Instrument "Passports" Permit Licensed Travel

If you are the lucky owner of a vintage guitar made of Brazilian rosewood (or if you have an instrument with ivory hardware, or real tortoise shell components), as of June 12th, 2013, you may apply for a musical instrument certificate (a musical “passport”, of sorts), which will permit traveling with your instrument without the hassle of getting export permits for each country that you visit.

Up until June 12th, 2013, there was no “single paper” means of certifying that an instrument built with restricted materials was built legally, and prior to the materials’ inclusion into the Appendices of CITES. CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is an international treaty enforced in the US by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which is responsible for making sure species of animals and plants are not threatened as a result of trade.

Per the US Fish & Wildlife Service website, the ability to apply for a musical instrument certificate became effective on June 12th, 2013.  This was after the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, a meeting of the CITES parties currently consisting of 179 countries, where it was proposed by United States:

Musical instruments may contain parts or products of CITES-listed animal and plant species, such as Brazilian rosewood or elephant ivory.  Under current CITES requirements, musicians who travel internationally with their instruments must obtain an export permit from each country that they visit.

The United States has proposed a “passport” program that would allow for frequent travel across international borders with the issuance of just one document, making it easier for musicians to travel internationally with their instruments.

If you are curious about one man’s steps to acquire a musical instrument certificate for his guitar, check out this recent article in Fretboard Journal.

(via this Tweet from Acoustic Music Works, where I first learned of instrument “passports”)