This is a step-by-step guide on how to export live horses overseas.
We recommend that you contact a transport company or a registered veterinarian. They can help you with the export process, including:
- preparing horses for export
- meeting importing country requirements
- transport logistics.
You do not need an export licence to export a horse overseas.
If you want to return the horse to Australia, contact our imports team as early as possible.
Horses are usually exported by air. If you are considering exporting a horse by sea, contact our regional office in the state or territory of departure to discuss as early as possible.
Each country has their own import health requirements for horses. These can be complex. You may need to arrange testing, treatments, examinations and a period of isolation.
For more details:
- review the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor)
- contact the relevant authority of the importing country.
You may need an import permit for some countries. The permit may specify the health requirements you will need to meet.
You must complete a Notice of Intention (NOI) to Export Live Animals (other than Livestock) form.
If an import permit is needed, submit it with the NOI and any supporting information.
We can only accept official documentation issued by the relevant importing country government as the basis for issuing export health certificates. If relevant documents are not in English, you must provide a certified translation by a NAATI 2/3 level translator or equivalent.
Email our regional office in the state or territory the horse will leave from. Do this at least 10 days before the start of isolation or departure date (if isolation is not required).
We will assess your NOI application and advise you if approved. If we cannot approve your NOI, we will let you know why.
We charge a fee to assess an NOI application.
Approval of the NOI does not necessarily mean that we will issue the export permit and health certificate. These will only be issued once we are satisfied that the horse has been prepared in accordance with the importing country's requirements and complies with Australian export legislation.
Some countries require a period of pre-export isolation.
We must approve pre-export isolation premises before isolation can commence.
Where pre-export isolation is required, contact the regional office in the state or territory you are exporting from to arrange inspection of your proposed pre-export isolation premises. You must submit the NOI before they inspect the premises.
When your NOI is approved you can prepare the horse for export. Depending on what is required by the importing country, this may include undertaking pre-export isolation, testing, treatments, examinations and preparing your documentation for the export permit and health certificate.
The documentation needed for an export permit and a health certificate may include:
- import permits, and accredited translations where required
- vaccination certificates
- treatment, testing, isolation, and examination declarations
- laboratory reports
- property clearances from state and territory governments
- horse identification (such as a graphic ID).
We need to inspect all horses before export.
You will need to arrange an inspection appointment with us. We usually inspect horses at the airport before departure or loading. This occurs within 72 hours of departure, or a period set by the importing country. Book by contacting our regional office in the state or territory the horse will depart from.
You will need to provide us with all documentation that has been completed to demonstrate you have met the importing country requirements. You must provide all documents prior to your inspection appointment.
Our certifying veterinary officer will determine whether the horse is eligible for export. This decision is based on the inspection outcome and the documents provided.
We will issue your export permit and health certificate when:
- you have met the importing country’s pre-export requirements
- your consignment complies with Australian export legislation
We charge a time-based fee for the export permit and health certificate.
Information on fees, invoicing and payment can be found in our charging guidelines.
Once you hold an export permit and health certificate, you can export your horse.