Examples of items that may need a CITES certificate.

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The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has announced it will begin using a new digital internal service to process applications this month and expects to launch the full digital service to applicants on during the summer.

The APHA team said it will be able to process CITES applications “more quickly” with the new system however a change to payments will effect applicants used to settling bills via BACS.

Payments will soon be taken at submission. The system will no longer support BACS payments and all payments must be made by debit/credit card.

Kim McDonald

Taxidermy and CITES specialist Kim McDonald.

Kim McDonald of The Taxidermy Law Company, said: “The new system seems to be straightforward, even if there might be some teething issues.

“We will have to see how it goes. The paying up front is the only difference. I usually pay by BACS so this will now change.”

However in some instances applicants will be sent a payment link following submission.

APHA said: “We have redesigned our guidance pages and made a phoneline available to help with completing CITES forms online.”

However it will still accept postal applications from those users that do not have digital skills or access.

Government gateway account

The trade in endangered species is governed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, better known as CITES. Certain items can be sold if a certificate (permits and licences) are issued.

APHA said the new system is part of the government introducing digital services across all its departments and that the current APHA system is “a 25-year-old legacy system”.

Applicants will have to set up a government gateway account and APHA hopes to issue most permits within 10 working days.

The new system is limited to applications for import, export, re-export, and Article 10 certificates. All other applications will need to be applied for by post or email.

For further information contact APHA on 01173723700 or email

CITES restrictions are separate to the UK’s Ivory Act which came into force last June, bringing in a near-total ban on the sale of antique ivory.