Many historic bows and instruments contain materials made from plant and animal species that are now endangered and protected by domestic and international law. It is the responsibility of the owner or holder of such instruments to be aware of and compliant with these laws. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wild fauna and Flora Species (CITES) is a major international force for protecting endangered species. With 183 countries involved chances are you are going to encounter CITES regulations when traveling with your musical instrument.
Visit the CITES web site here to find out more about CITES and catch the latest news.
Materials and species such as Ivory, Rosewood, Whalebone, Abalone and many others are protected by CITES. To find out if your bow or instrument has CITES protected material search the CITES Checklist or contact your CITES Management Authority. It is also important to note the three levels of protection within CITES called Appendices. The highest or most stringent category is Appendix I, followed by Appendix II and III. If you are not sure whether your bow or instrument requires a CITES Permit or Certificate contact your countries CITES Management Authority. In Canada contact Environment and Climate Change Canada.
For those musicians wanting to travel internationally for a holiday or to tour, a Temporary Movement Certificate (non-commercial use only, such as: holiday, exhibition and paid performance) is an important asset. The Temporary Movement Certificate is valid for three years and cuts through a significant amount of red tape to allow musicians to travel with their instruments virtually hassle free. It is required that you submit an application form with all the pertinent information including origin and date of acquisition of the protected species on your instrument and/or bow. If you don't have this information contact your CITES Management Authority to find out what alternate information might be accepted.
Allow at least 40 days for the application to be approved and processed.
It is important to remember, although CITES regulations are agreed to by 183 countries, each country can implement stricter regulations at their discretion. For example, traveling to the United States, you will be required to enter and exit through specific ports and certain materials such as Ivory are strictly controlled. If you are traveling to the United States with Ivory on your instrument or bow you may have to declare this to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Contact the port that you will enter through to find out how to declare the Ivory and to obtain a full list of requirements. Always check your destination country's regulations to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork.
All Canadian CITES Permits and Certificates must be validated by a Canadian border agency before traveling across an international border.