On 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom (UK) decided by referendum to leave the European Union (EU). The withdrawal agreement eventually came into force on 1 February 2020. At that time a transition period was established, lasting until 31 December 2020. That means that nothing changes until then and that the UK keeps acting as a full EU Member State.
On 1 January 2021 the transition period will end and as from then, the UK will have to be considered as a third country (= not member of the EU) for the trade in CITES protected animals, plants and derived products.

CITES permit for trade with the UK (UK, excluding Northern Ireland)

As from 1 January 2021, both the European certificate for Annexe A specimens and the evidence of legal origin for Annex B specimens will no longer apply and other CITES documents will be required. The table below gives an overview of the documents that are required under current regulations (until 31 December 2020) and those that will be required as from 1 January 2021.
Proper preparation will prevent you from having problems when importing, (re)exporting or transiting CITES protected species or when travelling with your CITES species.


Import into Belgium (EU) from the UK (as from 1 January 2021)

(Re)export from Belgium (EU) to the UK (as from 1 January 2021)

Transaction within the EU (current regime until 31 December 2020)

Annex A

Belgian CITES import permit + UK CITES (re)export permit

Belgian CITES (re)export permit + UK CITES import permit

European certificate

Annex B

Belgian CITES import permit (except derogation) + UK CITES (re)export permit

Belgian CITES (re)export permit  + UK CITES import permit

Evidence of legal origin

Annex C

Notification of import (Belgium)

Belgian CITES (re)export permit 
+ Notification of import UK


Annex D

Notification of import (Belgium)



Exception: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland, which belongs to the UK, is an exception and will be subject to EU regulation until 1 January 2025. That means that the current CITES documents (such as a European certificate) continue to apply. More information can be found in the Stakeholder notice published by the European Commission, p. 5-6.
Applications for CITES documents and customs

As from 1 January 2021, transactions with the UK involving CITES specimens will nearly always require CITES permits issued by Belgium and by the UK.
Do you wish to ship CITES specimens just before 1 January 2021? This is covered by the current EU regulation even if your shipment arrives at its destination after 31 December 2020. In practice, we advise not shipping around 1 January 2021 as long queues are likely to form at the border.
Apply for your permit in good time so that the transport and the trade transaction are properly covered. In addition, the permits need to be submitted to and signed by customs.

Shipments that are presented to customs without the required CITES documents can be seized. It is therefore important to present the documents to the relevant customs offices, where controls and formalities must be completed.

More information about trading from and to the EU can be found on: www.citesinbelgium.be
More information about the designated customs offices for points of entry and exit in the EU :
Phytosanitary certificates

When carrying out artificially propagated Annex B and C listed plant species and artificially propagated hybrids of Annex A, which are not annotated, a phytosanitary certificate can be issued by the FASFC. This document then applies as a CITES export permit. An import permit will have to be applied by the importer in the UK.

European certificates issued by the UK

If you have an EU certificate that was issued by the UK before 1 January 2021, this certificate will no longer be valid as from 1 January 2021. This EU certificate will not allow you to buy, sell or transport CITES species.
The EU certificate can only be used to prove that the specimen has been legally purchased or acquired. Commercial activities (sale, donation, production, etc.) will require you to apply for a new Belgian EU certificate.
Only EU certificates issued by the CITES management authority of Northern Ireland will remain valid after 1 January 2021.
To learn more about a species' status: www.speciesplus.net.
For all kind of information: cites@health.fgov.be.
To apply for documents (only via a single electronic point of contact): www.citesinbelgium.be
For more information about the possible impact of Brexit: https://www.belgium.be/en/brexit
For more information about phytosanitary certificates:  http://www.afsca.be/brexit/fr/