Detailed guide: Apply for an export plant health phytosanitary certificate

Forestry Commission

January 19
15:17 2021

You will need a phytosanitary certificate (PC) if you export timber, which is regulated in other parts of the world, from England, Scotland or Wales Great Britain (GB).

The Forestry Commission issues PCs for:

  • any timber, isolated bark or non-manufactured wood products
  • wood in the form of packaging cases, boxes, crates, drums or pallets wood packaging material
  • used forestry machinery from Scotland

PCs are issued by the Forestry Commissions Cross Border Plant Health Service to the equivalent National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) in the importing country through the GB exporter. They certify that the material has been inspected, is considered free from quarantine (and other) pests and that it conforms to the plant health regulations of the importing country.

What to expect

Before you can apply for export phytosanitary certification, you must first register as a professional operator.

If you regularly export controlled material, you must also register for the Electronic Application for Phytosanitary Certification (EAPC) system and agree to the terms and conditions. You can then use the EAPC service for online applications.

If you do not require PCs on a regular basis, or if the EAPC system is unavailable, use the paper export plant health phytosanitary certificate application form.

Avoid delays

Depending on how you intend to move materials, you must give the following notice:

  • 5 working days for sea freight
  • 2 working days for air freight

This is so the Forestry Commission can consider your application, arrange an inspection and prepare a certificate.

These rules are strictly enforced.


You must pay a fee of 15 for considering and issuing a certificate. If an inspection is required, you must pay a minimum fee of 27. Inspections are time-based, meaning you pay a minimum 27 for the first hour (including office and travel time) and 7.50 for each 15 minutes following.

How to apply

You must declare the:

  • country of destination (as well as any country of transit)
  • means of transport and port of entry

You must also state:

  • the species of timber or bark (except for wood packaging material) for export
  • any treatment applied to your consignment (for example kiln-drying, heat treatment or fumigation)
  • the quantity and full description of your material (for example, number of packs of sawn wood, volume of logs, number of pallets or crates and any identification marks)

PCs and PCs for re-export only include information about phytosanitary matters. They should not include:

  • statements that requirements have been met
  • references to animal or human health
  • notes on pesticide residues or radioactivity
  • commercial documents, such as letters of credit, bills of lading, CITES certificates

To help you cross-reference between phytosanitary certificates and other documents, a note may be attached to the PC. This associates the certificate with the identification code, symbol or numbers of other relevant documents when necessary. These notes are not an official part of the PC.

Part 1: name of exporter

Enter details of the name of the individual or company that will be shown as the consignor (sender) on the printed and authorised PC. This information identifies the source of the consignment to help trace back and audit by the Forestry Commission. The name and address should be located in the exporting country. Use the name and address of a local exporters agent or shipper.

Part 2: address of exporter

Enter the postal address, postcode, contact telephone number, fax number and email address of the applicant. Give a contact name of an individual who can answer detailed questions about the consignment.

Part 3: address where goods will be available for inspection (if different from part 2)

Enter address details of premises where the goods can be inspected by a Plant Health Inspector if necessary.

Part 4: services required/details of consignments


a.) The name of the consignee receiving the goods in the importing country.

b.) The address (and name as above) of the consignee. Give enough detail to enable the authorities in the importing country to confirm the identity of the consignee. The importing country may need the address to be a location in the importing country.

c.) The name of the seaport or airport in the importing country. This should be the first point of arrival in the country of final destination. The point of entry of the first country of importation should be listed where more than one country is listed in the TO section. The point of entry for the country of final destination should be listed in cases where the consignment only transits through another country. If the country of transit is also listed in the TO section, the points of entry into the transit country, as well as the final destination country, may be listed (for example, point A via point B).

d.) The name of the seaport or airport in GB.

e.) The date of export from GB.

f.) A description of the wood or wood products which are subject to phytosanitary control. Reference to the numbers of wooden pallets, crates, boxes, packing cases, cable drums etc associated with a range of commodities should be made here, as should reference to any distinguishing marks stamped, branded, stencilled or labelled on them to aid identification of the consignment. If the wood packaging material has been marked with a UK Wood Packaging Material Marking Programme ISPM15 mark containing the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) logo and a 2-digit ISO Country code, unique registration number and treatment code this can be noted here, or at part 4k. You can also enter a brief description of the commodity being shipped in the wood packaging material (whether subject to phytosanitary control or not) here to help identity the consignment.

g.) The names of tree species (ideally botanical, if known). In practice you can state softwood (coniferous) or hardwood (non coniferous). For more detail, see a few botanical names of common tree species used for wood products below:


Common name Botanical name
Norway spruce Picea abies
Sitka spruce Picea sitchensis
Scots pine Pinus sylvestris
Weymouth pine Pinus strobus
Corsican pine Pinus nigra
European larch Larix decidua
Japanese larch Larix leptolepis
Douglas fir Pseudotsuga menziesii
Silver fir Abies alba
Western Red Cedar Thuja plicata

Hardwoods/non conifer

Common name Botanical name
Poplar /Aspen Populus
Alder Alnus
Birch Betula
Willow Salix
Maple/Sycamore Acer
Plane Platanus
Beech Fagus
Oak Quercus
Chestnut Castanea
Elm Ulmus

h.) The country where the wood material was grown/originated from, if known.

i.) The serial numbers of PCs issued in the country of origin (if applicable). Only complete this section if re-forwarding certificates are required (for example, when imported consignments of sawn timber are being re-exported).

j.) The dimensions or weight of either the individual wood packaging articles or the volume of timber

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