Go directly to contents.
Responsible for the service Finnish Environment Institute SYKE

Import and export of CITES species and products and related activities within Finland and the EU

  • Permit or other obligation
  • Nationwide
  • Public service

The import and export across the EU's external borders of an animal or plant or a product made from it that is subject to the EU CITES legislation usually require a permit. The import and export of endangered species is regulated by the CITES convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which is implemented in EU legislation. In addition to the CITES-listed wild species, their specimens that are born and bred in captivity and artificially propagated as well as their parts and products made from them are also subject to permit.

International cross-border movement of CITES species is mainly regulated by a range of import and export restrictions, depending on the degree to which a species is threatened and how much use its populations can endure. In practice, the import and export is controlled through permits that are issued by national environmental authorities and presented to customs. The CITES-regulated imports and exports include exotic pets, musical instruments, ornamental plants, souvenirs, hunting trophies, leather and fur products, cosmetic products, medicinal products and foodstuffs.

Intra-EU imports and exports do not require a CITES permit. Instead, the purchase, sale and other commercial activities within Finland and between EU countries often require a CITES certificate valid within the EU (EU certificate). Commercial activity is understood to be the purchase, offer to purchase, acquisition for commercial purposes, public display for commercial purposes, use for commercial gain, sale, keeping for sale, offering for sale or transporting for sale.

In Finland, CITES permits are issued by the Finnish Environment Institute.

It offers advice and guidance on permits and practices regarding the export, import and transport of animal and plant species and commercial activities under the CITES Convention and EU CITES legislation.

The website provides up-to-date information on CITES permit issues, including application forms and completion instructions. The Finnish Environment Institute’s CITES Group offers guidance on the need for a permit and permit procedures.

Permit applications are processed in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97. A permit decision is made within one month after the submission of a complete application, unless third parties have to be consulted, in which case processing may take longer. Applications are normally processed within two weeks.

Do the following

Information on the need for a permit and permit procedures is available on the website of Finland’s environmental administration. A CITES import, export and re-export permit and an EU certificate are applied for by submitting a completed application form along with attachments to the Finnish Environment Institute.

A company, organisation or individual buying or selling CITES species must determine the need for a permit. The party concerned must ensure that the permits and certificates are valid before it starts the activities in question. Both cross-border transport and trade without proper documentation are illegal.

The determination of whether a permit is needed begins by checking if the species is listed in the species Annexes of the EU CITES legislation. The need for a permit and the application process depend on e.g. which Annex (A, B, C or D) of the EU CITES legislation the species is listed in, what kind of activity it is (import, export or re-export beyond the EU, or activity inside Finland or the EU) and what purpose the specimen of the species, a part of it or the product containing it is used for. Permits may not be granted for certain species or certain activities. For example, you may not necessarily engage in commercial activities with more strictly regulated species and you cannot normally bring CITES species from certain countries.

A CITES import permit is required when importing species listed in Annex A or B from outside the EU. When importing a specimen listed in Annex B for personal use in the importer’s baggage, the importer does not need an import permit if they have a relevant CITES export permit. This does not, however, apply to live specimens, which always also require a CITES import permit. A CITES export permit is usually applied for by the exporter.

A CITES export or re-export permit is required when exporting a species listed in Annex A or B to a country outside the EU. A CITES export permit is required in Finland also for the export of personal or household effects, even though they are exported as part of the baggage.

When importing or exporting a species listed in Annex C or D or products made from it, the permit requirements differ from those for the species listed in Annex A and B.

An EU certificate is required for commercial activities with species listed in Annex A. Also, the transit of a live specimen removed from the wild requires an EU certificate, even if it is a non-commercial activity.

To whom and on what terms

The permit requirements apply not only to companies dealing with species and products covered by the Convention, but also to private individuals (for example pet owners, online retailers, hunters and tourists)

A fee is charged for the service.

The cost of a CITES import, export or re-export permit is EUR 80 and of a EU certificate EUR 50.


No time limit, permits can be applied for continuously.

Processing time

The CITES permit authority makes a decision within one month after receipt of a complete application.

Period of validity

A CITES export permit and CITES re-export certificate are valid for up to 6 months. This is a one-off permit. A CITES import permit is valid for up to 12 months, but never longer than the CITES export permit. This is a one-off permit. An EU certificate is valid only in a certain EU country or throughout the EU and for the holder specified in the certificate or the next holder as specified in the certificate and only if the description in the certificate corresponds to the CITES specimen.

Basic information

The service is provided byFinnish Environment Institute SYKE
Responsible for the serviceFinnish Environment Institute SYKE
Area Whole Finland
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish, English
Text edited by: Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
Updated: 24/11/2020