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Brief Guide to Importing Live Animals from Third Countries

  1. Importation of live animals from third countries (i.e. non EU countries)  must comply with import conditions laid down by the EU
  2. These import conditons ensure these animals meet the required animal health standards before being allowed to enter and move freely within the EU
  3. The animals must come from a country that has been approved to export into the EU territory
  4. A health certificate relevant to the species and category of animal in question, conforming to the models laid down in EU legislation must accompany the consignment of live animals
  5. The transporter must be in possession of an authorisation in compliance with Regulation 1/2005, issued by an EU Member State
  6. The transporter must be in possession of a certificate of approval in relation to the specific transport vehicle, issued by an EU Member State
  7. The consignment must be presented to a designated Border Inspection Post (BIP) to undergo veterinary checks at the point of entry into the EU territory

1. All live animal from third countries require veterinary checks at their point of entry into the European Union, as listed in Annex I to Commission Decision 2007/275/EC

2. The list of non-EU countries, territories or parts thereof authorised for the export of various live animals are laid down in the relevant legislation for that species as following:

Live Animal Species

Relevant Legislation


Annex I of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/659


Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010

Ovine and Caprine

Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010


Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010


Commission Regulation (EU) No 798/2008

Day Old Chicks

Commission Regulation (EU) No 798/2008

EU harmonised import controls are carried out at an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP) that is designated to deal with that species of animal. The consignment may only enter Ireland through an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP) designated for that species.

1. There are three different types of designation

a. ‘E’ for equine animals,
b. ‘U’ for ungulate animals
c. ‘O’ for other animals

2. The following locations have approved Border Inspection Posts in operation for live animals:

a. Dublin Port – No designation for live animals
b. Dublin Airport - Equine animals only
c. Shannon Airport - Equine animals only

Procedure for Importation of Live Animals

1. The ‘person responsible for the load’ refers to the person who is in charge of the consignment when presented at the Border Inspection Post.

a. This person is responsible for making the necessary declarations (including customs declarations) to the competent authorities on behalf of the importer.

b. In most circumstances this will be an agent working on behalf of the importer (as opposed to the importer him/herself).

2. This person who is responsible for the load must be registered with the Dept. of Agriculture Food and the Marine, through their Corporate Customer System (CCS).

3. To register with CCS, email who will forward on the relevant registration form for completion.

1. TRACES  (Trade Control and Expert System) is the European Commission’s online management tool for all sanitary requirements on intra-EU trade and importation of animals, semen and embryo, food, feed and plants. TRACES facilitates the exchange of information between all involved trading parties and control authorities and speeds up the administrative procedures.

2. Both the organisation and the individual people within that organisation requiring access to TRACES need to be registered in order to be able to have access to it.

1. The person responsible for the load being imported (the importer or a customs agent acting on their behalf) must give the BIP at the intended point of entry advance notification of the arrival of the consignment

2. There is a required minimum pre-notification notice period of at least 24 hours notice in advance of the consignment’s arrival

3. Failure to submit correct documentation within this timeline may result in significant delays in the consignment being processed through the Border Inspection Post.

4. Pre-notification is given by the submission of Part 1 of the Common Entry Veterinary Document (CVED-A) through the online TRACES system

5. Copies of other supporting documentation associated with the consignment should be submitted at this time as well - such as the Health Certificate.

1. Providing all the documentation has been submitted correctly and within the correct timeframes, a large proportion of the documentary check can be commenced in advance of the consignment’s arrival. This includes examination of the veterinary certificate and other documents accompanying a consignment.

a. The original hard copy of the health certificate must travel with the consignment, and will be checked and held at the BIP at the point of entry into the EU.

2. Provided all is in order with the documentary check, the consignment of live animals will then be subject to an identity check and physical check with/without sampling as appropriate at the BIP.

3. Upon satisfactory completion of the required checks, the decision is entered in Part 2 of the CVED which must accompany the consignment to the first place of destination referred to in the CVED. The consignment of live animals may then circulate freely within the EU.

4. If the consignment does not meet the import requirements, the consignment may be rejected entry and re-exported.