Endangered species (CITES)

Endangered species are covered by the international CITES Convention. The EU has CITES regulations on imports, exports, transfers and transports of these species. Don't buy a product if you're not sure whether it is a plant, an animal or some other specimen that requires a permit.

If in doubt, contact the CITES permitting authority to make sure whether it is a matter of import or export of a specimen that requires a permit. In Finland, CITES permits are issued by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE. Finnish Customs does not issue CITES permits.

The person bringing in the goods is responsible for them. Any permits must be acquired in good time before the goods are brought into Finland. When you arrive in Finland, choose the red channel and present the permits to Customs. Also note that there is a limited number of border crossing points for CITES species.

Examples of products that may be made of some CITES species:

  • watch straps, belts, bags or shoes of reptile skin
  • pelts and fur products of endangered mammals
  • musical instruments made of bone, tortoise or turtle shell or a rare tree species
  • utility items and ornaments, such as combs and sculptures
  • cosmetic products containing plant and animal extracts
  • Asian medicine products.

Read more about CITES on the website of the Finnish Environment Institute.

Finnish Customs often uncovers cases where the CITES Convention has been violated.
A Finnish private person brought 12 stony corals into Finland. The person had collected the corals from beaches in Phuket, Thailand. The stony coral is a species covered by the CITES Convention and included in Annex B of the Commission Regulation. The person in question handed over the seized corals to the state of Finland.

Points to consider

CITES products are endangered animals and plants, their parts and products made of them. The import these products may is prohibited or requires a permit. Further information: Environment.fi

  • Pets (e.g. parrots, tortoises and many reptiles) and plants (e.g. orchids)
  • Cosmetics and medicines containing parts of CITES species
  • Clothes and accessories (e.g. wolf fur coat or a crocodile skin bag)
  • Hunting requisites and fishing tackle (e.g. bear hair fly)
  • Fish and fishery products (e.g. sturgeon, caviar, eel).

The import and export of some species are prohibited, but some products covered by the the CITES Convention can be imported and exported legally under appropriate permits. If a product being sold is made of a CITES species, you must get an export licence for it from the authorising body of the country in question. Some species, live animals and plants as well as consignments arriving by mail or as cargo also require an import permit issued by the Finnish Environment Institute.

Finnish Customs does not issue CITES permits. As needed, contact the Finnish Environment Institute to find out if a permit is required.


Approved border crossing points must be used for CITES specimens (plants, animals, their parts or products made from them) brought into Finland from non-EU countries or taken out of the EU via Finland.

Consult the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira as to what veterinary controls and licences are required for bringing animals or products of animal origin into Finland. You’ll find a list of the approved border crossing points on Evira’s website.

Always consult Evira as to what controls and licences are required for importing or exporting plants.

If you don’t acquire a licence

Without appropriate documents, cross-border transports of CITES species and trade in them is illegal. If you don’t have the required licences, the products may be seized.


Customs supervises import goods that are subject to restrictions by means of risk analysis and X-ray, with the help of detector dogs, and by performing goods inspections when needed.


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Customs Information Service, Private customers
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