Importing horses to Finland from non-EU countries

hevoset_tunnistusasiakirja_1.pdfPlease note! You can find Finnish national legislation at Finlex and EU legislation at EUR-Lex links on the right margin. Guidance for searching decisions of the EU legislation you can find here.

Horses to be imported are classified into:

  • registered horses (in Finland registered in accordance with the Act on Horse Keeping 796/1993 or otherwise Directive 90/472/EEC)
  • horses intended for breeding and training (in practice this means all horses apart from registered and slaughter horses)
  • slaughter horses (horses imported for slaughter and transported to slaughterhouse)

The animal disease requirements relating to imports of horses from non-EU countries (third countries) are set out in Decree MMMa 468/2006 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (paragraph 22 of the Eb index of Finnish veterinary legislation). Importers of horses should acquaint themselves thoroughly with this legislation and with veterinary legislation paragraphs Eb 1 and Eb 6 in as amended.

Horses may be imported to Finland only from the countries listed in the annex in Eb22 in veterinary legislation. These countries are divided into various groups based on the health requirements. Safeguard measures issued by the Commission also place restrictions on imports. You can access the Directives and Decisions mentioned in these guidelines using the links at the end of Eb22 (MMMa 468/2006) (or possible subsequent amendments of these). In each case, select the most recent consolidated version or, where the consolidated version does not contain the most recent amendment, the most recent amendment. Use the upper bar to select the language.

Health certificate and identification document

Horses that are imported must be accompanied for the duration of their transport by a health certificate of a model corresponding to the type of import, and an identification document conforming to 90/472/EEC and issued by the competent authority in the Member State concerned in either Finnish, Swedish or English, and, if the destination of the horse is another Member State, also in the official language of the country of destination. A health certificate is issued in the country of origin when an official health inspection is carried out. The models of health certificate for each type of import contain detailed conditions which imports must meet. If a horse is in transit via Finland to another EU Member State or a third country, it must also meet the requirements of the country of destination.

The model of health certificate to use depends on whether the horse is being imported
a) for a temporary stay
b) for reasons other than a temporary stay (link to models "Importing horses from Russia")
c) back to Finland from a third country following a temporary stay
d) for slaughter
e) is the horse transiting from a third country to another third country

N.B. The applicable model of certificate is the TRACES model, the content of which is the same as in the model of certificate complying with Commission Decision 93/197 and for temporary import 92/260/EEC (links in the margin for imports from Russia). If a horse imported from Russia does not have an identification document issued by the competent authority in Russia, the official veterinarian should enter the number of the health certificate on the identification document, e.g. in the top right-hand corner (this also applies to imports from other countries). A health certificate is valid for 10 days.

Laboratory tests

For more detailed information on laboratory tests for temporary imports from Turkey and permanent imports from Turkey, Kirgistan, Belarus, Croatia, Macedonia, Russia, Ukraine and Serbia, go to the link on the right "Evira-approved laboratories". If the animal’s destination is another MemberState, tests performed by approved laboratories in that Member States are accepted. The laboratory’s original test result sheet must be attached to the health certificate accompanying the horses. The laboratory does not have to be approved unless that is a requirement of the model of health certificate.

When animals are imported from countries other than the above the laboratory does not have to be specifically approved by Evira. If a horse is imported permanently from Russia to Finland, the closest approved testing laboratories are the All-Russia Research Institute -VIEV in Moscow, the Tallinn Veterinary and Food Laboratory in Tallinn and Evira in Helsinki. For temporary imports from Russia, an Evira-approved laboratory is not required, as explained in the link to "Evira-approved laboratories".

Horses must arrive for veterinary border inspection within 21 days of blood samples being taken. Find directions for testing and sending samples in the margin. All the import requirements, including laboratory tests, are given in the relevant model of health certificate for the type of import. For example, for horses imported permanently from Russia to Finland, the laboratory tests required are a Coggins’ test for infectious anemia, a complement fixation test for dourine and a complement fixation test for glanders. For male horses aged over 180 days, there are further requirements regarding equine viral arteritis. For temporary imports, only a Coggins’ test is required.

Approved points of arrival

Horses may only be imported into the EU from a non-EU country via a border-crossing point where there is a veterinary border inspection post approved for inspecting horses. In Finland there is only one veterinary border inspection post approved for inspecting horses: the Vaalimaa road crossing. At present it is not permitted to import horses into Finland on a direct flight from a non-EU country. For example a stop-over is needed at an airport in another EU country with a veterinary border inspection post approved to inspect horses. The veterinary border inspection post conducts a veterinary border inspection on the horses as prescribed in the Regulation in paragraph Eb 6 of veterinary legislation.

The contact details of border inspection posts in EU countries can be found on the Commission’s website. Border inspection posts approved to inspect horses are marked with the letter E in column 6. Well before the date of importation, importers should contact the border inspection post in the relevant EU country, where in principle the same provisions apply as in Finland, to check that the BIP is approved to inspect horses.

Prior notification and TRACES

Importers must make prior notification of the horse’s arrival to the veterinary border inspection post at the latest one working day before importation using the internet-based TRACES system (link in the margin).

Vaalimaa opening hours

Vaalimaa BIP is usually open only between 8:00-15:45 Mo-Fr. Inspections outside of working hours are not performed at all

There might be some exceptions for the opening hours and therefore the importer must always agree the border inspection time with the border veterinarian.

NB! Please always contact in advance: vaalimaa at-merkki-kapea.gif : 0 kB You must wait for the confirmation from the border veterinarian for the border inspection before crossing the border.

A fee is charged for veterinary border inspection, and at Vaalimaa this can only be paid in cash. The information of the fees collected starting from point 5.2. for veterinary border inspection.

Veterinary border inspection

For more detailed information on veterinary border inspection, please check information in the margin.

Transport of horses

Section 11 of Eb 22 and further information in the link “transport of animals” on the right. Transport of one’s own exercising horses is NOT considered transport of horses for commercial purposes, nor is transport of horses owned by another person provided that the transportation does not aim at a financial gain. In general, the transport of horses in trailers is not commercial, unless the transport is undertaken with the aim of a financial gain. As long as that is not the case, the provisions of the Transport Regulation do not apply.

Making a temporary import permanent

The Finnish Food Safety Authority may, on application, grant a registered horse imported for a temporary stay permission to remain in the country permanently, on condition that the horse met the conditions for permanent importation before it was imported and that there is no risk of animal diseases spreading if the horse stays in the country permanently. The application must be made before the end of the temporary import period.

Transit from a non-EU country to another non-EU country through Finland

The transit requirements for horses are found in the commission decision 2010/57/EU.

Only the horses originating from the countries set by the decision 2010/57/EU (same countries, where import and temporary import is allowed) are allowed for transit. Information that must be included in the animal health certificate for transit is also included in the decision. You can find the decision 2010/57/EU in the link on the right.


Related topics

TRACES -model health certificates

Identification documents