The national risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has not been assessed by many countries, and many countries are conducting little or no BSE surveillance. National measures implemented, including import restrictions, surveillance systems, and sanitary controls, should be based on actual BSE risk. Thus, as a first step, the national BSE status must be determined, particularly through assessment of the national risk. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) provides recommendations for surveillance and risk assessment of BSE, which are considered the international standard by the World Trade Organization (WTO). This document describes the variables for determination of BSE status and gives guidance on specific options and practical considerations for meeting the BSE surveillance and risk assessment recommendations of the OIE.