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Personal or Household Effects and Hunting Trophies

1. Introduction into the EU of wildlife specimens as personal effects
2. Introduction into the EU of hunting trophies as personal effects
3. Export from the EU of wildlife specimens that are personal effects and originate in the EU
4. General exemptions

If you wish to bring souvenirs for your own personal use into the EU that are made of plants or animals, you should be aware that for many species listed in the CITES Appendices or Annexes of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, you need a permit or certificate. In the absence of such documents, customs officers will confiscate your souvenir. People seeking to evade the law deliberately may be fined or even face a period of imprisonment for illegal trade in a threatened animal or plant species.

Souvenirs are referred to in the legislation as "personal and household effects" (Art. 7.3 of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97). However, this only applies to specimens made from dead animals or plants contained in the personal luggage of travellers or in the personal property of an EU national transferring their normal place of residence to or from the EU (thus not to goods purchased over the Internet, mail or phone). In the case of hunting trophies being introduced into the EU, the traveller is allowed to import them at a later date, after his or her own arrival.

For further details on ways to apply for documents, please go to Permits, which also explains the other (stricter) provisions that apply in the case of bringing back a live (pet) animal or plant, or importing specimens for commercial purposes (for commercial gain, selling, displaying for commercial purposes, keeping, offering and/or transporting for sale).

All forms (e.g. permits), as well as additional information and advice, can be obtained from the CITES Management Authorities in the respective countries of origin, (re-)export and/or import.

Important note: Only dead specimens or parts and derivatives (and not live animals and plants) may be considered personal effects.  In addition, specimens that will be given away as a gift or sold cannot generally be considered personal effects.  However, specimens of Annex B-listed species imported as personal effects may subsequently be used for commercial purposes in accordance with Article 58a of Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006, provided that certain conditions are satisfied (i.e. two years have passed since import and written authorisation has been obtained from the Management Authority of the Member State concerned).


1. Introduction into the EU of wildlife specimens as personal effects

The following list of provisions concerns people normally residing in the EU for at least 185 days per year, or people taking up residence in the EU. These provisions refer to non-commercial trade in dead specimens or parts or derivatives from species listed in the Annexes of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations.

What should you do if you are (or become) an EU resident and wish to come back home with your souvenirs or personal belongings? 

When you bring souvenirs or personal belongings from outside the EU to your EU residence for the first time, the legislation refers to this as an introduction of specimens and means if you introduce a CITES specimen into the EU, you may need an export permit issued by the country where you were on holiday or were living (if it was your residence and you are moving into a new residence in the EU). In some cases, you may also need an import permit from the EU Member State you are entering, that you must obtain prior to your arrival in the EU (see table below for details). 

If you wish at a later date to leave the EU and bring one of these items with you on holiday, or to a new residence outside the EU, it is a re-export and you may need one of the documents indicated in the table below. If an item was purchased at a time when the species it is made from was not yet listed in the Annexes, the conditions for issuing re-export certificates for pre-Convention or pre-Regulation specimens apply (see Permits). It has to be noted that special provisions apply to the re-export by an EU resident of rhino horn and elephant ivory contained in personal or household effects: this will always require presentation of a re-export certificate.

Additionally, if you leave and return to the EU with a wildlife souvenir from a species that is listed in the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations (which is called re-introduction), you will have to present the “Copy for the holder” of the export permit at each border control.

Documents needed by EU residents for the trade in souvenirs (personal effects) made from animal and plant species regulated under CITES and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations

Annex

Article

Return/Leave

Documents Required (to be issued before travelling and presented to Customs officer)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 865 / 2006

A

57(2)

Introduction (1st import into the EU)

Export permit (issued by country of origin of specimen)*
and Import permit (issued by an EU Member State) 

A

58(2)

Export (leaving the EU)

Export permit (issued by an EU Member State)
and Import permit (issued by country of destination)**

A

58(3)

Re-export (leaving the EU again)

"Copy for the holder" of an EU export/import permit (presented at first exit from or entry into the EU)
or Evidence of purchase in the EU (when applicable), e.g. invoice / receipt,
or Stamped copy of a (re-)export document (presented at first entry into the EU) 
or Re-export certificate (issued by country of re-export)***

A

57(4)

Reintroduction(returning again to the EU)

"Copy for the holder" of an EU export/import permit (presented at first exit from or entry into the EU)
or Evidence of purchase in the EU (when applicable), e.g. invoice / receipt,
or Stamped copy of a (re-)export document (presented at first entry into the EU) 
or Import permit (issued by an EU Member State)

B

57(3)

Introduction (1st import into the EU)

Export permit (issued by country of origin of specimen)*

B

58(2)

Export (leaving the EU)

Export permit (issued by an EU Member State)

B

58(3)

Re-export (leaving the EU again)

"Copy for the holder" of an EU export/import permit (presented at first exit from or entry into the EU)
or Evidence of purchase in the EU (when applicable), e.g. invoice / receipt,
or Stamped copy of a (re-)export document (presented at first entry into the EU) 
or Re-export certificate (issued by country of re-export)***

B

57(4)

Reintroduction(returning again to the EU)

"Copy for the holde" of an EU export/import permit (presented at first exit from or entry into the EU)
or Evidence of purchase in the EU (when applicable), e.g. invoice / receipt,
or Stamped copy of a (re-)export document(presented at first entry into the EU) 
or Import permit (issued by an EU Member State)

Council Regulation (EC) No. 338 / 97

 

C

7(3)

 

No permit, certificate or notification required

D

7(3)

 

No permit, certificate or notification required

* If the exporting country is not able to issue an export permit (e.g. country that is not a Party to CITES), then you should apply for and obtain an import permit from the EU Member State of destination. An import permit is also required for the first introduction of hunting trophies of those Annex B-listed species/populations that are listed in Annex XIII to Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 (currently (i) Southern White Rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum simum, (ii) Common Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius, (iii) African Elephant Loxodonta africana, (iv) Argali Sheep Ovis ammon, (v) Lion Panthera leo,and (vi) Polar Bear Ursus maritimus).
**The import permit is only required when the species is also listed in Appendix I of CITES 
*** A re-export certificate will always be required for the re-export of rhino horn or elephant ivory contained in personal or household effects by an EU resident.

 


2. Introduction into the EU of hunting trophies as personal effects

Hunting trophies that are introduced into the EU for non-commercial purposes are also considered to be personal effects under the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations and hence similar rules apply to the import of such specimens into the EU. However, stricter controls apply to the first import of hunting trophies from certain Annex B-listed species/populations due to concerns as to the sustainability of trade in these hunting trophies or for which there are indications of significant illegal trade. The species/populations to which these stricter controls apply are those listed in Annex XIII to Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006, currently the: (i) Southern White Rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum simum, (ii) Common Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius, (iii) African Elephant Loxodonta africana, (iv) Argali Sheep Ovis ammon, (v) Lion Panthera leo,and (vi) Polar Bear Ursus maritimus. In such cases, both an import permit and an export permit are required for the first introduction of hunting trophy specimens into the EU (see table above).

It should also be noted that many of the popular hunted species are listed in Annex A of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations and are very often also subject to national legislation in the country of origin. In addition, the Scientific Review Group has imposed import suspensions on the import of certain species that may be subject to hunting and hence trophies of these species can currently not be imported into the EU (see EU Wildlife Trade Legislation). 

 

3. Export from the EU of wildlife specimens that are personal effects and originate in the EU

When you leave the EU with personal belongings made from species that originate in the EU (indigenous species or captive-bred or artificially propagated specimens) and which are listed in Annex A or B of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations (see table: Export), you are required to possess and present an export permit to Customs upon your departure. You must apply for this permit at the Management Authority of the EU Member State where you purchased the items. In cases where your specimen is listed in CITES Appendix I, the export permit will only be issued if you can prove that the Management Authority of the country of destination has already granted an import permit. 

4. General exemptions

For certain items made from species listed in Annex B (Art. 57.5 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006), no documents are required for their (re-) introduction and (re-)export. These items include a maximum of:      

  1. 125 grams of sturgeon caviar (Acipenseriformes species) per person, in containers that are individually marked in accordance with Article 66(6);
  2. three cacti rainsticks (Cactaceae species) per person;
  3. four worked specimens of dead crocodilian species Crocodylia spp. per person, excluding meat and hunting trophies;
  4. three shells of Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) per person;
  5. four dead specimens of seahorses (Hippocampus species) per person;
  6. three specimens of giant clam (Tridacnidae species) per person, not exceeding 3 kg in total, where a specimen may be one intact shell or two matching halves.
  7. for specimens of agarwood (Aquilaria spp. and Gyrinops spp.), up to 1 kg woodchips, 24 ml of oil, and two sets of beads or prayer beads (or two necklaces or bracelets) per person.
Note: More information on exemptions can be found in Resolution Conf. 13.7 (Rev. CoP16) adopted at the 14th meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties and subsequently amended. However, this Resolution is not legally binding and Parties can decide whether or not they want to implement its provisions. In the EU, however, this Resolution is legally binding as it implemented through Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006.