CITES regulations for trade in protected flora and fauna

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you want to own, transport or trade in protected animals or plants (or their parts or products), you must comply with the rules specified in the Nature Conservation Act and in the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species in wild flora and fauna (CITESExternal link). You may need a CITES permit or EU certificate.

Examples of parts or products of protected species are:

  • tusks (ivory)
  • feathers
  • exotic leather goods
  • wooden musical instruments

What is CITES?

The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species in wild flora and fauna (CITESExternal link) is an international agreement between governments on the protection of wild animals and plants. The agreement entails rules on the trade and transport of specimens of endangered species to ensure that international trade does not threaten their survival.

Which animals and plants are protected by CITES?

Worldwide, there are more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, which are designated as protected species. You can check whether a plant, animal or parts or products thereof are in the Species+ databaseExternal link or are specified in the European regulation on the protection of fauna and floraExternal link. If a species is not on the list, you must check if you need to comply with the rules on protection of plant and animal species.

EU certificate

Do you want to buy or sell, transport, give away, trade or keep a CITES species? You may require an EU certificateExternal link (Article 10 certificate). In the Netherlands, you can apply for this documentExternal link to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO, in Dutch).

CITES permit for import into EU

Do you want to import a CITES species into the EU? You require a CITES import permitExternal link. In the Netherlands, you can apply for this documentExternal link to RVO (in Dutch).

You also may require a an export permit or certificate of origin. You apply for an export permit with the authorities in the country you export from. You apply for a certificate of origin to the authorities in the country of originExternal link.

CITES permit for export from the EU

If you want to export a CITES species out of the EU, in most cases you will need a (re-)export permitExternal link. You can apply for this permitExternal link to RVO (in Dutch).

Corona: renewing CITES documentation

If you have not been able to use an export permit or if your document expired due to the corona crisis, you should renew them. You can have these documents renewedExternal link free of charge through RVO (in Dutch).


ExemptionsExternal link exist for instance when the specimen was born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated, and when it is a pre-convention specimenExternal link.

There are also certain cases under which the conditions for the issuance of an import or export permit may be less strictExternal link. For example the exchange between scientists and scientific institutions, musical instruments or holiday souvenirs. In some cases regulations may also be less strict for internal tradeExternal link within the EU.

Marking requirement for protected species

Is your animal listed in Annex A? You must markExternal link the animal in order to facilitate identification and prevent illegal trade. For birds you should use a leg-ring and for reptiles, amphibians and mammals you use a microchip. Is your animal (not yet) marked? In that case you need an exemption, permit or certificate. Contact RVOExternal link for more information.

Keeping records

In the Netherlands you are required to keep records if you trade in or own certain species of protected animals or plants. You must for instance keep records on EU and CITES documents, veterinary documents and information on the specimen.


The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWAExternal link) and RVOExternal link (in Dutch) monitor if you comply with the CITES regulations. Dutch Customs monitors the import and exportExternal link of CITES species.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO