Traveling abroad with guitars containing rare woods

Travel Abroad with Your Instrument May Require CITES Certification

The AFM and its longtime government relations partners met in late April with US Fish and Wildlife (USFW) administrators to discuss public promotion of government guidelines relating to the international transport of musical instruments containing parts of federally designated endangered species materials and/or rare woods such as ivory and rosewood. A proposal to streamline rules relating to travel in and out of countries visited by instrumentalists was approved by 178 nations at a March 13 meeting of the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES).

As USFW representatives move to update the application process for this certificate, the AFM is reaching out to all musicians and working to open gateways that will provide detailed information about how to effectively navigate the certificate application process. These mandatory federal requirements have long been in place. Many AFM members may be aware of this pretravel registration requirement. However, the policy is not widely known. In cooperation with the USFW, the AFM, the Recording Academy, the International Society of Violin and Bow Makers, the National Association of Music Merchants, and the League of American Orchestras are working hard to get information out to professional musicians. All musicians are advised to register affected instruments. Approval can take up to 45 days. Musicians are encouraged to initiate the application process long before travel commences. It is important to strive for compliance as US customs and foreign border entry officials in each of the 178 parties to the CITES Treaty may have different entry requirements.

As we move forward, USFW will begin an aggressive outreach program that will offer additional advice and tools to help musicians navigate what can be a complicated application process. Please feel free to contact the AFM Office of Government Relations for additional information. We will bring you updates from USFW as they become available.

Article Courtesy of International Musician 6/13 issue

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