Customs inspection

External health

It depends, functionally, on the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, and the Ministry of the Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs; and organically on the Ministry of Public Administrations. Its main objective is to monitor and control the possible potential risks in terms of health of all goods that are subject to import, export or transit.

Among its functions we can find: Sanitary inspection of goods of any origin, coming from third countries and destined for human consumption in the territory of the EU. Sanitary and hygienic control of international means of transport, as well as of the establishments located in the port area. Inspection and control of medicines and medical devices from third countries destined for the EU market, as well as the control of exports of these products. Depending on the type of operation, nature, origin or provenance of the goods, this organization issues different types of certificates, which are necessary to allow the entry or exit of goods from the territory of the Union.

The best known documents are:

Common Entry Health Document (CHED)for plants, products of plant origin, products of plant origin and plant propagating material, products of animal origin and live animals.

Catch and Control Certificate for the importation into the EC of non-irregular, non-notified or non-regulated fish catches.

Animal Health

It depends on the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and its objective is to carry out veterinary controls on the export and import of live animals, products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, medicines, animal health products, and products intended for animal feed. The most well-known documents it issues are:

➔ Veterinary export certificate.

➔ Official certificate for animals and animal products for the EU.

Document of Non-intervention of the Health Service for the issuance of a certificate, as long as its issuance is not compulsory according to health regulations.

Plant Health

It depends on the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and its objective is to inspect plant products at the border, both for export and import, in order to protect and ensure that the products are free of diseases, pests and other harmful organisms.

Phytosanitary Certificate

The Phytosanitary certificate certificate is the document that certifies that the merchandise is free of pests, insects and complies with phytosanitary regulations. In addition its issuance certifies that the packaging or pallets used comply with the ISPM-15 regulations, i.e. the international standard for phytosanitary measures that regulates wood packaging used in international trade. In relation to import, its issuance is mandatory for almost most plant products: plants, tubers, bulbs, seeds, cut flowers and branches, fruits and vegetables; and also for some processed products that, by their nature, represent a potential risk in the introduction of pests, for example, wood and cotton.

With regard to exports, their issuance will depend on the active phytosanitary regulations in the areas and countries of destination. In this sense, the exporter must verify if there is any bilateral agreement linked to a specific campaign, as is the case with the United States, Japan and China. In this sense, all the requirements and conditions necessary for export can be consulted at the General Subdirectorate of Sanitary Agreements and Border Control:

Otherwise, you should consult and verify the requirements at destination and, if necessary, provide a copy of the regulations of the country of destination in order to process the export certificate. It should be noted that the validity of the certificate is about 60 days from the date of issue.


The SOIVRE (Official Service of Inspection, Surveillance and Regulation of Exports)depends on the General Directorate of Trade and Investment of the General Secretariat of Foreign Trade belonging to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Its management and control are carried out from Territorial and Provincial Trade Directorates located in each Autonomous Community.

Its objective is to control the commercial quality of products and compliance with regulations in export and import operations.

Among its functions:

➔  Quality inspection of plant products: fruits, vegetables and live plants.

➔  Control and inspection of products and review of requirements in relation to organic products.

➔  Import safety control of some industrial products.

Control and inspection of fauna and flora species subject to the application of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

To obtain the certificate, the operator or his representative must process the application and once the inspection is performed and the merchandise is declared compliant, the corresponding SOIVRE commercial quality control certificate will be issued, with an NRC registration number that will be used in the customs declarations to proceed with the respective clearance.

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