Prepare your veterinary business for 1 January 2021

What you need to do as a veterinarian to prepare for 1 January 2021.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

Certifying animals, germplasm, animal products, fish and fishery products

Exporters will need to apply for an export health certificate (EHC) before exporting live animals and animal products to the EU from 1 January 2021.

If you’re an official vet (OV) who does certification work you’ll need to:

You’ll also need to follow this process if goods are moving from Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales) to Northern Ireland and if an EHC is a requirement.

Find guidance about EHC Online and EHC applications on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)’s Vet Gateway.

Certifier Training Fund

These changes will increase the demand for EHCs. To help with this, there is government funding for training vets to become OVs and for Certification Support Officer (CSO) training.

Read more about these roles and how to access the training and register on the Improve International website.

Moving endangered species protected by CITES

Owners of endangered exotic pets, including some reptiles, parrots and tortoises, may need extra Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) documents to export these animals.

Vets do not need to take action themselves, but you should advise owners on the steps needed.

Find out more about moving endangered species protected by CITES

Checks on equine exports

If the UK becomes a listed non-EU (third) country, to export equines from GB to the EU, you’ll need to carry out extra blood tests to prove the equine is free of certain diseases.

The equine owner will need to contact you at least 6 weeks before travelling to allow time for these extra checks. These tests will only be valid if completed within a specific time period before travel.

Read the guidance on exporting horses and ponies from 1January 2021

New import notification system

The way animal and animal products importers tell the UK authorities of these imports will change from 1 January 2021.

The new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) will replace the existing Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES).

Read the guidance on importing animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin from 1 January 2021.

Changes to pet travel

The rules for taking pets to the EU will change from 1 January 2021.

If you’re a private vet or an OV that does pet work, you should advise pet owners on the steps they will need to take to prepare before they travel.

Read the guidance on Pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021.

You can find the latest OV advice about pet travel on the APHA Vet Gateway.

Veterinary medicines

The new UK veterinary medicine regulation will make sure you continue to have access to safe and effective veterinary medicines.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has made provision for veterinary medicines authorised in the UK to continue to be valid.

Visit the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)’s Information Hub for further guidance.

Your employees

There are certain schemes and processes you should be aware of if you employ people. Find out more in Employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members from 1 January 2021.

Veterinary qualifications

If you’re an EU and EEA national currently registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), you’ll continue to have your registration recognised.

For new registrants after 1 January 2021, RCVS will make sure veterinary qualifications meet their required equivalent standards.

The majority of EU/EEA vet degrees already meet these standards, but you can contact the RCVS to check what degrees are recognised.

Published 21 March 2019
Last updated 9 December 2020 
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