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Chapter 5 - Export to the U.S.
5.6 Horses (updated July 2019)

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Health certification

1. There are two ways to certify horses for export to the U.S. In both cases, the export health certificate must be issued by the accredited veterinarian who inspected the animal(s). All the horses must be individually identified, and all requirements as listed on the export certificate must be fully met. Export certificates must be completed in English.

2. The export certificate HA1964 Veterinary Health Certificate—Export of Horses to the United States of America is used to certify individual animals. Horses certified on this certificate may enter the U.S. for temporary or permanent entry. Horses certified with the export certificate HA1964 entering the U.S. for a stay longer than 30 days after the date of inspection by an accredited veterinarian must be declared as permanent entry. Animals exported for less than 30 days, may be considered as temporary exportation. However, U.S. Customs have full authority to grant a "Temporary Customs Authorization" to these exportations, depending on the purpose of export. For example, horses exported for show or pleasure could qualify for this temporary authorization.  Horses exported to the U.S. under "Temporary Customs Authorization" may enter without U.S. veterinary inspection and the certificate issued is valid for an unlimited number of importations into the U.S. during the 30-day period, provided that the EIA test is valid on entry to the U.S. Horses exported into the U.S. for claiming race, breeding or diagnostic testing and treatment may not be granted this temporary authorization, even if entering the U.S. for less than 30 days. Customs could then refer them for USDA veterinary inspection. Exporters should verify with the U.S. Customs that their exportation is eligible for the temporary authorization.

3. The export certificate HA1963 Veterinary Health Certificate—Export of Horses to the United States of America is used to certify shipments of more than one horse for permanent entry to the U.S., provided that:

  1. all the animals are consigned by a single consignor and originate from the same place where they were inspected;
  2. all the animals are being consigned to the same destination in the same vehicle. All the horses in the shipment must be identified with "visibly numbered" back tags, mane tags, halter tags or necklace-type tags. Each horse must be numbered differently, and this number must be entered in the "Tag No." column on the HA1963 certificate. It is recommended that this visible number be recorded on the equine infectious anemia (EIA) test form to speed up border inspections;
  3. the original of the most recent test certificate CFIA/ACIA 3937—Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) Serum Test Report and Certificate or a copy of a CFIA-approved electronic EIA test certificate (colour or black and white), identifying each horse must be attached to the export certificate. The laboratory reference number in the top right-hand corner of the CFIA/ACIA 3937 or the CFIA-approved electronic EIA test certificate must be entered in the "EIA Laboratory Code" column on the HA1963 export certificate;
  4. to reduce the risk of fraud after a completed certificate has left the control of an accredited veterinarian, the accredited veterinarian:
    1. initials the first page, signs and legibly prints or stamps his or her name at the bottom of last page of the health certificate;
    2. initials below the last entry, and crosses through unused blank lines;
    3. enters the total number of horses travelling under the certificate in the last page of the certificate;
    4. refers to the instructions for foals at foot in paragraph 11. below.
  5. only one truckload of horses is certified by one HA1963 form.

4. The horses must have been in Canada or the U.S. during the 60 days preceding the date of export to the U.S. If this requirement is not met, an import permit will be required. Contact your district office for further informations.

5. As far as it can be determined, no cases of African horse sickness, dourine, glanders, surra, epizootic lymphangitis, ulcerative lymphangitis, equine piroplasmosis, or Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis have occurred on the premises of origin or on adjoining premises during the 60 days preceding the date of shipment.

6. The horses have not been in a country that is considered affected with contagious equine metritis (CEM) during the twelve (12) months immediately prior to its exportation, except for those horses that have met Canadian import requirements for CEM for permanent entry.

7. Some states have additional requirements, such as the need for an import permit or equine infectious anemia (EIA) test certificate. Exporters are responsible for determining whether any of such requirements apply and for complying with them.

Certification procedure

8. The horses were inspected within 30 days from the date of export and found to be free from evidence of contagious disease and, as far as it can be determined, have not been exposed to any such disease during the 60 days immediately preceding the date of shipment. The inspection date must be written on the export certificate.

9. All horses (except foals born after their dam was tested and are accompanying their dam) must test negative to an officially approved test for EIA within the 180 days before entry to the U.S. An EIA test result from a U.S. laboratory used to import a horse in Canada meets the requirements of article 5 of the export certificate HA1964, if the test is still valid and the laboratory form contains signatures from a USDA accredited veterinarian and a laboratory technician.

An EIA test certificate (CFIA/ACIA 3937) that has an inaccurate description or drawing of the horse, or a CFIA-approved electronic EIA test certificate with digital photographs that do not match with the narrative description or drawings on the export certificate, cannot be used to support certification for export. An accredited veterinarian is not authorized to modify any information written on an EIA test certificate once test results have been recorded. In order to certify a horse in this situation, the accredited veterinarian may, at the owner's request, re-sample the horse for testing and wait for the new result before export certification may be completed.

10. Horses must not have been vaccinated with a live or attenuated or inactivated vaccine during the 14 days preceding the date of export.

11. Foals born after the mare has been tested for EIA are exempt from the EIA test requirement, provided that they accompany their dam. To ensure that every animal in the shipment is properly identified, the accredited veterinarian must:

  1. describe the foal on a separate HA1964 form and indicate that the EIA test date is the same as for the dam; and on the dam's certificate must write "plus foal at foot, born space." The description should be sufficient to identify the foal.
  2. on the HA1963 multi-horse certificate, describe the foal by linking it to its dam by her visible number and EIA certificate code. Date of birth must be included.

How to complete the Canadian health certificates

12. The accredited veterinarian must use the most recent version of the export certificate.

13. The descriptions and marks indicated on the HA1964 and the description indicated on the HA1963 must match those indicated on the EIA test certificate CFIA/ACIA 3937 Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) Serum Test Report and Certificate, or the digital photographs on the CFIA-approved electronic EIA test certificate. The animal's marks must be indicated in red on the export certificate and described in the appropriate sections. The physical description includes marks, scars, brands, tattoos, whorls, cowlicks, etc.

If available, the microchip number or tattoo should be recorded on the export certificate in the appropriate dedicated section.

14. The date on which the horses were inspected must be indicated.

15. The date on which the blood sample for the EIA test was taken and the date on which the laboratory result was obtained must be indicated. If the inspection was done at the same time as the EIA blood sample was drawn, then these dates will be the same on the export certificate. The date beside the accredited veterinarian signature block is the date of inspection, and does not necessarily correspond to the date on which the certificate was signed by the accredited veterinarian. The current export certificate does not show the signature date from the accredited veterinarian. However, the export certificate must not be signed by the accredited veterinarian before negative EIA results are received and the date result indicated.

16. The HA1964 export certificate may be used more than once if the "Temporary" box is checked off, the exportation meets the "Temporary Customs Authorization" and each entry is made within 30 days of the date of inspection. Only the first destination needs to be specified on the export certificate. The exporter/importer retains the original of the certificate and presents it to Customs each time the horse crosses the border. As Customs officers often want to keep a copy of the certificate, it is advisable to make photocopies if the animal will be making several border crossings.

17. The HA1964 and HA1963 export certificates are valid for entry to the U.S. for 30 days from the inspection date written on the certificate, provided that the EIA test is valid on entry to the U.S. (negative result within the preceding 180 days).

18. The completed certificate along with either a copy of the EIA test certificate (CFIA/ACIA 3937) or a black and white or colour printed copy of the CFIA-approved electronic EIA test certificate will be submitted to a CFIA veterinary inspector to review and, if all requirements are met, the certificate will be endorsed. The "Reference number" is assigned by the CFIA district office. Any incomplete export certificates will be returned to the accredited veterinarian for completion. A fee is charged for CFIA endorsement.

Inspections at U.S. ports of entry

19. Horses certified on the multi-horse certificate HA1963 and horses certified on HA1964 entering the U.S. for a permanent stay  require USDA veterinary inspection upon entry. Exporters are responsible to verify availability of the USDA port veterinarian and make an appointment if required.

20. Horses certified with export certificate HA1964 entering the U.S. for a temporary stay (a period of 30 days or less after their inspection by the accredited veterinarian) are inspected at ports of entry by U.S. Customs officials. They will not require a USDA veterinary inspection, if they meet the temporary stay authorization.

21. In cases where a USDA veterinary inspection is required, the original of the export certificate will be retained by the veterinary inspector.

22. Exporters should bring the original or a certified copy of their EIA test certificate (CFIA/ACIA 3937) to the border. Final CFIA-approved electronic EIA test certificates are also recognized as official EIA test results if they are produced using a CFIA-approved electronic EIA certification system. Black and white or colour printed copies of the electronic EIA test certificate are both acceptable and can be used as proof of a negative EIA test result for export purposes.

23. Effective May 1, 2018, the USDA APHIS requires USDA import permits for shipments of permanent entry horses entering via a land border port between Canada and Alaska. There are no designated land border ports on the Canadian/United States border to Alaska, thus import permit is required prior to entry into Alaska in order to facilitate process of inspections. Canadian horses may enter the US temporarily without a USDA import permit, but must exit the US by the 30th day post inspection as listed on the health certificate (HA 1964). Consult section 5.1 General for permit application.

Return/entry to Canada

24. Horses entering Canada from the U.S. are inspected by Canada Border Services Agency officials as long as their paperwork is in order. Under certain circumstances—such as a disease outbreak in the U.S.—veterinary inspection may be required. Horses can return to Canada at any port of entry if they do not require a veterinary inspection at the Canadian border.

25. The CFIA conducts a border inspection in the following situations:

26. Horses can return to Canada accompanied by the Canadian Zoosanitary Export Certificate (HA1964 or HA1963), provided that they return within 60 days of the date of entry to the U.S. This means that there must be proof of the date of entry to the U.S. (This may be in the form of a USDA import inspection certificate [VS Form 17-30] or a customs stamp, or, as a last resort, the date of endorsement of the certificate can be used as the last day in Canada.) The CFIA will accept a photocopy of the CFIA export certificate for the return entry process into Canada. A valid EIA test result is not required.

27. The requirements for the certification of foals to enter Canada differ from the U.S. requirements. Occasionally, foals under five months of age can enter Canada without testing, but will be refused entry when returning to the U.S. because the dam's test was done after the foal was born. The USDA port veterinarian should be consulted.

U.S.-origin horses returning to the U.S.

28. Horses with a USDA certificate may return to the U.S.:

Equine semen to the U.S.

29. On October 20, 2000, the USDA deregulated the importation of horse semen. U.S. Customs will accept a verbal declaration concerning this product, and the traveller will not be directed to the USDA for inspection of the product.


Copies of export health certificates HA1963, and HA1964 are available at the CFIA district office.

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