Horse Passport Regulations – General information
- All equines must have a passport, which must be with the animal at all times. This requires registration with a recognised Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO).
- Equines to be registered must be identified and microchipped by a veterinary surgeon. DNA must be taken by the vet at the same time and submitted with the application. DNA kits are available from the Administration Office or from our passport administrators.
- All equines must be in possession of a passport before they are six months old, or by 31 December in the year they are born, whichever is later. We are now obliged to report late registrations to Trading Standards. Late registrations have to be signed out of the food chain.
- You must be the owner of a horse to register it. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure a passport is obtained within the time scale prescribed by law.
- If you buy or have bred an unregistered equine that is over the age or the date deadline, you must register the animal immediately. Owners of unregistered equines run the risk of prosecution.
- It is an offence to sell an equine without a passport. Transfers of ownership must be notified within 28 days.
- If you need a replacement passport for an equine that is already registered, please see the Guidance Notes on Duplicate Passports.
- The passport remains the property of the Society at all times and must be returned to the Society for amendment on request, and when the horse dies. In the latter case, it may be returned to the owner on request after it has been invalidated.
Why does your horse need a passport?
According to the law in Great Britain the Horse Passport Regulations of 2009 require all equines to have a passport, which must be with them at all times. This requires registration with a recognised Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO).
What does an IDHS (GB) passport look like?
The current passport for both purebred and sport horses has a bright green plastic cover with a gold logo on the front. They have a clear window with the horse’s name, year of birth, UELN and microchip number. Utility passports issued by the Society have a clear cover.
When must I return my passport to the Passport Administrator?
- When you buy a horse –complete the transfer form in the back of the passport or from our website.
- When you name a previously unnamed horse
- When you decide to share your ownership of the horse with another person When your horse is inspected; the front page must be replaced to show the grade awarded
- When your horse is signed out of the food chain by you and your vet for medication or other reasons 6) If the passport is badly damaged, or an old passport (pre-2004) with no medication (Section IX) pages
- When your horse dies.
Updating Horse Sport Ireland passports for horses living in Great Britain
Due to Brexit, the European (EU) Breeding Regulation no longer applies in the United Kingdom. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has drawn up its own rules for passport-issuing organisations in England, Wales and Scotland. Equines in Northern Ireland are not affected by this change.
Historically, regulated changes to passports for Irish-bred horses, such as upgrading HSI foal identity documents to full pedigree passports, naming and transfers of ownership, always had to be completed by Horse Sport Ireland (HSI).
The passport would then be sent to the IDHS (GB) passport administrators for overstamping. This is a legal requirement, so that this information can be uploaded to the Central Equine Database. Up until recently, owners of Irish-bred horses had to send the passport to Horse Sport Ireland first, and then to us.
As a result of Brexit, no passport-issuing organisation in Great Britain is permitted to process any passports for animals living outside Great Britain. This is reciprocal; i.e. Horse Sport Ireland is not allowed to process passports for animals living outside the island of Ireland.
On 10 June, we received definitive guidance on the procedures for updating Horse Sport Ireland passports if the horses are living in the UK. We can now offer the following services for those horses:
- Naming, re-naming (Irish passports only), changes of ownership, addition of microchip numbers and other minor changes.
- Overstamping: If you have imported an Irish Draught or Irish Draught Sport Horse from the Republic of Ireland (or any other country outside the UK), you MUST ensure that the passport is over-stamped by a Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) in the UK, so that the animal’s record can be included on the Central Equine Database.
- Duplicate passports where the original is lost, stolen or damaged
- Upgrading Irish foal papers (identity documents) to a full passport once DNA parentage testing has been confirmed. If you want an Irish full passport for your Irish-bred foal or young horse, please arrange to have this work done before you import the animal. Once it is in Great Britain, it must have an IDHS (GB) full passport.
The fee structure will be kept under review, but is in line with the fees for passport services for British-bred horses. Thank you for your patience while we were waiting for guidance from Defra and DAFM.
Under what circumstances would my horse be signed out of the food chain?
If you apply for registration after the legal time limit. PIOs have a legal obligation to report this to the relevant enforcement body. The rule is that the application must be received by 31st December or the age of six months, whichever is the later.
- Older horses whose passports have no Section IX.
- If a duplicate or replacement passport is issued.
- If there has been any suspicion of passport tampering.
- If the horse’s identity is not clear; e.g. it has two microchips or the microchip cannot be located.
- Horses whose markings do not match the marking chart.
- When the horse has been given any of a wide range of medications.
I have rescued a horse with no passport. What should I do?
Defra acknowledges that horses, ponies and donkeys that are genuinely rescued may not have a passport when they change hands. Owners who rescue an animal without a passport, must apply for a passport immediately on acquiring the animal. They won’t risk prosecution, so long as they apply promptly.
What is a temporary passport document and how can it be used?
These can only be issued if we hold the full passport in the office. The owner has to return any temporary passport document before we can send out the full passport, or it has to expire (45 days from issue). Vets cannot administer medicines that would cause the horse to be signed out of the food chain, on a temporary document. Horses may not be sent for slaughter or exported, on a temporary document.
What kind of anti-fraud checks does the Society do?
When a passport returns to our office for any reason, it must now be checked for compliance with EU requirements and against our own database. In particular, it must have sections I, III, IV, and VI to IX present and correct.
Replacement passports are only issued if there is no other passport in circulation. To obtain a passport to replace one that is genuinely lost or damaged, PIOs have to satisfy themselves that this is the true situation, so there are special forms to apply for a replacement passport.
How do I avoid breaching the Horse Passport Regulations?
As a PIO, we act as an agency of Defra and with delegated authority. This means that we have legal obligations to them and if we do not meet those, we will lose our PIO status. We will support and advise our members in every way possible, we cannot condone or ignore breaches of regulations. For example, we are now legally bound to report all offences, which include:
- Applying for a passport outside the time limit (unless the animal was purchased or rescued without one);
- Applying for a passport when one already exists for that animal;
- Failure to notify the PIO of change of owner details within 30 days;
- Failure to return the passport for updating within six weeks of a request by the Society for its return (e.g. following an inspection);
- Signs of unofficial changes, tampering or fraud;
I want to register my foal – what do I need to do?
An identity diagram is required to register all horses irrespective of the category they are in. This must always be completed by a vet, who will also insert a microchip. The Society does not have its own microchips, so this is supplied by your vet.
The first step is to choose which register you need: Registration information is divided into three categories. For each category there are notes for guidance and an application form. DNA information is also available on this site.
- Purebred foals are registered in the Main Studbook.
- Sport Horse foals must have a minimum of 25% documented Irish Draught breeding.
- Utility Passports are available for any equine, of any species, that has no documented pedigree.
I already have a passport from another organisation, but want it overstamped by the IDHS (GB). Where do I find the form?
Overstamping for purebred and sport horse owners, will enable you to show your horse at our affiliated shows around the country, see the Overstamping section on the Passport page
I have lost my passport, which came from Horse Sport Ireland. What do I do now?
Go to Horse Sport Ireland’s website and click on the Breeding link: http://www.horsesportireland.ie/passports/
Select the ‘replacement passport’. Irish passports can only be amended or replaced by Horse Sport Ireland.
I have lost my passport, which was an IDHS (GB) document. What should I do?
Download the Duplicate Passport Application form to request a replacement.
My horse’s passport has been stolen. What should I do?
- Contact the police where the offence was committed, Trading Standards in your home area, and then our Administrator immediately to report the theft.
- Obtain a crime reference number from the police.
Stolen passports may be used in passport fraud cases, and they also contain personal data, which could have major implications for you, so this is a serious matter. Keep your passports in a safe place