Horse owners need to be aware of the rules for importing and exporting horses and when a horse passport, import permit/licence and an export health certificate are required.
For up-to-date guidance on importing animals during the COVID-19 pandemic please visit https://covid19.gov.gg/guidance/pets-livestock
Important information on how the importation and exportation of horses may be affected by Brexit can be found via the Guernsey No Deal Brexit Guide [739kb].
Recognised Types of Horse from a Health and Movement Perspective
- When determining the requirements for import or export a horse between territories its health status is an important factor to consider. Currently there are three recognised categories of health status for horses: non-registered horses (average), registered horses (good) and TPA eligible horses (excellent). With regard to their movements a horse's perceived health status is deemed to depend upon which passport issuing organisation (PIO) provided its passport or whether it is eligible to come under the tripartite agreement (TPA).
Passport Issuing Organisations (PIO)
- Passport issuing organisations (PIO) which meet the requirements of 90/427/EC may be authorised by their Member States (MS) to appoint eligible horses to their register. Authorised PIO may register eligible horses that are resident in the MS in a stud book, record their details on a database and provide them with a passport. International organisations or societies which manage horses for racing or competition may also be approved by MS's to register horses, record their details on a database and provide passports.
- All horses must be microchipped by a veterinary surgeon before they may be issued with a passport. The microchip provides a permanent 'link' between the horse and its passport because the microchip number, sometimes known as its Unique Equine Life Number (UELN), is recorded in its passport.
- Foals must have a passport before they are six months of age or by 31st December of their year of its birth, whichever is the later.
- Your horse's passport must accompany your horse at all times other than when stabled or out hacking.
- If any horse dies or is slaughtered, the keeper must return the passport to the passport-issuing organisation within 30 days of the animal's death.
- Changes of ownership or change of permanent address of owner should be notified to the organisation that has issued the passport within 30 days.
- Vets are required to ask to see the passport before treating a horse. If substances unsuitable for entry into the human food chain have been administered, supplied or prescribed the owner must sign the declaration in part II of section IX.
- Currently there are no requirements for horses which are resident in Guernsey to have a horse passport or to be microchipped. However if you are going to travel off Island with your horse you are advised to get them microchipped by your vet and apply for a horse passport. If you are travelling to the UK with your horse and it will be in the UK for less than 30 days your horse does not require a passport. If your trip becomes extended for whatever reason you will require a passport within 30 days of your horse arriving in England. If you do not comply with the UK's horse identification rules you could face a fine of up to £5,000.
- UK approved Passport Issuing Organisations (PIO) are divided in two, those for registered horses, and those for non-registered horses.
- The difference in certification requirements for registered and unregistered horse stems from the risk of disease introduction based on the inherent value and care provided to registered vs. non-registered horses. Follow this link for notes for guidance. Please see the reference in the notes for guidance (NFG) to application form EXA31 (Equidae), box 1.25. TPA eligible horses are considered to have the highest health status and the lowest risk of introducing diseases.
- 'Registered equidae' (registered horses) are defined in 90/427/EC as horses that are eligible for registration and are registered with an approved PIO that manages studbooks and are provided with a passport.
- If your horse's passport is issued by a PIO that is on the approved list that manage studbooks then it is described as a registered horse. Follow this link for the approved list.
- Generally registered horses can be shown in affiliated shows; their off-spring can be registered as pure-bred and registered horses tend to command a higher price.
- A 'non-registered equidae' (unregistered horse) is a horse that is recorded with an approved PIO that does not manage studbooks. Approved PIO's that do not manage studbooks can still record horses' details including microchip number in a data base which manages horses for racing or competition and issue an identification document (passport). Follow this link for the approved list.
- Generally non-registered horses cannot be shown in affiliated shows; their off-spring will be registered as part-bred and non-registered horses tend to sell for a lower price. Not all horses with passports are therefore registered horses.
TPA eligible horses
- The Tripartite agreement (TPA) is a formal agreement between the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland and France established in the 1970's. It allows certain categories of high value, high health status horse accompanied with their passport to move between these three European Union (EU) member states (MS) without the need for:
- Prior health checks, certification or attestation (Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) as defined in Council Directive 2009/156 EC); and,
- Route plans.
- Not all registered horses are eligible under TPA.
- The latest TPA closed the loophole allowing any registered horse with a passport to utilise the TPA to avoid health checks and certification. The new categories of TPA eligible horses are:
- Thoroughbreds used for racing, breeding, in training or moving to a sale;
- Sporting horses competing in a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) sponsored competition;
- Horses registered on the Weatherbys Non Thoroughbred Register.
- In addition eligible horses have to be registered with PIO which are 'approved TPA bodies' and in the UK there are only two:
- British Equine Federation (BEF) (on the 'do not' manage stud book list of PIO)
- Weatherbys (on both the 'do not' and 'do' manage stud book list of PIO)
- Weatherbys include the Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA) and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and is for registered Thoroughbreds and horses registered on the Non-Thoroughbred Register. The BEF is for sport horses competing in a FEI competition. Horses registered with these organisations will have either a Weatherbys or AQPS ("Autre Que Pur-Sang", translated as "other than thoroughbred") passport or have a FEI sleeve over their passport.
- A French born AQPS horse, resident in Guernsey, registered in France with the French Stud book and a French passport, recorded on Weatherbys database, will come under the authority of Weatherbys will be classed as UK horses under the TPA.
- These organisations have to provide assurances of high health status and traceability of horses covered by the new TPA.
- If you want to know if your horse is eligible under the TPA contact the PIO below.
- British Equine Federation - Jan Rogers, telephone no. 07725 332595
- Weatherbys - Sam Wallace, telephone no. 01933 440077 ext 2304
- Movements of TPA eligible horses between the Guernsey and France will need to be notified on electronically through the EU's Trade Control and Export System (TRACES) via a Commercial Document (DOCOM), to be arranged through Shippers Approved by Weatherbys, TBA, BHA or the BEF.
Import and Export of horses between Guernsey and France
- Follow this link for further information on the import and export of horses between Guernsey and France.
Horse Movements to and from United Kingdom (UK), Jersey, Alderney and Sark (Channel Islands (CI)), Isle of Man (IoM) and Ireland
- Horses can be exported from Guernsey to the UK, other CI and Ireland without requirements for individual import permits/licence and heath checks. However the situation may change without notice and exporters are advised to contact the country, territory or island of destination and those of transit to check their import requirements. Currently the IoM requires exporters to apply for an import licence which includes animal health declarations. Exporters should also be aware that tax and duty may be applicable to exports when entering other jurisdictions.
- Guernsey's General Import Licence allows horses to be imported directly into Guernsey from the UK, other CI, IoM and Ireland without an individual import permit/licence provided that the country, territory or island of export is not subject to disease restrictions. There is no need for horse owners to have a copy of the general import licence with them when travelling to Guernsey from the UK, other CI, IoM and Ireland. If animal health threats should change then the general import licence will be amended to provide additional biosecurity when it is required.
- Note: Horses which depart from countries in Europe but travel through the UK to Guernsey must be inspected by a vet of the country of origin within 48hr before export and must be accompanied with health check certificates; ITAHC's (non-registered & registered equidae) or health attestations (registered equidae ONLY) . TPA eligible horses originating in France are excused from veterinary health certification.
Horse movements to and from mainland Europe through and beyond France
- All categories of horse exported from Guernsey to the mainland EU through and beyond France must be accompanied by their passport and an ITAHC's (non-registered & registered equidae) or health attestations (registered equidae ONLY) . TPA eligible horses exported to France are excused from veterinary health certification. All categories of horse, including TPA eligible horses, which transit through and beyond France to another MS on the mainland EU must be inspected by a States of Guernsey authorised/official veterinarian in within 48 hours of export and must be accompanied with the ITAHC's (non-registered & registered equidae) or health attestations (registered equidae ONLY). Exporters should also be aware that tax and duty may be applicable on exports to other jurisdictions.
- Registered and non-registered horses travelling from mainland EU to Guernsey require individual import permits/licences from Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services (ACLMS). TPA eligible horses originating in France are the exception.
- A condition of the import permit/licence is a requirement for inspection by a government authorised official veterinarian of the country of origin within 48 hours before export and the horse must be accompanied with the health attestation or ITAHC when travelling to Guernsey from the EU. In the case of registered horses travelling on an attestation signed in Guernsey that is unexpired on the day of the return journey to Guernsey i.e. within 10 days of signature, no further health attestation is required. The animal health requirements for import into Guernsey from a MS of mainland EU can be downloaded below.
- In any other circumstances, horses cannot be imported into Guernsey without an import permit/licence issued by Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services (ACLMS). A licence may include animal health requirements, which may include isolation before dispatch to Guernsey and pre-movement veterinary tests.
- Contact us for further information.
- The cost of complying with any health checks, certification and customs requirements must be met by the importer.
- As a general principle everything imported into the UK is liable for VAT unless you can prove otherwise. When importing a horse into the UK from Guernsey on a permanent or temporary basis for personal use, selling on or a veterinary procedure the owner should be prepared to pay VAT on the value of the horse. If you are returning with your horse from the UK to Guernsey any VAT that you have paid on import may be repaid back to you following export back to Guernsey. This is a complex subject that is liable to regular changes therefore you are advised to contact the UK HM Revenue & Customs well in advance of travel. You may have to have a number of documents in your possession for inspection such as your horse's passport, evidence that you are the owner of the horse etc. The HM Revenue & Customs contact details are:
- Tel: 0845 010 9000
- Web: www.hmrc.gov.uk/vatexports
- Similarly when importing a horse into Jersey from Guernsey on a permanent or temporary basis for personal use, selling on or a veterinary procedure the owner should be prepared to pay GST on the value of the horse.
Animal Health Threats
- Imported midges (Cluicoides species) pose a threat to animal health in Guernsey. These are the same midges which cause 'sweet-itch' in horses. Midges are potential vectors for certain animal diseases such as Bluetongue & Schmallenberg Virus. To reduce the risk of inadvertently bringing potentially infected midges to Guernsey from the UK in vehicles, horse owners are advised that the vehicles are sprayed with insect deterrents or insect killers before animals are loaded into them in at the point of departure.
- Follow this link for a list of recommended insect deterrents or insect killers to spray onto vehicles and trailers used to transport horses.
- It is also recommended that when in the UK or France horses are not unloaded or kept in the vicinity of other non-equine livestock, thereby reducing the likelihood of introducing disease to the Island from cattle, sheep, goats, llama, alpaca and pigs in the UK or France.