Expert Insights

Expert Insights

Horses for EU courses in no deal Brexit

If you move horses around the EU for racing, breeding or competition then a no deal Brexit will affect you.

Horses are required to travel with an ID document (passport) stating their health status and either an Intra-Community Trade Animal Health Certificate (“ITAHC”) or a veterinary attestation, which confirm the fitness to travel and absence of disease. Some equines have other requirements as well. 

When the UK leaves the EU in 2019 or 2021, depending on the negotiations, horses from the UK will be classified as third country horses, similar to Australia or New Zealand and will be required to enter an EU country via a Border Inspection Post under the rules set out in Council Directive 2009/156/EC, Council Directive 91/496/EEC (the latter covering veterinary checks applied to imports) and Commission Implementing Regulations 2015/262 and 2018/659 (covering conditions applied to all EU equine imports). You may have to apply for a new Equine ID document. The import of equines from the EU into the UK will not change immediately after Bexit as the UK has confirmed that current systems will be replicated.

If no deal is secured in the Brexit negotiations then this third country classification is not likely to be immediate. The Tripartite Agreement (TPA) for the movement of horses between the UK, Ireland and France will no longer be valid. There could be a requirement to obtain permits for travel to other EU countries, increasing the costs and timeframe of moving horses and other equines through Europe. The UK government estimates the additional cost to be in the region of £200 to £500 for the Export Health Certification.

If there is no deal you will need to apply to the APHA GB or the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs’ Veterinary Service in Northern Ireland for the new export certification required by the EU. If your horse is not registered on a studbook, pedigree register or with a national branch of an international organisation for racing or competition, you will need to apply for a new government-issued ID document. An Official Vet (OV) could deal with the veterinary elements of both of these in a single visit but would require additional veterinary time to complete the necessary blood tests.

Our services

Our dedicated immigration team can offer you the following services:

  • An ‘Immigration Drop-In’ service at your stables to help EU employees and provide advice where needed;
  • Bespoke email instructions explaining the process of applying for residence cards or the new settled status;
  • An email/telephone service to answer ad hoc immigration queries;
  • Advice factsheets.

For more information please contact Paul McCarthy on +44 (0)20 7427 6609 or at

Our thinking

Share this Page