Declaration of Materials – Travelling with Instruments
Stringed instruments and bows can be made from all sorts of different materials. Some of the raw materials traditionally used are now subject to species protection. There are strict trade and import regulations for the entry and exit of individuals with instruments over the borders of the European Union and to countries outside the EU.
On the other hand, if your instrument or bow contains plant or animal materials, which in their processed form, are subject to the protection of species convention, then a CITES certificate is required for all travel in and out of the EU and to countries outside the EU.
Protected materials are: ivory, tortoise-shell, whalebone, bone of protected species, lizard skin, leather of other prote4cted species, specific mother-of-pearl, and rio palisander.
In these cases, import and export to countries both within and outside the EU must be carried out with a CITES certificate for musical instruments. Travelling without a CITES certificate could lead to the confiscation of the instrument or bow.
It is strictly prohibited to import or export any instrument or bow containing ivory to the US.
If travelling with an item containing ivory, musicians must always pass through the red gate at customs where the CITES certificate along with supplementary documentation must be submitted for stamping. The same applies, when re-entering the EU.
A CITES certificate for musical instruments can be applied for at www.cites.at, or at the BMLFUW, Abt. 1/8, Stubenbastei 5, 1010 Vienna. Long processing times should be anticipated.
A visit to my studio can provide you with additional information, protect you against problems when travelling, and prevent your instrument or bow from being confiscated.