Official Veterinarians Export Instructions

EU Member States under Harmonised Trade Rules

1. Also known as Intra-Community trade, this means exports from one Member State to another within the European Community, where the European Commission has made a decision 'harmonising' rules so that they are the same between all Member States.

2. Current EU Member States are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom.

3. Some countries which are not currently members of the EU may be prepared to accept EU harmonised certificates. Dependent on the commodity, these may include the nations of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA):

  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland.

4. Some countries may specify additional requirements. In written instructions prepared by the Commission, and when using the Trade Control and Exports System (TRACES), what would commonly be referred to as an 'export to another European country' is called 'Intra-Community trade'.

Third Countries

1. All countries other than those in the EU or EFTA and not included above in Harmonised Trade section.

2. For this type of export an Export Health Certificate (EHC) is issued, where available.

National Trade

1. This is defined as exports from GB (i.e. England, Scotland and Wales) to Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

2. For this type of export an Export Health Certificate (EHC) is issued, where available.

Export Systems and Certificate Types

Export Health Certificates

1. Export certification known as Export Health Certificates (EHCs), is used for Third Country Trade, National Trade and also for the issue of some certificates for Intra-Community trade not covered by the TRACES system (mainly for animals or commodities which do not have harmonised rules or special certificates required when trade restrictions have been imposed e.g. following a notifiable disease outbreak).

2. All certificates issued bear a unique serial number which will allow the certificate to be traced back to the office of issue and to the exporter’s application, signing OV and other associated documents.


1. TRACES stands for TRAde Control and Expert System.

2. The system is used for EU Intra-Community trade under harmonised EU trade rules.

3. TRACES is an EU-wide web-based service for the application for, and issuing of, certification for Intra-Community trade in live animals, their products and germplasm.

4. These are known as Intra Trade Animal Health Certificates (ITAHCs).

5. TRACES is also used for notifying Member States of movements of live animals, germplasm and certain other commodities into or through their territories. Ultimately, it is designed to be a paperless system, but at present paper certificates are still issued to accompany consignments.

6. ITAHCs have a standard format and text throughout the EU:

  • Part I contains details of the consignment
  • Part II contains the information being certified about that consignment.

7. Due to the standard format, some section of Part I will not be relevant to the consignment being certified e.g. section I.21 temperature of products is not relevant to live animals.

8. The EU legislation which lays down the content of the ITAHC is usually quoted at the top of Part II together with the type of animal or product it refers to.

9. Each ITAHC issued by CITC will have a unique certificate number inserted at section I.2 at the top right of Part I and Part II.

Pet Passports

1. In addition to EHCs and ITAHCs, PET passports are used as the export certification required for EU Intra-community Trade under EU harmonised trade rules for:

  • dogs
  • cats, and
  • ferrets.

Receipt and Processing of Export Certificate Application Forms

1. Export certificate application forms must be submitted, by the exporter or agent of the exporter, to the CITC providing the following notice prior to the proposed date of export:

  • correctly completed applications will be processed within one working date of receipt, Monday to Friday
  • due to the requirements for APHA to provide notifiable disease assurances to the certifying OV, applications received more than seven working days in advance of the certification date will be processed seven working days prior to this date
  • applications that require additional documentation may take longer to process

2. These timescales will allow CITC sufficient time to process the application and ensure the relevant export certification is posted to the nominated Official Veterinarian in a timely manner in accordance with the date of export provided.