Import and export of plants

The importation of plants and plant products into the European Community is regulated with the aim of protecting plant health.

Plant Imports

The importation of particular plants and plant products from certain third countries (countries outside of the European Community) is prohibited.

In general, all plants and some categories of plant produce that are permitted to enter Northern Ireland from third countries must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. This confirms that the plants or plant produce to which it relates have been officially inspected in the country of origin (or country of despatch), comply with statutory requirements for entry into the EC, are free from quarantine pests and diseases, and are substantially free from other organisms.

Businesses or individuals wishing to import plants from third countries must register with DAERA. This is primarily to facilitate the inspection of plants imported from third countries directly into Northern Ireland

 At importation, DAERA Plant Health Inspectors carry out documentary and identity checks on plants and controlled plant products from third countries. There is a charge for these inspections

Imports of plants and controlled plant proucts must be notified to DAERA no less than 3 working days in advance of arrival, using a Plant Health Release Certificate request form.

A Certificate of Conformity is required for certain fruit and vegetable produce which is subject to a 'Specific Marketing Standard' (SMS) before it is released from the port.

If you would like further information on importing plants please phone 0300 200 7847 or Email planthealth@daera-ni.gov.uk

Plant Exports

Exports of certain plants may be prohibited by the importing country. Where exports are permitted, the plants or plant products must normally be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. This confirms that the plants or plant products to which it relates have been officially inspected in the country of origin (or country of despatch), comply with statutory requirements for entry into the importing country, are free from quarantine pests and diseases, and are substantially free from other organisms.

Businesses or individuals wishing to export plants to third countries (countries outside of the European Community) must request a phytosanitary certificate from DAERA. As it may be necessary to carry out certain tests before issuing a phytosanitary certificate, please contact DAERA at the earliest opportunity if considering an export.

Plant passporting

Plants and plant products may move freely within the European Single Market, without inspections at national borders.

However plant materials which are considered more likely to harbour quarantine pests and diseases require a plant passport to facilitate their movement. Where required, a passport is needed both for movements within and between member states, and additional requirements apply for movements into and within EC Protected Zones. Plant passports are a guarantee that the material meets the plant health requirements for freedom from ‘quarantine’ organisms.

Plant passports may only be issued by growers who are registered and authorised for the purpose. Authorisation is granted on the basis of inspections of plants, premises and records by a Plant Health Inspection Branch Inspector.

If you would like any further information on the DAERA Plant Passporting system, please phone 0300 200 7847                                                        or Email planthealth@daera-ni.gov.uk .

EU consultation on a new format for Plant Passports

The EU is currently reviewing the format of plant passports. You can find out more about the proposed changes and how to contribute to the consultation from here:

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