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Import of High Priority Regulated Plants (including plants for planting)

Narrative Version

Import of High Priority Regulated Plants (including plants for planting)*   

Updated September 2021

* Goods moving from Ireland to GB will not be subject to the new import controls being implemented in January and July 2022.


  1. Prepare for import
  2. Phytosanitary Certificate (PC)
  3. Prepare for shipping
  4. Arrives in GB


1. Prepare for import




Import Guidance here:




Importer and export applies for an EORI number


This action is for the exporter 

  • This is a customs requirement.
  • Every EU business exporting goods will need an EORI number from a customs authority in the EU even if they use a forwarder or a customs agent for export declarations.
  • A business can apply for an EORI number from customs authorities across the EU. More here
  • You need an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods into GB from 1 January 2021
  • The link is here



EU exporter checks GB requirements 


This action is for the EU exporter 

EU exporters will need to check:

  •  The requirement for a phyto sanitary certificate (PC)
    •   From January 2021 all high priority plants will need a PC
    •   Is my plant/plant product high priority? A list of high priority goods can be found at
    •   Is my plant or plant material regulated? A list of regulated plants can be found here  
  •   Requirement for Pest checks
  •   As some pests will only display symptoms at certain times of the year you need to ensure testing or growing season inspection have been undertaken.
  •   Contact your plant health authority in the EU to find out if your plants need these tests and arrange for an inspection to be undertaken by the EU Competent Authority (CA) before applying for a PC.

  Exporter to register as a professional operator on EU CA system



This action is for the Exporter

  •   Anyone who exports to GB will need to be registered with the EU CA. They need to contact their EU CA. Contact points are available for Member States (MSs) here 






  Importer/exporter checks that the transport route and POD/BCP is appropriate for the consignment






This action is for the exporter/importer


  • Between January 2021 and July 2022 APHA Plant Health are using Places of Destination (POD) or an established BCP (ie as used by airfeight) to conduct physical checks on high priority plants and plant products
    • If exporters use a POD for the import check, they will need to make sure that the POD is registered with the relevant CA as a valid inspection point and that the POD meets certain requirements. They must also check they list the POD as part of their pre-notification as the point for consignment inspection.
    • Wherever you decide the place of destination is, this needs to be registered
    • If the consignment is split on arrival and arrives at different places of destination these all need to be registered   and you will need separate pre-notifications and PCs
    • PODs must meet certain minimum requirements. Details on this can be found on Any premises wishing to act as a POD must register with either APHA or with Scottish Government in Scotland. They only need to register once to act as a POD, at which point the premises can then be listed on import pre-notifications as the point for physical inspection of the goods.
    • More information on PODs can be found here.  
    • From July 2022 these checks will take place at BCPs




  Is the importer   registered on the agreed import IT system?


This step is for the importer

  • The importer and importer’s agent, needs to register on the relevant import notification system for plant health purposes prior to importing to ensure no delays to the consignment.
  • If your plants or plant product lands/arrives in England, Wales or Scotland you will need to use the correct pre-notification IT system:
    •   From 1 January this will be PEACH
    •   In 2021 (exact date tbc) this will on the new plant health IT service  


2. Phytosanitary Certificate (PC)



EU exporter applies for PC from EU CA




This action is for the exporter 

  • This will be a different process in different Member States (MSs) so the EU exporter will need to contact the plant health authority in your MS
  • The following steps and processes are largely similar in each MS
  • Note you will need a separate PC for every separate consignee/destination


EU CA receive and process PC application



Steps   3 - 5

These actions are for the EU Competent Authority


  •   Fees may be different in different Member States but processes will largely be the same.




EU CA carries out inspection


These actions are for the EU Competent Authority




Does EU CA issue PC?


These actions are for the EU Competent Authority

  •   As a result of the inspection the PC may not be issued in which case the export cannot occur.  
  •   If yes go to next step.



EU CA issues PC to EU exporter to include with the consignment


These actions are for the exporter/importer

  • High priority plants must travel with an original phytosanitary certificate.
  • A scanned copy should be provided with any pre-notification of import to the GB CA through PEACH or the new plant health IT service. Within 3 days of a consignment reaching the UK, the original PC must be provided to the plant health authority.
  • As a temporary measure, there are currently Covid-19 easements in place which recognize that original copies may be delayed as a result of disruptions in the country of dispatch.



EU exporter notifies GB importer 


  • The EU exporter provides a copy of the PC to the GB importer.
  • In general, the exporter will share the PC with the importer and they will provide it to their Customs Agent.


3. Prepare for shipping49


Importer/agent submits notification for some plants for plant health purposes to GB CA


These actions are for the exporter/importer


  •   From January 2021 pre-notification is required for high priority plants/plant products.
  •   Note you will need a separate pre –notification for every different consignee/destination    
  •   The IT systems used to facilitate the pre-notification of the imports of plants and plant products for plant health purposes will be changing, moving from the current PEACH system to a new service 
    •   From 1 January 2021 this will be PEACH
    •   In 2021 (exact date tbc) this will be the new plant health IT service
  • You should continue to use the existing system (PEACH) until you are directed to register and use the new IT service. The timing and sequencing of this migration will ensure a smooth and orderly transfer between systems, and will allow sufficient time for you to become familiar with the new service. We will be providing comprehensive training and support during and after migration. 
  • The GB CA in England and Wales is APHA and Scottish Government in Scotland.  


Exporter sends goods with the PC and other documents


These actions are for the exporter

  •   Consignments will have to be exported before the end of the validity period of a PC.
  •   Goods are accompanied by PC, (when relevant ie January 2021 onwards for high priority and July 2022 onwards all other regulated plant/plant products) invoice, and commercial documents.
  •   Quite often agents will provide other documents to APHA and Scottish Government to corroborate the info on a PC. This may include the Bill of Lading or an Airway Bill. These are commercial documents that contain references that primarily provide information to port   operators.



Complete export customs declaration on EU MS Customs platform

From January 2021


These actions are for the exporter


  • Submit a Safety and Security declaration and an export customs declaration through the MS platform
  • This is required at the point of export from the MS and before the point of import in GB




Submit imports declaration on   CHIEF/CDS

Since January 2022


These actions are for the importer


  • Import declarations for all plants/plant products are deferred for the first 12 months as plant health goods are not on the controlled list until January 2022.
  • This means that between January 2021 and December 2021 you can choose to either make a simplified (frontier) customs declaration and provide a supplementary declaration within 6 months of import OR use existing customs process to complete a full imports declaration at the point of entry to GB. 
  • Since January 2022, a S&S declaration will also be required in addition to the import customs declaration submitted through CHIEF/CDS. This is not a delayed requirement, nothing is required before January 2022 so there are no retrospective S&S declarations needed to cover Jan 21 –  Dec 21.
  • Please note these dates may be subject to change.




4. Arrives in GB



What to do when you get to the Border (GB)

Import Controls 


Import Checks: High priority plants and plant products which will require a phytosanitary certificate (PC), document checks and pre-notification of import from 1 January 2021.

The physical checks on high priority goods will be perfumed on a risk basis at the place of destination (PODs) or established BCPs from January 2021. From July 2022 physical checks must be performed at BCPs.


Goods arrive in GB






Actions that need to be taken at the GB Border


  • Checks can occur at multiple locations between January 2021 and July 2022, including Places of Destination (PODs) or established  Border Control Posts (BCPs) ie airfreight
  • Plant health are using PODs to conduct checks from 1 January 2021 for high priority plants.
  • From July 2022 risk based physical checks will be required on all goods pre-notified on the new plant health IT service and will be carried out at BCPs.
  •  As we have said before PODs must meet certain minimum requirements. Details on this can be found at Any premises wishing to act as a POD must register with either APHA or with Scottish Government in Scotland in order to do so in advance. They only need to register once to act as a POD, at which point the premises can then be listed on import pre-notifications as the point for physical inspection of the goods.
  • More information on PODs and their minimum requirements can be found here.



From January

GB CA conducts documentary check


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority


  • For any goods pre notified on plant health systems (PEACH and/or on the new plant health IT service)  the GB CA will carry out document checks on the PC in order to ensure that it conforms to the required standards and fulfils the criteria for the material imported.
  • This takes place at the office and is not a physical check 




Do goods pass document checks?


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority


  •   If No, go to step 14 and if Yes go to step 16




Goods are held until correct documents can be produced.


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority 


  •  If the PC fails the document check the importer will be given 5 working days in which to obtain a correct certificate.



Can correct documents be provided?


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority 


  •   If they cannot – the GB CA will discuss potential compliance options with the importer



From January

Goods may be selected for physical and identity checks?


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority


  •   From January 2021 high priority goods will be subject to risk based physical and identity checks.
  •   Physical and identity checks consist of visual inspections of goods to ensure they are pest free and to verify the content and labelling of a consignment. These checks also confirm the amounts of the goods, to ensure the correct quantity of the consignment.
  •   An increased number of plant health physical and identity checks of other plant products will be introduced from July 2022 on a risk based approach.  


Do goods require   laboratory testing?


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority


  •   At point of destination GB CA may carry out laboratory testing to understand whether a pest is present. The goods must be held on site without tampering until the results have been received.


  •   If No go to next step. If Yes go to step 19.



Do goods pass physical and identity checks?


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority 


  •   If No go to step 19. If Yes go to step 23





For lab tests goods   are sampled and detained until results received.


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority


  •  GB CA record sample data on their system and a notice holding the goods is served on the person in control of the goods.




Do goods pass   laboratory testing?


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority 


  •   If No go to step 21 If Yes got to step 23 



Non-compliant consignment updated on GB CA system


Actions to be taken by the GB Competent Authority 


  •   A statutory notice must be issued by the inspectorate to the person in control of the goods to notify them of the outcome and the action required in response to the non-compliance.




Goods seized, re-exported or destroyed


This actions to be done by GB Border

  •   Occasionally goods may be processed to remove the risk.
  •   If this is the case then this is the end of the process




GB CA updates system   with outcome of inspection


This action is for the GB Competent Authority




GB system receives update and a decision is required if goods can be released


This actions is to be done by GB Border


  •   If yes go to step 25. If no go to step 26.




Goods are released to importer.


This action is to be done by the GB Border

  •   From January 2021 – released automatically
  •   From July 2022 (when the goods are classified as controlled) an automated customs release of goods will be arranged – in Scotland this will be via a paper quarantine release certificate being issued   until they are linked to the new plant health IT service  




Goods may be held for other reasons, such as Marketing Standards fraud/smuggling/not   paying a tariff


This actions is to be done by GB Border


  •   This can include HMI, Scottish Government and other government agencies such as UKBF
  •   This is relevant for goods that have had physical checks.
  •   If this is the case, the process ends here



Goods arrive with customer


This action is for the importer/exporter


  • Certain goods will require a Plant Passport for onward movement in GB after arrival at destination. You must be authorised to   issue plant passports if you wish to move these goods. 
  • Visit for guidance.
  • This includes all plants for planting as well as some other plant products. The list is publicly available here in Annex 13.






 This is the end of the process.