CITES controls: import and export of protected species

Find out if your import or export needs a permit under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

This guidance was withdrawn on

If you need to import or export protected species:

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) traders

See Notice 760: Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP).

Validity of import and export permits for CITES-controlled goods

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) issues permits. It is the UK CITES Management Authority.

Permits are valid for one consignment only.

In certain situations, APHA can issue multiple permits to allow individuals to import or export a number of consignments of the same species from or to the same country within a 6 month period.

APHA can also issue semi-complete permits where there is a proven need for individuals to move goods at short notice.

It will not accept incomplete or handwritten forms.

In most cases, UK import permits are not valid unless supported by a valid export permit issued by the country from which it was consigned. If you move a specimen into or out of the EU without the appropriate permits, it is almost impossible to obtain authorisation retrospectively.

If you are making an application on behalf of a UK resident or business, you must complete the CITES application with the full name and address of the actual exporter or importer, not your own. The application must include written confirmation of this arrangement, signed by the person on whose behalf you are making the application.

CITES import and export permits

Border Force will check and, if satisfactory, endorse the documents. Border Force will retain the documents and send copies to APHA. Other copies are used to prove legal import or export of the specimen.

For details on what to expect at customs, see guidance on the legal requirement to show your CITES import permit at the first point of entry in to the UK (CIP14).

Contact APHA

If you’re unsure about your application, contact APHA Centre for International Trade: Bristol.

Published 9 August 2012