to attach an “export” tag to animals printed with the country code ‘GB’, unless those animals already have the letters GB printed on their existing official ear tags.

Port of entry

Landing must take place at the port of Larne and the person in charge of the animals must report immediately following disembarkation to a Portal Inspector and must co-operate with DAERA staff as required. Animals may not leave the Port until a Portal Inspector has authorised such departure.

The person in charge of the imported animals must advise the Portal Inspector of their arrival not later than 48 hours prior to importation. Any consignment arriving at the port which has not been notified may be re-exported.

Health certificate guarantees

The animals to be imported must be accompanied by

  • a valid health certificate signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) appointed by the appropriate authority in Great Britain.  The necessary health certificate and the conditions therein required for export from GB to NI can be viewed here.
  • Fulfillment of these conditions is a matter for consideration between the exporter and their OV in GB.

Post import conditions

Immediately after landing, the imported animals must be moved direct to slaughter and may only be consigned to the abattoir as shown on the health certificate. The animals must not be moved to anywhere else. On arrival at the meat plant/abattoir the animals and health certificate(s) which accompanied the animals must be presented to an officer of DAERA for checking.

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