Bringing ornamental aquatic animals into Sweden

There are rules that you have to follow if you want to bring ornamental aquatic animals or aquarium fish to Sweden. The rules are intended to protect the environment and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Since ornamental animals live without coming into contact with natural watercourses, the rules for the protection against infectious diseases are less stringent when it comes to ornamental aquatic animals than other aquatic animals.

If the animals are changing owners, or if someone else is transporting the animals

Please note that you must follow the rules for trade with animals if

  • the animals are being brought into Sweden to change owners
  • you are not travelling together with your animals, within 5 days before or after the animals are transported.

Protected species

Certain species are covered by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. When you bring animals belonging to these species into Sweden, there are special rules that you must follow. This applies both to trade within the EU and trade with countries outside the EU.

Species may also be covered by the Species Protection Regulation, which complements the provisions of the CITES Convention. The Species Protection Regulation is intended to protect European species of wild fauna and flora by regulating how these species may be traded and kept.

You are responsible for ensuring that the rules are followed

It is your responsibility when bringing animals into the country to ensure that the rules are followed. If you do not follow the rules, the animals may be seized, quarantined, and, in the worst case, euthanised at the border. Please note that you must find out in advance if the animals may be kept in Sweden without special permission.

The rules may change if required, for example, by the risk of infectious disease.

If the species is difficult to determine

If there are any doubts about the species to which an animal belongs, the Swedish Customs may request the assistance of an expert from the Swedish Board of Agriculture to determine the species. This examination entails a cost which you, as the person bringing in the animals, will have to pay.

Bringing in ornamental aquatic animals which are not changing owners

You may bring ornamental aquatic animals into Sweden as pets without special requirements, provided that:

  • the animals are transported directly from their place of origin to their final destination.
  • the animals are to be used in non-commercial aquariums without contact with natural watercourses
  • the animals do not belong to a species susceptible to certain diseases for which Sweden has taken national measures (spring viraemia of carp)
  • the animals have not shown any symptoms of disease and there has been no abnormal mortality without an established cause of death among the animals during the 72 hours prior to dispatch.

The animals must also not belong to a species susceptible to certain diseases included in a specific EU list.

The list of diseases and susceptible animal species can be found in the EU Regulation 2018/1882.

You are welcome to contact us if you need help finding out which animals are included on the list of specific diseases and susceptible species.

You need to take additional measures if the animals belong to a species susceptible to listed diseases

Additional precautions must be taken if your animals are listed on the EU list of certain diseases and susceptible species.

These measures must be taken if the species is listed under category D in the Annex to the EU regulation 2018/1882 as a listed animal species, under either the headings Species and group of species or Vector species.

The same requirement also applies to carp which are susceptible to spring viraemia, the only disease affecting ornamental fish for which Sweden has taken national measures.

If you bring in either susceptible animals as listed in the EU Regulation, or carp fish, the following requirements apply in addition to the requirements above:

  • Transport the animals in such a way that the transport does not entail a potential spread of these diseases during the transport or at the destination.
  • Take preventive measures to ensure that there is no risk that diseases are spread to aquatic animals at the destination.

This means that

  • you must always transport your ornamental aquatic animals the shortest possible distance, i.e. directly from the place of origin to the final destination
  • if you need to replace the water during the transport, you must not pour the used water into the environment
  • you must secure the transport containers so that no water is spilled into the environment during transport.
  • at the destination, there must be a municipal drain or other drainage system which is capable of purifying the water so that it does not end up in the environment. Contact your municipality if you have any questions about this.
  • you may not release any living or dead animals into the environment so that they could come into contact with natural watercourses.

If the animals are not travelling with you, the owner, but with someone else

If the animals are not travelling with the owner but with someone else acting as an agent (also called an authorised person), your agent must have a written authorisation from you where you state

  • that the animals are not being transported to be sold or transferred to someone else
  • that the person travelling with the animals has the right to transport these animals for you.

You must also be able to prove that you, as the owner, will yourself travel within 5 days before or after your agent and your animals. You can do this by providing e.g. a copy of your ticket or a booking confirmation for your flight.

Ornamental animals that are aquatic but are not fish, crustaceans or molluscs

Ornamental invertebrates that are aquatic but are not fish, crustaceans or molluscs may be brought into Sweden as pets without restriction. Further information about the rules for invertebrates as pets can be found on our page about unusual pets.

If you bring the animals in from a country outside the EU

Ornamental aquatic animals which are brought in from a country outside the EU must originate from a country from which it is permitted to bring aquatic animals into the EU (Annex XXI in Regulation 2021/404).

You are welcome to contact us if you need help finding out from which countries outside the EU you are allowed to bring animals.

If you bring in the animals from a country outside the EU, you must bring them in via an approved Entry Point

You must bring the animals in via an approved Entry Point into the EU. This refers to specifically designated travellers’ points of entry for pets, where the identities of the animals and any accompanying documents can be checked. The animals must be brought in via an Entry Point in the EU Member State to which they first arrive.

In Sweden, the airports Stockholm Arlanda and Gothenburg Landvetter are Entry Points. If you travel directly to Sweden with your ornamental aquatic animals, they are to be controlled by the Swedish Customs at one of these Entry Points. Normally, you do not need to notify the Swedish Customs in advance or at the border control, but may simply pass through. However, if your animal belongs to a species for which the entry requires a special permit, because they belong to a protected species or an alien invasive species, you need to contact the Swedish Customs at the border control by passing through the so-called red lane or passage. More information about this can be found at the website of the Swedish Customs.

Please note that if you travel to Sweden via another EU Member State, you need to find out what rules apply to bring ornamental aquatic animals into that country, and find out where the Entry Points in that country are.

Taking ornamental aquatic animals out of Sweden

Every country applies its own rules for the import of animals. For that reason, you should contact the veterinary authorities in the country which you are visiting, or that country’s embassy, to find out what you need to know.

Check that you have done everything you need to do before you travel!

  • I have contacted the veterinary authorities in the country to which my animals are travelling and found out which documents are required and what requirements apply.
  • I have contacted an official veterinarian in Sweden to obtain a passport, the necessary vaccinations, tests and certificates for my animal.
  • I have printed out a veterinary certificate showing that Sweden is free from certain animal diseases from the Swedish Board of Agriculture's website (only if the destination country requires it.)
  • I have found out what rules apply to travelling with the animal with my travel company (if I am travelling with a travel company.)
  • I have found out what requirements apply when returning to Sweden with my animal and ensured that my animal meets these requirements.

Taking animals to countries outside the EU

Find out if there are any export restrictions

Before you travel with animals or export them to countries outside the EU, you need to find out if any export restrictions apply due to contagious animal diseases.

Contact the country to which the animals are travelling

Contact the embassy or the veterinary authorities of the destination country in good time and find out:

  • Whether it is possible to travel with the animals or export them to the destination country.
  • Which rules apply in the country to which the animals are travelling?
  • Whether any particular permit is required?
  • Whether you need to apply for anything in particular, e.g. an import licence?
  • Which health certificates are required?
  • Whether the animals must be vaccinated before being transported, or be quarantined?

Get a health certificate

In order to travel with or sell an animal to countries outside the EU, the animal must have a health certificate that must be issued by an official veterinarian in Sweden before the journey. Contact the veterinary authorities or embassies of the country in question in good time before the journey and find out which certificate is to be used and what requirements apply for the animal to be allowed to travel into the country. When you have found out this information, contact an official veterinarian.

Submit a customs declaration

If you sell animals to a country outside the EU, you must submit an electronic customs declaration to the Swedish Customs.

New rules for bringing animals or animal products to the United Kingdom

Here, you can find out what rules apply when you are bringing animals or animal products to the United Kingdom, but you must also read the general rules that apply when exporting to countries outside the EU.

As of 1 January 2021, new rules apply to trade with the United Kingdom. The ministry responsible for these rules is the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). If you have any questions, please contact them.

The rules are described in the guide Border Operating Model.

The UK is implementing the new rules in several phases throughout 2021 and 2022. The conditions for exports to the United Kingdom may change, and it is therefore important that anyone carrying out exports stays up-to-date via the DEFRA’s website.

What you need to do as an exporter

Companies that are exporting to the UK need to, among other things:

  • In collaboration with the importer, find out which certificates should accompany the consignment.
  • Ensure that you have access to the web-based system TRACES.NT in order to record the details required for the certificate.
  • Check that the dispatching establishment is registered or approved, and that the transporter meets applicable requirements.
  • If the transport to the UK will pass through other EU Member States, you must also check what applies when exporting to other EU Member States.
  • Contact an official veterinarian in good time!

Health certificates and pre-registration

The importer to the UK should pre-register live animals, breeding materials and products from animals from the EU with the UK system Import of Products, Animals, Feed and Food Systems (IPAFFS). This must be done at the latest one business day prior to the expected arrival. A health certificate must always accompany the consignment. Physical controls may be carried out.

The health certificate has been developed by UK authorities and is available in the EU computer system TRACES.NT or on DEFRA’s website. It is your responsibility as an exporter to find out which certificate must be used, and for that reason it is important that you, potentially with the help of the importer, find out what is required by checking DEFRA’s website. You can also read more on their website about how the various parts of the certificate are filled in and which information is mandatory, and which is optional.

This applies to exports to the United Kingdom:

  1. The importer must register the consignment in the UK through the IPAFFS computer system
  2. The consignment will receive a unique notification number (UNN) in IPAFFS, which has the format IMP.GB.2021.1XXXXXX.
  3. A health certificate issued by an official veterinarian in Sweden must always accompany the consignment.
  4. The importer in the UK must provide the UNN number to the exporter or to the official veterinarian in Sweden, who will record the number in the health certificate.
  5. The exporter must provide the importer with an electronic copy of the health certificate so that it can be uploaded to IPAFFS.
  6. The exporter is responsible for ensuring that the original health certificate accompanies the consignment.

If the animals are returning to Sweden later

If the animals are returning to Sweden after a stay in a country outside the EU, there are Swedish requirements that your animal must meet. The requirements differ from those that apply when leaving and vary depending on the country from which the animal is returning. Make sure you know which rules apply in Sweden before you leave, so that the animal can come back home with you afterwards. You can find the rules further up on this page.

Contact us if you have questions

You are welcome to contact us if you have any questions.

Revision date: 2023-04-12

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