Animal transport authorisations

It is our job to also ensure animal welfare during transport. Commercial animal transport is subject to stricter animal welfare requirements than non-commercial transport.

About animal transport authorisations

There are two kinds of authorisations: one for short journeys of less than eight hours and one for long journeys of more than eight hours. A single authorisation can cover multiple drivers, who must all be certified to transport live animals. A single authorisation can also cover multiple approved vehicles.

In the context of commercial animal transport, both organisers and transporters need authorisation from the competent Regional State Administrative Agency. The objective is to ensure the welfare of animals during transport.

Commercial animal transport refers to

  • transport connected to commercial activity or
  • transport that directly or indirectly involves or aims at a financial gain.

A journey satisfies the definition of commercial animal transport even if the person who is set to make a financial gain is not the transporter but, for example, the owner of the animals. You therefore also need a transport authorisation if, for example, you train racehorses for a friend and it is your job to drive the horses to the racecourse.

Regardless of the commercial or non-commercial nature of your operation, no animal transport authorisation is required

  • for transporting animals over a distance of no more than 65 kilometres from the place of departure to the place of destination;
  • for transporting your own animals in your own means of transport over a distance of less than 50 km or for seasonal transhumance purposes due to geographical circumstances (e.g. taking your sheep to graze on an island for the summer or moving reindeer between pastures); or
  • for transporting animals directly to or from veterinary practices or clinics under the advice of a veterinarian.

You can be authorised to transport animals as long as

  • your animal transport vehicle and equipment satisfy the relevant legal requirements, including any special requirements applicable to vehicles used on long journeys; 
  • your procedures comply with the relevant laws;
  • your drivers have valid certificates of competence for transporting horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry or, if other species of animals are to be transported, are able to demonstrate that they have received appropriate training; and
  • neither you nor your representatives have violated animal protection laws in the three years preceding the date of your application.

Animal transport authorisations are valid for five years. Certificates of competence are valid until the certificate holder’s 70th birthday and at the competent Regional State Administrative Agency’s discretion thereafter. Certificates of approval issued for vehicles used on long journeys are valid for five years.

Application process

  1. Find out whether you need authorisation for a short journey (less than 8 hours) or a long journey (more than 8 hours). 
  2. Familiarise yourself with the criteria for authorisation and make sure that you have all the necessary certificates and evidence.
  3. Make arrangements to get your drivers certified. To get a certificate of competence, you have to participate in training and pass an examination. Educational institutions in this field offer training and examinations. You can find a list of these educational institutions on the Finnish Food Authority’s website. Some training programmes include the examination as standard. When you have completed the training programme and passed the examination, apply for a certificate of competence from the Regional State Administrative Agency.
  4. Send your application form and supporting documents to the registry of your nearest Regional State Administrative Agency. A link to the contact information of Regional State Administrative Agencies’ registries is provided at the bottom of this page.

The official veterinarian will contact you to agree on a suitable time for an inspection of your vehicles. Once you have received your authorisation from the Regional State Administrative Agency, you can begin to transport animals on a commercial basis. 

Make sure to comply with the terms of your authorisation and to meet any deadlines specified therein. Remember to let us know of any material changes.

A certificate of competence can be issued to a person who has completed training pursuant to the European Animal Transport Regulation and passed an examination of competence. The certificate covers horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. In respect of other species of animals, proof of training is sufficient.

Training is provided by various veterinary schools around the country. In addition both the required training and the examination of competence are included in some courses in equine studies. 

Individuals who have done the training and passed the examination can then apply for a certificate of competence from their nearest Regional State Administrative Agency.

Authorised animal transporters need to have their vehicles inspected and approved before they can be used to transport animals. Once you have submitted your application for authorisation to us, the official veterinarian will contact you to agree on a suitable time for an inspection of your vehicles. 

The requirements for vehicles depend on the species of animals that you intend to transport. Whether you intend to use the vehicles on short (less than 8 hours) or long (more than 8 hours) journeys also affects the requirements. Take all the equipment that you intend to use in your vehicles with you to the inspection facility, and make sure that all your systems and tools work as intended.

Transporter authorisation for one vehicle: EUR 380.
Transporter authorisation for multiple vehicles: EUR 700.
Changes to a transporter authorisation: EUR 320.
Certificate of approval for a vehicle: EUR 210.
Certificate of approval in connection with a revised authorisation: EUR 120 per vehicle.
Certificate of competence: EUR 80.

The registration of a notification as referred to in section 6 of the Act on the Identification and Registration of Animals (1069/2021) EUR 85

Frequently asked questions

You must notify the Regional State Administrative Agency that issued your authorisation of any material changes in your operation (e.g. you change vehicles or your contact details change) within 15 working days of the change.

Competent enforcement authorities in Finland include Regional State Administrative Agencies, the Finnish Food Authority, local authority veterinary officers, veterinary inspectors, veterinary border control officers, the Police and the Customs.

Commercial animal transporters must have their transporter authorisation and certificate of competence as well as the certificate of authorisation issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency with them in the vehicle at all times. Having pictures of the documents on, for example, the driver’s smartphone or tablet is also acceptable. Transport laws stipulate that drivers also carry documentation showing the origin of the animals and their owner, the start date and time of the journey, the place of departure and the place of destination.

Commercial animal transport vehicles can be pulled over for checks at any time without any particular reason. Other animal transport vehicles can be stopped if something seems amiss.

Links to legal texts