3 September 2020

All horses and ponies will need to be microchipped by law according to the following timeline:

England has a deadline of 1 October 2020, Scotland is 28 March 2021 and Wales is 12 February 2021.

The dates vary slightly according to the location of the passport issuing organisation (PIO) with which the horse is registered e.g. if you live in England but your pony is registered with a PIO in Scotland, then the Scottish deadline will apply.

It is important that owners check that their horse has a microchip AND that this microchip is recorded on the Central Equine Database. You can check your horse’s microchip at

If it doesn’t appear and your horse already has a microchip you will need to notify your PIO of the microchip number.

If your horse has not been microchipped, you will need to contact your vet to arrange for this to be done.

If your horse has a passport issued in another European Union country, you will need to make sure that it is also recorded on the Central Equine Database, with its microchip number, within 90 days of it having arrived.

If your horse has an EU passport and has been in the UK for a while, or is a foal that was born in the UK which has a passport from another EU country, the BEF can ensure these details are recorded on the Central Equine Database at a cost of £25 (£8 of which is a Royal Mail Special Delivery before 1pm, back to the owner), using the link below.

The BEF advice is to do this in plenty of time before 1 October 2020 to avoid possible penalties.

Civil sanctions are now able to be applied (as well as criminal sanctions) for failing to comply with these deadlines. Civil sanctions mean that anyone not complying on time may be liable for a compliance notice which may lead to a fixed penalty notice and a fine. This is similar to a fixed penalty notice for a parking infringement.

The fact that fines can be applied may well mean that local authorities are more willing to enforce equine identification regulation than they have been in the past.