EU / Brexit


When the UK was in the EU and the single market, exporters did not need EHCs to export products of animal origin (POAO) to the EU.

Since ‘Brexit’, the UK is no longer part of the EU and is now considered a ‘third country’.

Most products of animal origin will now need an EHC to accompany them to enter the EU. This includes the Republic of Ireland. EFTA/EEA countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, are not technically part of the EU, however they use and accept EU format EHCs.

Northern Ireland is a little more complicated due to its unique status both within the UK and having a land border with the EU on the island of Ireland. The Windsor framework being introduced in 2023 should allow trusted traders to ship most goods to NI that are not at risk of entering the EU, without needing an EHC.

The Process

The application process is fairly standard. The exporter must first register for a Government Gateway/EHCO account and then apply for the EHC, which will be forwarded electronically to the certifying OV for completion. It is important to chose the correct port of entry in the application as we will get the EHC in both English and the language of the country of entry and must complete both copies.

We would then seek to inspect the consignment prior to certifying. Supporting evidence and/or declarations would also be sought to support the certification process. Where necessary, we can supply template declarations. The manufacturing and storage sites must generally be listed as approved for export in the EU database.

Once the EHC is issued, a scanned copy will be sent to the exporter but the original must be sent with the consignment.

Common Health Entry Document (CHED-P)

Once the EHC has been issued by the OV, the importer (often through an agent) must pre-notify the Border Control Post (BCP) of entry by completing the CHED. This must be done at least 4 hours prior to the load arriving at the BCP. If the CHED has not been completed, your load will be turned away. Bear in mind that the BCP must also specifically be listed to accept the commodity that you are shipping – not every BCP can accept every consignment.

Important Points To Note…

  • Not all BCPs accept all commodities
  • You must give at least 4 hours notice to the BCP by completing a CHED
  • We cannot sign an EHC once the goods have left GB
  • The physical EHC must travel with the goods
  • Your premises may need to be listed for export to the EU
  • Applying a seal to a vehicle, while not usually compulsory, often makes for a smoother shipment
  • BCPs are incredibly fussy and the EHC must be completed perfectly and must match all the other documents accompanying the load
  • Minor errors eg ‘typos’ can be dealt with by a ‘cancel and replace’ EHC; more serious issues can lead to the load being returned or destroyed
  • All loads will have a documentary and identity check, while between 5 and 30% will have a physical check as well
  • The first export is always the most challenging – it does get easier

In Summary…

Whilst exporting to the EU certainly has its challenges, once you are exporting a commodity regularly through a particular BCP, please be assured that the process gets easier, and can be quick, efficient and cost effective with time.