How to Apply for an Individual CITES Permit

Update: On Wednesday 08/28/19, the CITES convention in Geneva, Switzerland decided to exempt finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories from CITES restrictions on all rosewood species except Brazilian rosewood (whose protections predate the other rosewood species and remain in place).

According to NAMM, the exemption for musical instruments will take effect in late November 2019. Until that time, all restrictions remain. Read "CITES Restrictions on Musical Instruments Are Coming to an End" for more info and check back soon for more details.

With new CITES requirements surrounding the international shipment of instruments containing rosewood, we are trying to make it as easy as possible for sellers to comply. Be sure to read our other articles about dealing with CITES, "The (Relatively) Painless Way to Deal with CITES" and "CITES Compliance: Answering Common Questions for Sellers." Please note that domestic sales and personal instruments carried across borders do not have these same restrictions.

These these instructions are for the commercial sale of an instrument made before 2017 containing all species of rosewood EXCLUDING Brazilian rosewood. Brazilian rosewood has a different set of requirements.

Step 1

Write a letter that describes what your are shipping. Copy and paste the sections below as a starting point.

I am applying for a single use permit for the export one of pre-Convention [guitar or whatever instrument you’re sending] containing rosewood species imported into the U.S. prior to January 2, 2017. [This instrument], contains approximately 0.0005 cubic meters of Dalbergia spp.

You also need to include some language or evidence that shows the instrument was made before 2017. Such as:

This instrument was made in [insert the year] as indicated by the serial number [insert serial number].


This instrument was originally purchased in [insert date] as indicated by the original sales receipt. A copy of which is included in this application.

Include your name, address, phone number and email. Print, date and sign the document.

Step 2

Download and print this form.

Step 3

In the upper right indicate that this is a “New Application.”

Step 4

Complete section A or B depending if you are a business or individual. Complete section C and section D. These sections are self explanatory.

Sign and date the bottom of Page 1 in blue ink. Yes, you really have to sign this in blue ink.

Step 5

Skip page 2. On page 3 indicate that you would like a “pre–convention” activity, and that you would like to “request a single–use permit for pre–convention specimens.”

Add the shipping info of where the instrument is going.

Step 6

On page 4, ignore section 4. You cover the relevant information from that section in your letter.

Fill out Section 5 with the current location of the instrument (this is most likely the same address you used in Step 3) and select “no” under Section 6 when it asks if this is a sample collection for temporary exhibition.

Step 7

On page 7 include the address where you would like the permit mailed, indicate if you would like to pay extra to have FedEx or UPS deliver the permit rather than the United States Postal Service, and include your name, number, and email address in case there are any questions. Select “no” under the last question regarding “Disqualification Factor.”

Step 8

Write a check for the amount of $75 made out to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Step 9

Put the letter, application, any proof the instrument was made before 2017, and the check in an envelope and mail to:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services
Division of Management Authority (DMA)
Branch of Permits, MS:IA
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041-3803

Lead photo by Buffalo Music and Guitars

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