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Making a Musical Instrument Certificate (MIC) Application

Guidance for musicians applying for Musical Instrument Certificate using the FED0172 form.

Last updated: 20 July 2023

At the time of writing in February 2021, there are no fees payable for MIC applications. 

Use Application form FED0172 which can be downloaded as a PDF or word document from the website.

Note that this is a generic application form that is also used for single import, export/re-exports and Travelling Exhibition Certificates (TEC). The back of the form contains instructions which apply to all types of application. They are not all relevant to your MIC application and can be confusing.

Guidance for musicians to complete MIC applications

Although completing an application can seem daunting, please do not worry. For clarity, we have prepared the guidance, along with examples, tailored to help musicians complete MIC applications.

  • Follow this guidance and give CITES as much information as you can. When submitted, your CITES case officer will contact you for clarification on anything missing.
  • Please complete the form electronically if you can as it makes it easy for the case officer to read.
  • To start your application for a MIC using form FED0172, check the box ‘Other’ in the 'Permit/Certificate field section in the top right-hand corner of the form and Type or write in ‘Musical Instrument Certificate’.

Refer to our guidance document to follow the steps along with the examples.

The MU and the Animal Plant Health Authority (APHA) have been working closely together to draw up this comprehensive guide in applying for and filling in a Musical Instrument Certificate. The MU are extremely grateful to APHA for their time, input and expertise.

Ivory and the USA

The US Fish & Wildlife Service, currently require Elephant Ivory to be defined as either Asian (Elephas maximus) or African (Loxodonta Africana). This can be difficult to determine in a finished instrument. Unless you can prove which species the Ivory is sourced from, with a letter from a specialist.  You may wish to consider using the higher species name Elephantidae spp. which covers both.  But this can only be used where the item is pre-convention (O).  This means a manufactured product, made prior to the date that Elephant Ivory was first CITES listed on the 1/7/75.

The UK CITES management authority cannot advise on rules in place in other countries. 

If you intend travelling to the USA we recommend that you first check with The US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to confirm the situation prior to travel.

Submitting your application

If possible please e-mail your application to: and CITES will immediately send you a standard e-mail back confirming receipt.

If you are attaching scans of completed forms, supporting documents and photographs please make sure these are saved as attachments to your e-mail and not pasted into the text of the message.  Also ensure the scans are clear so that any text can easily be read.

If posting your application please send to the following address: UK CITES Management Authority, Centre for International Trade, Horizon House, Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AH. 

They do not send letters out confirming receipt for postal applications, so you will need to ring them to check if they have received your application by calling 0117 372 3700.  When you call, let them know you have applied for a MIC, the date you posted the application, your name and the post code of the applicant, this will help them locate your application.

Processing timescale

CITES aims to process and issue applications within 15 working days. This can be extended where they have to request additional information from the applicant, and if they have to seek further advice from our scientific authorities.  But generally most applications will be processed within 30 working days.

If your application is urgent for a special reason, let them know why.  They will try to accommodate genuinely urgent requests where our resources permit.

Please do not make any cross border travel arrangements for your instrument until you are in possession of your MIC. 

Using the MIC

Guidance notes on how to use the MIC are sent out in a covering letter with the issued Certificate.

UK ports of entry – practical considerations

Please refer to guidance notes published on the website: Trading CITES-listed specimens through UK ports and airports from 1 January 2021.