Importing plants and plant products from the EU
Since 1 January 2021 imports of high-priority plants and plant products from the EU must have:
a phytosanitary certificate (PC)
a pre-notification submitted by the importer in England, Scotland or Wales for documentary and identity checks
a physical inspection at a Place of Destination (PoD).
From 1 January 2022 you must use the relevant IT system to notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or Forestry Commission (FC) that you’re importing regulated and notifiable plants and plant products.
From 1 July 2022 all regulated plants and plant products imported to England, Scotland or Wales from the EU must then have PCs. Get a phytosanitary certificate.
From 1 July 2022 more regulated EU plants and plant products will have identity and physical inspections and these will take place at authorised border control posts (BCPs) in GB, and inspections of high-priority plants and plant products will move from PoDs to BCPs.
GB's phased import regime:
On 14 September 2021, the government set out a new imports regime timeline, which included changes to the timing of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks on imports of live animals, products of animal origin, plants and plant products imported to GB from the EU. Find out more about the changes in the Question and Answer guide.
Before importing from the EU, you will need to check:
whether your products are subject to plant health controls
whether your product is high-priority and currently requires a PC and pre-notification
whether your product is regulated and requires pre-notification from 1 Jan 2022 and a PC from 1 July 2022.
Our summary guide shows which commodities need pre-notification and a PC, and when they will be required in 2021 and 2022.
If you are importing high-priority regulated plants, familiarise yourself with the process and actions that you need to take at each step. Make sure you also check the marketing standards in this narrative map and any potential CITES requirements. Scottish-based businesses can find specific guidance here.
The physical checks for regulated imports have been reduced; however, there are certain plants and plant products that are more at risk of disease and will require inspection and physical checks. Find further detail of the import's inspection prioritisation. There are certain products which pose high Xylella risk levels such as Coffee and Lavandulla – find out more about risk categorisation.
Place of Destination (PoD) Scheme:
The PoD scheme has been developed by Defra to facilitate plant health import checks post customs clearance on EU regulated goods inland, to prevent delays and disruption at the border. The scheme will be in place until 30 June 2022. If your consignments are dropped off at different premises or split across lorries, there is specific guidance for you to follow which outlines the PC and pre-notification requirements for different scenarios.
Find out more about the scheme in our Question and Answer Guide. For further operational guidance on the PoD scheme, please see the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) page and the APHA operational hours Question and Answer Guide.
Border Control Posts (BCPs) and Control Points (CPs):
From 1 July 2022, there will be new controls for importing plant and plant products from EU to GB, including the requirement for all regulated plants and plant products to have physical and identity checks upon entry into GB. These checks will either take place at BCPs or CPs. Read this guidance for loading and packaging best practice.
Watch the BCP and CP webinar.
Find out everything you need to know about CPs in the Question and Answer Guide
Fees and charges:
If you are importing from the EU into GB, there are fees that are applicable for import inspections on high-priority goods. Find out more about the fees and charges in this guidance and see an outline of how charges are calculated.
If you are importing from EU to GB, you must provide us with the advance notification of import using the ‘PEACH’ IT system. If you are unsure of how to use the system, check out this guide and these instructions on how to complete a spreadsheet to record details of imported plant materials. Make sure you also understand the registration requirements.
See more guidance on all IT systems.
Import special requirements:
If you are importing plants for planting and produce, there are special requirements, also known as additional declarations (ADs) which you must follow. Use the following tools and guidance to establish these requirements:
Once you have checked the requirements, please follow this guidance to help you understand how these work in practice.
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, certain easements were made to help businesses continue to import from the EU. These will be in place until 31 December 2021.