EU CITES certificate


Commercial activities involving specimens of species listed in Annex A of Regulation (EC) 338/97 are prohibited within the EU.

Commercial activity is understood to be the purchase, offer to purchase, acquisition, public display for commercial purposes, use for commercial gain, sale, offering for sale, and keeping or transporting for sale. Article 8 of Regulation (EC) 338/97 details the provisions relating to the control of the aforementioned commercial activities.

However, exemptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis, and a CITES Certificate may be issued solely for transactions within the EU, indicating the purpose for which the specimens concerned may be used, in the following cases:

  • To prove that specimens listed in Annex A of Regulation (EC) 338/97 are captive-born and bred, or were acquired in a legal manner.
  • To prove that specimens listed in Annex A or B, which are to be exported or re-exported, were duly imported in accordance with the provisions of EU Regulations.
  • To authorize the transport of live specimens of species included in Annex A of Regulation (EC) 338/97.
  • In the case of specimens acquired or introduced before the CITES Convention or EU Regulations became applicable to the specimens.
  • In the case of other exemptions provided in Article 8, paragraph 3 of Regulation (EC) 338/97.

The application form for this Certificate (model shown in Regulation (EC) 865/2006) is a set of 3 forms:

  • original (Form number 1); yellow.
  • copy for the issuing authority (Form number 2); pink.
  • application form to be completed by applicant (Form number 3); white.

Marking Requirements

As a general rule, EU Certificates are only issued for live vertebrates listed in Annex A when specimens are uniquely and permanently marked (microchip, closed ring, etc.). However, if the specific characteristics of a specimen or species (size, age, or other justifiable cause) do not allow any marking method to be applied, an individual exception may be made. For further information, see provisions on marking in Articles 64 to 68 of Regulation (EC) 865/2006.

Certificates issued for captive-bred specimens that are uniquely and permanently marked, and have been authorized for commercial purposes, shall remain valid following a change of ownership; the current owner of the specimen does not necessarily have to be the Certificate holder.

In the case of specimens that have no permanent marking, Certificates shall only be valid for one transaction, and any change of ownership shall require a new Certificate to be issued. If the specimen is subsequently permanently marked, this requirement shall no longer be applicable.

Whenever a specimen dies, is lost or stolen, or any changes are made in its markings, etc., the Certificate for the specimen concerned shall be returned to the Management Authority; if applicable, the Authority shall issue a replacement

Certificate to reflect any such changes.

Application Requirements

The application form should include copies of any documents required in each case (proof that specimens were legally acquired in accordance with CITES provisions, markings, captive-breeding, etc.). Applicant must show proof that all requirements are met, or that he/she is entitled to claim exemption from submitting a Certificate. If the application is authorized, the applicant will receive the "original" form; all other copies will be kept by the issuing Management Authority.

Application form download.


According to Article 62 of Regulation (EC) 865/2006, no CITES certificate is required for commercial activities within the scope of the EU when such activities involve:

  • Live birds of species listed in Annex X of Regulation (EC) 865/2006, from an EU breeder, and provided that specimens are marked with a closed ring.
  • Artificially propagated plants.
  • Antiques acquired prior to 1st January 1947, as defined in Article 2, w), of Regulation (EC) 338/97.
  • Dead specimens of Crocodylia species listed in Annex A with source code D, provided that the specimens are duly marked.
  • Caviar obtained from Acipenser brevirostrum and its hybrids, source code D, provided that containers are marked.

According to the provisions of Article 8, paragraph 5, of Regulation (EC) 338/97, no CITES certificate is required for specimens of species listed in Annex B provided that it can be proven to the satisfaction of the competent authority of the Member State concerned that such specimens were acquired or introduced into the EU in accordance with the legislation in force for the conservation of wild fauna and flora.

Accordingly, when a specimen has been imported into the EU, it is advisable to specify —on the invoice or equivalent document— the reference number of the CITES Import Permit number used for its import. If the specimen was captive-born and bred in the EU, further information should be provided (date and place of birth, breeder's name, proof of legal origin of parental stock, any relevant transactions, etc.).

The information provided herein relating to CITES EU Certificates is only applicable within the EU; accordingly, any trade in CITES specimens with non-EU countries requires a CITES permit/certificate for imports, exports, or re-exports.