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BETA Your feedback will help us improve the UK Plant Health Information Portal

Factsheet: The Post-transition Period and Plant Passports

Plant Passports and the Post-Transition Period


The Plant Health Regulation (PHR) became applicable in the UK from 14 December 2019, introducing widespread changes to the UK’s plant passport regime. This EU legislation has continued to apply to the UK during the transition period which ends on 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, the UK plant passport regime will change to reflect post-transition period plant health regulation.

This factsheet outlines what will be changing for Plant Passports (PP) and what actions businesses in Great Britain (GB) need to take to be ready for 1 January. These changes apply to GB businesses involved in activities such as: the production, manufacture and supply of plants, seeds, timber and plant products. This is because Northern Ireland (NI) will remain part of the EU’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) zone after the end of the transition period.

Information regarding the plant passport regime on our Smarter Rules for Safer Food guidance page remains applicable, with the exception of the changes listed in this factsheet. That guidance remains live as EU legislation applies to the UK until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.  

Changes to GB legislation to prepare businesses for the post-transition period can be found on the Post-Transition Period guidance page on the Plant Health Portal and on GOV.UK.

If you are already authorised to issue PPs, you do not need a new authorisation to issue UK PPs. However, authorisations must be renewed on an annual basis, an audit inspection to check for compliance is also carried out on an annual basis. This is not affected by EU Exit.

From 1 January 2021:

  • EU PPs cannot be attached in GB. 
  • Until 30th June 2025 UK PPs may be affixed in EU member states, this is not the same as issuance. Further detail can be found in Section 6 of this factsheet.
  • An operator in the EU will not be able to issue a UK PP because they will not be authorised to do so under the GB Plant Health Regime.
  • A PP is not just a traceability document but attests that the plants covered by that PP have met the plant health standards of GB.


Changes will happen in the following areas: 

1. The content and format of the plant passport will change to differentiate EU from UK plant passports;

2. Guidance on when country of origin changes to UK will change for some commodities;

3. There will be changes to Protected Zones;

4. PPs will no longer be applicable for movements from GB to NI;

5. EUPPs will continue to be applicable for movements of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (QNIGs) from NI to GB. However, replacement PPs in GB in such cases may require further information to ensure they can still be identified as QNIGs even after the EUPP has been replaced; 

6. Imports from the EU will require a phytosanitary certificate (Plant Health certificate or PC). This means that if you move goods on an EU PP now without issuing your own plant passport for them, you may need to be authorised from 1 Jan 2021 to issue your own UKPPs.


1. Content & Format: 

  • The content and format of the PP will be changed in order to differentiate UK PPs from EU PPs, as the EU PP will no longer be recognised as an official label in GB.
  • A summary of changes is listed below, with illustrated templates in Annex I.

- There will be no flag on UK PPs;

-  The words ‘Plant Passport’ will be replaced with ‘UK Plant Passport’;

-  Section A (botanical names) will remain the same;

-  Section B (registration number) will no longer be prefixed with ‘GB’ because this prefix was only necessary on EU PPs to differentiate between member states;

-  Section C (traceability codes) will remain the same;

-  Section D (country of origin) will remain the same except for some plants for which we have national measures. Further details on this change can be found below in Section 2.

  • There will also be changes to ‘Protected Zone’ PPs. More detail can be found below in Section 3. Where a PP is combined with a certification label, the only changes to the Plant passport section will be the removal of the EU flag, and the words ‘Plant Passport’ will be replaced with ‘UK Plant Passport’. The certification part of the label will remain the same apart from: the wording “EU Rules and Standards” will be replaced by “GB Rules and Standards” (with the exception of fodder seed which remains “UK Rules and Standards”). 
  • Existing EU certification labels can continue to be used for the duration of 2021, therefore the requirement to state GB or UK Rules and Standards won't be necessary from 1 January 2021 while existing EU certification labels are continued to be used during 2021.  
  • For some ornamental and vegetable propagating material you will need a supplier document, this is an existing requirement and will remain in place after 1 January 2021. More information can be found on GOV.UK under the heading ‘Supplier document’.
  • For Conformitas Agraria Communitatis (CAC) fruit material you also need a supplier document in addition to the UK PP, this is an existing requirement and will remain in place after 1 January 2021. More information can be found on GOV.UK under the heading ‘Supplier document’.  
  • Old EU PP labels will remain valid if in circulation before 1 January 2021. From 1 January 2021 UK PPs should be issued to state compliance with GB’s post-transition period plant health regulations. 

2. Country of Origin

  • Current guidance on country of origin and when it can be considered to change to ‘GB’ can be found on GOV.UK under Part D of ‘Make a plant passport’.
  • The two-letter code ‘GB’ applies to the whole of the UK, including NI. 
  • Our guidance will change post transition period for the following list of commodities: 

-  Hosts of Xylella fastidiosa:

▪ Plants, other than fruit or seeds of Olea europaea (olive), Coffea (coffee), Polygala myrtifolia, Prunus dulcis (almond)

▪ Plants, other than seeds, intended for planting, of Lavandula sp. (lavender), Nerium oleander, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary).

-   Hosts of Ceratocystis platani (Canker Stain of plane):

▪ Plants of Platanus L., intended for planting, other than seeds.

  • The change means that these commodities must have been in the UK for a whole year following their import before a PP issued for their movement can list ‘GB’ as the country of origin. This applies regardless of whether they have been grown under protection or not in the UK. Therefore, you must keep records of importation date and other details to then amend the country of origin to GB twelve months after importation.
  • You can still market your plants for the first year after import, however during that first year they should only travel on a PP with the original country of origin listed in Part D, rather than ‘GB’.
  • All of the commodities listed above have national measures that will apply to them from 1 January 2021. More information on these measures can be found on our Plant Health Portal.
  • This policy will apply to the whole of the UK, including NI.


3. Changes to Protected Zones

  • GB will no longer use the EU designation of Protected Zones (PZs) after the transition period, and instead use the internationally recognised term of Pest Free Areas (PFA).
  • Protected Zone pests will either become GB quarantine pests (which are absent throughout GB), or PFA pests (which are absent in only part of GB).
  • Commodities which are hosts of GB quarantine pests will require standard UK PPs for their movement within GB.
  • Commodities which are hosts of PFA pests will require PFA UK PPs for their movement within GB.
  • The content and format of PFA UK PPs compared with the current PZ EU PP is illustrated in Annex I. The ‘pest codes’ will remain the same as before, either the scientific name of the pest or its EPPO code are appropriate.
  • For movements within GB, PFA UK PPs will only be required regarding oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea). The EPPO code for oak processionary moth is ‘THAUPR’.
  • For the oak processionary moth PFA, the relevant commodities and the special requirements for their movement will remain the same as they are for the existing Protected Zone (Plants for planting, other than fruits and seeds, of Quercus L., other than Quercus suber L., of a girth of at least 8 cm measured at a height of 1.2 m from the root collar).
  • A PFA also exists in the West of Scotland for three bark beetles (Ips cembrae, Ips sexdentatus and Dendroctonus micans), however commodities which are hosts of these pests will not require PFA PPs. This is because there are no special requirements on the movements of those commodities, but the PFA status means we can take statutory action if one of these pests is discovered in the PFA. This is consistent with the current PP regime for that PFA.
  • Information regarding PFAs and the Crown Dependencies is available in Annex II.
  • More information can be found here on GOV.UK under ‘Plant Passports’ and ‘Pest Free Areas’.


4. Movements from GB to NI

  • These movements will require PCs, not PPs, from 1 January 2021, further information is available on GOV.UK under point 5.
  • This is because NI will remain part of the EU’s SPS zone post-transition period.
  • For information on how to obtain a PC for your goods, please see our GOV.UK guidance.


5. Movements from NI to GB

  • The following requirements apply from 1st January 2021.
  • If you are an operator based in Great Britain (GB) and receive a consignment of plants or plant products from Northern Ireland which are Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (QNIGs) and subject to plant passport requirements, they will continue to arrive at your premises with an EU plant passport (PP) as they do now.
  • QNIGs are goods:
    •  in free circulation in NI - on the basis that they are not under customs supervision (except when that supervision arises from the goods being taken out of NI or the EU); or  
    • which have undergone processing operations in NI under the inward processing procedure, and only incorporate inputs which were in free circulation in the UK.
  • As these are QNIGs you do not need to routinely replace this EU PP with a UK PP, and the goods may be moved on under their EU PP unless:

- You split the consignment and the new ‘units’ (these may be trolleys, pallets, boxes, bags or similar) no longer have a PP attached to them; or

- You choose to replace the plant passport (e.g. to include your supplier’s details for business purposes);

  • If any of the above points apply, a UK plant passport could be issued without a full examination of the plants taking place before onward movement, this is in line with current guidance on when to replace a plant passport.
  • However, in the case of replacing a plant passport on a QNIG you must put the code ‘GB(NI)’ in Part E of that replacement UK plant passport, to help maintain their identity as QNIGs.
  • This is to aid monitoring of compliance with plant passporting requirements, including the specific provisions for QNIGs.  This will help ensure that it is easily visible whether a good has originated outside of GB’s phytosanitary zone, yet may not have undergone full 3rd country checks, which will be important for tracing purposes in the event of a pest or disease finding.
  • However, if the phytosanitary status of your consignment changes for example because:

- Traceability has not been maintained; 

- There is a pest or disease issue with the consignment;

- The plants have been ‘grown on’;

  • Then a full examination will need to be carried out on the plants, confirming they are fully aligned with GB plant health standards, in which case a standard UK plant passport with Part E left blank could be issued.
  • Guidance on when plants have been grown on is available on GOV.UK here under Part D of ‘Make a Plant Passport.’


6. Imports with EUPPs

  • Imports from the EU which currently arrive into GB with an EU PP will have to be imported with a PC post-transition period. More information about imports from the EU from 1st January 2021 can be found on GOV.UK.
  • The process for replacing a PC with a PP will remain the same, and the replacement should take place at the First Place of Destination.
  • If the commodities you trade in require a PP now, but you simply move them on under their existing EU PP, from 1 January 2021 you may need to be authorised to issue a UK PP for them. If you are already authorised to issue PPs then you don’t need a new authorisation to do this. More detail regarding cases where you need to issue a UK PP are below.
  • EU PPs do not need to be invalidated when they enter GB, as the format is different to the UK PP they can easily be differentiated, and the EU PP considered invalid automatically.
  • If you brought in goods under a PC, you only need to issue a UK PP for your goods if you are:

a. Moving them to another professional operator;

b. Selling them to final users (those buying for personal use) by means of distance contract, e.g. online;

c. Moving them to another of your own premises which is more than 10 miles from the premises to which the consignment arrived;

d. If the phytosanitary status of the consignment changes, for example, if it has been grown on (more information on what is classed as growing on can be found on GOV.UK under Part D of ‘Make a plant passport’), or if they have been reconfigured (e.g. two plants in separate pots have been planted up in a new pot together).

  • UK plant passports can be attached in an EU member state, under certain circumstances (see below), until 30 June 2023. The passport must comply with UK regulations and will have no legal status in the steps detailed below are completed at the first place of destination in GB.

    • The allowance to attach UK PPs in an EU member state will be extended, with some changes (see below), for a further 12 months and will now end on 30th June 2023.
    • The extension only  applies to plants that are intended for final users[1].
    • This extends only to the act of ‘attaching’ a UKPP. EU operators will not be authorised to ‘issue’ UKPPs. This means that it will be the GB operator who is responsible for the first place of destination of the relevant consignment who will need to be authorised to issue those plant passports and would be responsible for record keeping. The GB operator would also be audited under the plant passport regime. It is the GB operator’s registration number that will go in Part B of the UKPP.
    • The plants would travel to GB under a phytosanitary certificate and are subject to official inspections as needed at BCPs/CPs.
    • Upon arrival at first place of destination, the plants should be examined by the authorised business.
    • UKPPs attached in EU MS will be considered as ‘draft’ and will have no legal status until the plants have passed this examination by the GB authorised business. Once the examination is successfully completed, the UKPP can be ‘issued’ and the ‘draft’ status removed.
    • Should the plants fail this examination, the draft PP must be removed. The issue should then be corrected to ensure compliance with PP requirements (and a new PP issued) or the plants must be destroyed. If a Quarantine Pest is found, the plants should be held and a Plant Health Inspector should be immediately notified.
    • A record of the examination should be kept and plant health inspectors will audit this during annual visits.
    • No change is needed to the format of the UKPP. You will not be required to make changes directly to the UKPP to mark it as ‘draft’ or ‘issued’. The UKPPs, attached in an EU member state, should be in the UK standard format (outlined in Section 1 and Annex I of the factsheet) and should be attached correctly. Guidance on attachment is available on GOV.UK and our Plant Health Portal.
    • Non-compliances will be the responsibility of the GB operator and may prevent plants from being able to move on from  premises.

    [1] intended for final users: means intended, by evidence from the packaging, labelling or by other means, for direct sale to final users 

  • Information on how to become registered and authorised to issue PPs can be found on GOV.UK. This process will not change post-transition period.


What does your businesses need to do now? 

  1. Check if you trade in products that require a UK PP post-transition period, the current list is available on GOV.UK.
  2. Ensure you are registered as a professional operator with the relevant plant health authority and that you have applied for authorisation to issue PPs if necessary. 
  3. Ensure you are aware of the new UK PP format that is required from 1 January 2021. See Annex I for examples and the Plant Health Portal for templates.
  4. Read guidance on what inspections you may need regarding pests and diseases that your plants or plant products may be hosts of in order to issue a PP. Check the Defra Plant Health Risk Register for updates. A Pest and Disease Index is being developed to make it easier to find the relevant information.


Where can I find more information? 

  • For information about plant health and the post transition period visit GOV.UK and the Plant Health Portal.
  • For more information on Plant Health Regulations, visit the SRSF GOV.UK page 
  • For more information on plant health controls and resources such as information on pests and diseases, visit the Plant Health Portal 
  • For more information on issuing plant passports visit GOV.UK
  • For any technical help in England and Wales, you can email your questions to: planthealth.info@apha.gov.uk  
  • For Scotland please contact SASA
  • For Northern Ireland please see contact DAERA
  • For queries on timber plant passporting contact: plant.health@forestrycommission.gov.uk


Annex I



Annex II

Pest Free Area pests of the Crown Dependencies

PFA UK plant passports will be required for the commodities in this annex when travelling to the relevant PFA.

With the exception of the Jersey PFA for Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (Chalara/ ash dieback), all of these PFAs are the same in nature as the PZs which preceded them. 

6-letter EPPO codes for the pests are listed after their common name.



• Thaumetopoea processionea (oak processionary moth, THAUPR);

    o Plants for planting, other than fruits and seeds, of Quercus, other than Quercus suber, of a girth of at least 8 cm measured at a height of 1.2 m from the root collar.

Isle of Man:

• Thaumetopoea processionea (oak processionary moth, THAUPR);

    o Plants for planting, other than fruits and seeds, of Quercus, other than Quercus suber, of a girth of at least 8 cm measured at a height of 1.2 m from the root collar.


• Cephalcia lariciphila (European web spinning larch sawfly, CEPCAL);

    o Plants for planting of Larix

• Erwinia amylovora (fireblight, ERWIAM)

    o Parts of plants (other than fruit and seeds) and plants intended for planting, but including live pollen for pollination of Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Eriobotrya, Malus, Mespilus, Photinia davidiana, Pyracantha, Pyrus and Sorbus.

• Gilpinia hercyniae (European spruce sawfly, GILPPO)

     o Plants for planting of Picea

• Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (Chalara/ ash dieback, CHAAFR)

    o Plants for planting, seeds and wood that retains any of its natural round surface of: Fraxinus excelsior (common ash), Fraxinus angustifolia (narrow-leaved ash), Fraxinus ornus (manna ash), Fraxinus chinensis (Chinese ash), Fraxinus mandshurica (Manchurian ash), Fraxinus nigra (black ash), Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash) and Fraxinus americana (white ash

• Thaumetopoea processionea (oak processionary moth, THAUPR)

    o Plants for planting, other than fruits and seeds, of Quercus, other than Quercus suber, of a girth of at least 8 cm measured at a height of 1.2 m from the root collar.