New list of items you MUST declare at customs – or face possible fines or even prison

News

The UK has left the EU, and when the transition period ends on 31 December, there will be some changes.

For example, there is a new list of items we’ll need to declare when travelling to and from Europe.

To keep us in line with CITES, an international agreement that protects endangered animals and plants, permits will be needed to move protected species between Great Britain and the EU, and between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, from January 1, 2021.

All species of animals and plants listed under CITES will need a CITES permit and/or an import notification. Here are some items to look out for:

Guitars

Guitar – it could be made using protected wood such as rosewood.

Exotic pets
Exotic pets – animals such as parrots and tortoises will need a CITES permit.

Taxidermy

Taxidermy – dead animals can be protected under CITES too.

Orchids and cacti
Orchids and cacti – some types will need a certificate to move in or out of the country.

Antique jewellery

Antique jewellery – check that necklace from your nan doesn’t contain ivory, tortoiseshell or coral: you might need a permit just to bring it on holiday.

Skin cream
Skin cream – even low-end brands can contain caviar, which means you’ll need CITES documentation to take them in or out of the UK.

Other personal items
Check out items such as jewellery boxes or photo frames: these items and furniture might be made with materials like rosewood, and buying it from abroad or selling it on could mean you need to apply for CITES documentation.

What do I have to do?

So, check whether the items you want to move are listed on the CITES species list.

Allow at least 30 days to receive them. For more details and to get prepared, search CITES on gov.uk.

Once the transition period ends on December 31, CITES items being exported from or imported to GB must travel with the relevant documentation, and only certain land, sea and air ports can be used as points of entry.

Documents must be presented and endorsed by the UK Border Force on entry or exit.

While arrangements for movements between Northern Ireland and the EU, including Ireland, will not change, CITES documentation will be needed for moving CITES protected species between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

There are criminal offences associated with moving or trading CITES controlled species without a valid permit or certificate.