The guidance below outlines the requirements for moving live animals (including live fish) into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

Images of live animals and fish  

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 has been confirmed in Northern Ireland. This may have implications for moving animals and SPS goods into Northern Ireland. You can find details on the current position and guidance on the DAERA AI hub.

Advice on the movement of pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) is available at Travelling with Pets.

Before you start

Review the animal-specific guidance available via the links below to familiarise yourself with the movement conditions and procedures particular to that species:

Before moving live animals from GB to NI

Before moving live animals, the person responsible for the movement must ensure the following general requirements are satisfied:

  • You must register to use TRACES NT (the online EU system used to pre-notify SPS goods entering EU territory) to enable you to pre-notify the arrival of a consignment of live animals. Your registration must be approved before you can use TRACES-NT. Therefore if you are not already registered, you should register now as an “operator”. Guidance for registering is available at A step by step guide to getting started on TRACES NT.
  • Fulfil any pre-movement requirements, as described in the animal-specific guidance (see links) above:
    • Where a specific import licence is required, you must apply for it to DAERA at least 10 days before arrival. You can find information on when a specific import licence is required and find the required application at Introduction to importing animals and animal products.
    • Movements of breeding/production pigs, sheep and goats will also require that a Veterinary Supplementary Support Certificate (VSSC) is signed by the official veterinarian who signs the Export Health Certificate. If required, this will be issued to you alongside the licence and must be forwarded to the consignor for signing prior to movement.
    • Follow Zootechnical rules and standards for the movement of purebred breeding animals, hybrid breeding pigs or germinal products such as semen or embryos.
  • The animals must be tagged/identified as would be required for export to the EU. Please refer to animal-specific pages for the full details of tagging/identification requirements.
  • Ensure you obtain a colour-scanned copy of the appropriate documentation, specific for your live animal consignment. Please refer to the links to animal-specific pages. Depending on the type of consignment, this may include a valid export health certificate (EHC) issued by an Authorised Veterinarian in GB, a signed VSSC, an Import licence and supporting documentation such as Transport Certificate, Transporter Authorisation or Journey Log (also provided by the GB consignor). The aforementioned documentation will be needed for the next step: pre-notification of the consignment on TRACES NT. Please note: The original EHC should accompany the consignment.
  • Pre-notify DAERA of the arrival of the consignment at least 24 hours in advance by completing Part 1 of a Common Health Entry Document (CHED-A) for Live Animals on TRACES NT. You must also upload the colour-scanned digital EHC and all supporting documents including those for welfare during transport when submitting Part 1 of the CHED-A. Find a step-by step guide on how to create a CHED-A in the CHED-A Manual. This will pre-notify DAERA of the arrival of the consignment. Please note: the document(s) may be too large to be sent as one file. DAERA will therefore accept them if sent in two parts. Submitting the correct documentation online in advance may help reduce the risk of delays.
  • All live animal consignments entering NI from GB must do so via a designated Point of Entry (POE). The following locations must be used for live animal consignments:
    • Belfast Port – Designated for Equine (E) animals, Ungulates (U) animals (excluding bovine, ovine, caprine or porcine species) and Other (O) live animals
    • Larne Port – Designated for Equine (E) animals, Ungulates (U) and Other (O) live animals
  • Registered horses travelling to GB for racing/competition or cultural event and returning home within 30 days must present for inspection in Larne/Belfast before leaving NI. Proof of date of leaving NI will be issued to enable a GB Official Veterinarian to certify the EHC for the return journey. More information can be found on the Moving Equidae page.
  • Find out what customs procedures apply and, if required, avail of the free Trader Support Service, which provides assistance with completing customs declarations.

Moving live animals into Northern Ireland from EU via the GB landbridge

For consignments of live animals originating from the EU, which are only transiting through GB, DAERA requires the import of the consignment to be pre-notified on TRACES NT, to ensure the NI Point of Entry is aware of the arrival of the consignment.

The pre-notification step is essential so DAERA knows that these consignments of live animals originate from the EU and full SPS Third Country requirements do not apply as regards certification. Guidance on moving live animals from EU via the GB landbridge to Northern Ireland is available at Guidance on Bringing Live Animals to NI from EU via the GB Landbridge.

On arrival in Northern Ireland

  • Ensure the consignment arrives at the correct approved Point of Entry in Northern Ireland.
  • As DAERA will conduct veterinary checks on all live animals, the driver must follow the signs to the inspection facilities upon disembarkation. For live fish movements, you must proceed for inspection to Duncrue Street OCTA at Belfast Port or to Redlands Road OCTA at Larne Port.
  • Present the consignment for inspection with hard copies of all relevant documentation. The original Export Health Certificate (EHC) and the supporting documentation, including the Import Licence, where required, must remain with the consignment throughout the journey.
  • Check you have Transporter Authorisation, Certificates of Competence, Vehicle Approval and Journey Log where required.
  • Assist inspectors to unload and handle animals as requested.

Checks and Compliance

  • Consignments must be fully compliant with the requirements of the EU Official Controls Regulation in order to enter Northern Ireland. Further information on checks and compliance is available in DAERA’s Compliance Protocol document.
  • Providing all the documentation required for the movement has been submitted correctly and within the specified timeframes, a large proportion of the documentary check will be carried out in advance of the consignment’s arrival. This includes examination of any veterinary certificate and other relevant documentation accompanying the consignment.
  • Once the documentary checks have been carried out and are satisfactory, all live animal consignments will be subjected to identity and physical checks, as well as sampling, where required.
  • If all the checks have been successful, the consignment is cleared: the decision is entered in Part 2 of the CHED, which will be provided to you, the consignee, in electronic form. Your consignment is now free to move to destination.
  • If the consignment does not meet the entry requirements, it will be rejected entry and returned at the expenses of the person responsible for it.

Moving live animals into Northern Ireland from Rest of the World (RoW) countries

Third Country import requirements apply to all live animal consignments originating from outside the European Union (RoW) entering Northern Ireland.

Live animals from countries outside the EU must be imported via an approved Border Control Post (BCPs), where they undergo veterinary checks before they are allowed to enter the EU. The following locations must be used for live animal consignments:

  • Belfast Port – Designated for Equine (E) animals, Ungulates (U) animals (excluding bovine, ovine, caprine or porcine species) and Other (O) live animals
  • Larne Port – Designated for Equine (E) animals, Ungulates (U) and Other (O) live animals
  • Live animals generally can only be imported from countries which are on the approved third country import list for that animal species. Details of approved establishments for products are available on the European Commission’s website.

Additional information and guidance on moving live animals

Specific queries should be forwarded to;

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