Moving and trading endangered species: forms

How to apply if you plan to move or trade endangered species and products made from them.

You must apply for a permit or certificate to move and trade any animal or plant species (and their parts) listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Use Species+ to find out if a species is on the CITES list.

Find out when you must apply for a:

CITES appendices I, II and III list over 5,800 animal and 30,000 plant species according to how endangered they are in the wild. In the UK and the EU, Annexes A, B, C and D replace the CITES appendices. Annex A is the most strictly controlled list of species and Annex D the least.

Check which land, sea and air ports you can use for trading or moving CITES-listed endangered animals or plants, or their products, if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

The Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 2018 create offences for CITES enforcement in the UK. It’s a criminal offence to move or trade CITES-controlled species if you do not have valid paperwork. You could get a prison sentence of up to 5 years or an unlimited fine.

How to apply

Use these forms to apply for a permit or certificate to:

  • import, export or re-export annex A or B specimens
  • commercially use endangered species or products made from them
  • export or re-export Annex C specimens
  • move exhibitions or products, which include endangered species parts, that will cross multiple borders

Before you apply

You must check:

You must make every effort to identify if a specimen is controlled under CITES rules. You may want to consult an independent expert.

If you intend to move items that you can’t identify you should check with the CITES management authority of the country of import or export before you go ahead. They may have a different opinion about the specimen.

If you’re an importer, check with the CITES management authority in the country of export. If they haven’t issued an export permit because the specimen is not ‘readily recognisable’ then it’s unlikely that you’ll need an import permit either.

Send your application

You must include the correct fee with your application. Find out more about fees and how to pay.

Submit applications with scans or copies of supporting documents by email to

If you want to email your application but cannot electronically sign the application form, you must add a declaration in the remarks field on the form. Do this by putting your email address in the signature or remarks box and adding:

I, [insert your name], am the owner of the email address below and also the applicant.

Or you can post your application and supporting documents to the APHA Centre for International Trade: Bristol.

How APHA processes your application

APHA aims to process your application within 15 working days. If you apply by email, you’ll get a response confirming the arrival of your application. If you apply by post you will not get a receipt.

APHA will log your application onto the system. They’ll send applications to import or export Annex A,B and C specimens to scientific advisors at the:

  • Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew for plants
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) for animals

Opinions of the EU CITES Scientific Review Group (SRG)

The UK’s scientific authorities consider opinions from the Scientific Review Group (SRG) when advising APHA. The EU SRG includes representatives of each of the CITES scientific authorities in the EU member states. It regularly reviews evidence and gives opinions on the impacts of trade in CITES-listed species.

The SRG may give opinions that permits or certificates should not be issued for certain species or species and country combinations.

APHA may refuse your application if the:

  • SRG advises against trade
  • UK’s scientific authorities advise that trade levels are harming the conservation of the species

See SRG decisions and opinions on the UNEP-WCMC Species Database. If there’s no SRG opinion about a certain species this does not mean your application will be approved.

Case decision

If your application is agreed, you’ll get your printed, signed and stamped permit or certificate in the post.

If your application is refused, APHA will send you a letter explaining why.


Fees cover the cost of processing your application. If you need more than one permit there’s an extra charge of £1.50 each as long as the specimens:

  • are of the same species (in the case of animals) or genus (in the case of corals and plants)
  • have the same source code and purpose code
  • will be transported between the same importer and exporter

If you want further Article 10 certificates there’s an extra charge of £1.50 each as long as the specimens:

  • are of the same species (in the case of animals) or genus (in the case of corals and plants)
  • have the same source code as the original application

They must also meet one of these conditions:

  • they’ve been included together on a previously issued Article 10 certificate
  • they were imported into the UK on a single import permit
  • they’ve been bred from the same parents in the same breeding season

You can apply for a waiver of CITES charges if you’re importing or exporting endangered species for conservation.

Most common charges

Permit, certificate, registration Fees for animals (£) Fees for plants (£)
Article 10 certificate 31 31
Re-Export permit 37 59
Import permit 67 74
Export permit 63 74
Travelling exhibition certificate 74 74
Personal ownership certificate 74 74
Musical instrument certificate No fee No fee

Other charges

Permit, certificate, registration Fees for animals (£) Fees for plants (£)
Movement certificate (Article 9) 88 88
Certificate of origin 31 31
Semi-complete re-export permit for biological samples (Article 18) 44 59
Semi-complete re-export permit for dead specimens (Article 19) 44 59
Semi-complete export permit for biological samples (Article 18) 72 74
Semi-complete export permit for dead specimens (Article 19) 72 74
Nursery permits (Article 29) N/A 74
Sample collection certificate (Article 44a) 74 74
Scientific institution certificate (Article 60) 146 195
CITES registration 221 221

If you’re unsure what fee to pay, contact APHA Centre for International Trade: Bristol.

If your application is refused or you cancel it after processing has started you will not get a refund.

How to pay

You should make payments in £ sterling only. Do not send cash.

You can choose to pay by:

  • cheque - made payable to APHA
  • postal order - made payable to APHA
  • any major credit or debit card (except American Express) - call 01633 631 800 or use secure email

You’ll get a payment reference number once you’ve paid. If you want a receipt, you will have to request one with your application.

Passing on your information

You must agree to APHA passing on information (including your personal data) to:

  • the UKBF
  • Police
  • National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU)

APHA may also release information on request to other enforcement authorities under the Environmental Information Regulations, the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Replacement permits

You can apply for a replacement if your permit is:

  • cancelled
  • lost
  • stolen
  • accidentally destroyed

Contact the APHA Centre for International Trade: Bristol for more information.

Published 17 July 2019