Permitting Application Process for Appendix III Turtles

Below is a list of the current freshwater turtle species listed by the United States in Appendix III of CITES.

Species

Common Name

Range States in the United States and Provinces of Canada

Macroclemys Macrochelystemminckii

Alligator snapping turtle

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana (uncertain), Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas

Graptemys barbouri

Barbour’s map turtle

Alabama, Florida, and Georgia

Graptemys caglei

Cagle’s map turtle

Texas

Graptemys ernsti

Escambia map turtle

Alabama and Florida

Graptemys flavimaculata

Yellow-blotched map turtle

Mississippi

Graptemys geographica

Common map turtle

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin (Canada - Ontario and Quebec)

Graptemys gibbonsi

Pascagoula map turtle

Louisiana and Mississippi

Graptemys nigrinoda

Black-knobbed map turtle

Alabama and Mississippi

Graptemys oculifera

Ringed map turtle

Louisiana and Mississippi

Graptemys ouachitensis

Ouachita map turtle

Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin

Graptemys pseudogeographica

False map turtle

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida (uncertain), Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin

Graptemys pulchra

Alabama map turtle

Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi

Graptemys versa

Texas map turtle

Texas

 

"Farm" Production- Establishing an Annual Master File

alligator-snapping-turtle

Credit: Gary M. Stolz/USFWS

If you have determined that you are eligible to establish a Master File for the export of Appendix III turtles, please use application form 3-200-75 pdf. While this general application form, entitled ‘Export/Re-export of Wildlife Removed from the Wild,’ refers to removing specimens from the wild, it is currently the best application form available to establishing an annual master file. To determine if you are eligible to establish a Master File, click here.

  1. On page one, 
  • Complete section B.
  • Complete section C. Questions 1 and 2 are primarily there as a reminder to you on the need to obtain required permits or licenses from your State. Question 3 addresses the application fee. The fee for an annual Master File is $50 (as established in 50 CFR 13.11(4)). Please do not submit a fee of $100. Please sign and date the application in question 5 and 6. 
  1. On page two, 
  • Question 1: Please identify the specific Appendix-III turtle species your facility produces and will be exporting. Given that common names may have regional variation, you must include the scientific name of the species (our list of accepted scientific names is available). You DO NOT need to provide hatch dates, sex, or a description of the turtles since, at the time of applying, this information is not available (please note, however, that permits issued under a Master file will be conditioned to limit the size of the specimens to 2” or less for map turtles and 3” or less for alligator snapping turtles). The current location of the specimens would be your facility.
  • Question 2: The purpose of the exports would be commercial.
  • Question 3: Please provide:
    • Subquestion a: The location of your facility (physical location)
    • Subquestion b: Since you do not have this information at the time of applying, no information needs to be provided.
    • Subquestion c: Information on any licensing or permitting requirements for the state where your facility is located. Copies of such licenses or permits would be helpful, but are not mandatory. Please note that the Division of Management Authority is in communication with the appropriate State agencies regarding the production of Appendix-III turtles.
    • Subquestion d: Information provided for question c) answers this question.
    • Subquestion e: Information provided for question c) answers this question.
  • Questions 4: Since at the time of applying this information is not available, no information is required for this question.
  • Question 5: Since this question refers to migratory bird species, no information is required.
  • Question 6: Please provide a description of the shipping containers used to export your turtles, as well as arrangements for caring for the turtles during transport. (Please note that all shipments must meet International Air Transport Association [IATA] shipping standards and container requirements. For questions, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement at the designated wildlife port from which you intend to export.)
  • Question 7: Since this question refers to Appendix I specimens, no information is required.
  • Question 8: Please identify the port of export that you would most likely use.
  • Questions 9, 10, and 11: Please answer if appropriate. 

Once the Division of Management Authority receives your request, we will review your application to determine if you meet the issuance criteria for export permits for Appendix III specimens. The main issue is to evaluate whether your facility meets all State regulations for possessing and exporting the species identified in your application. This determination will be made in conjunction with your State, primarily through documentation (e.g., laws, regulations, lists of registered farms) that they provide to the Division of Management Authority. If the Division of Management Authority has not received the needed information from your State prior to your applying, we will contact your State directly for more information. Processing time will generally be less than 4 weeks. This time however may be extended if the Division of Management Authority needs to contact your State for more information.

  1. In addition to the completed application, please submit a cover letter prominently identifying that you are requesting an annual Master File for Appendix-III turtles. As mentioned above, once a Master file is established, the Division of Management Authority will issue a number of partially completed export permits that you will need to complete and present to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Inspector at the time of export. In your cover letter, please identify the number of permits you believe you would need for the first 5-6 months AFTER the listing goes into effect (more information provided below). A processing fee of $5 is required for each permit requested. Each permit will be valid for 6 months (i.e., must be used within six months of the listing date). The Division of Management Authority cannot refund or renew any 6-month permit that has expired. 

  2. Finally, include a check for $50, plus $5 for each export permit needed. For example, if you believe you will make 10 shipments in the first 6 months, you will need 10 permits; you should therefore submit a fee of $100 ($50 for the Master file and $50 for the 10 export permits).


"Farm" Production - Export Permits issued off of an Annual Master File

Once an annual Master file has been established, the Division of Management Authority will issue you a number of single-use export permits. Each time you export, your shipment must be accompanied by one of these permits. Each permit will be partially completed with your facility name, the species that you will be exporting and the size (2 inches or less for map turtles and 3 inches or less for alligator snapping turtles) of the specimens. You will need to fill in the name and foreign address of the consignee (Block 4 of the permit) and the quantity of turtles being exported (Block 11 of the permit).

As stated above, when you submit your application to establish an annual Master File, you need to identify in your cover letter the number of export permits you believe you will need in the first 5-6 months after the listing of these turtles goes into effect. Each permit will be valid for 6 months (i.e., must be used within 6 months of the date the species was listed by CITES). The Division of Management Authority cannot refund or renew any 6-month permit that has expired.

Since your annual Master File is valid for one year, you may request as many export permits during that one year period as you believe you will need. It is expected that your request for the first batch of export permits will occur before these species are officially listed (i.e., June 14). As such, we will issue this batch with the effective date of June 14 (in other words, we will be post-dating these permits). Once the species are officially listed, we will make the effective date of all subsequent permits the date on which the permits were actually issued. Therefore, when you request your first batch of permits, please only request the number you believe you will use in the first 5 to 6 months.

After 4 or 5 months of using these permits, the Division of Management Authority recommends that you re-evaluate the number of permits you will need for the next 6 month period. At that time, please submit a letter to the Division of Management Authority requesting any additional permits you need. Your letter should contain the following information and a $5 processing fee for each permit requested:

  • Your facility name
  • Your annual Master File number (this number will be clearly displayed on the documentation that the Division of Management Authority sends to you at the time your Master file is approved).
  • The number of additional permits needed for the upcoming 6 months.
  • Address where you wish permits to be mailed and overnight billing information (if desired).
  • Name of the person we should contact if we have questions.
  • Signature of Principal Officer.

The processing time to receive additional export permits will be approximately 2 weeks.


Commercial Dealers, Zoological, and Other Exports - Single Permit Issuance

If you are exporting turtles removed from the wild, please use application form 3-200-27 pdf. While this general application form, entitled ‘Export/Re-export of Wildlife Removed from the Wild’, refers to removing specimens from the wild, it is currently the application form to request authorization to conduct this type of activity.

  1. On page one, 
  • Complete section A (if you are not a business) or B (if you are a business).
  • Complete section C. Questions 1 and 2 are primarily there as a reminder to you on the need to obtain required permits or licenses from your State. There is a $100 application fee that must be submitted with this application. Please sign and date the application in question 5 and 6.
  1. On page two,
  • Question 1: Please complete this question as asked. 
  • Question 2: The purpose of the export could be zoological, scientific, or commercial (if you are a commercial exporter).
  • Question 3:
    • Subquestion a: Location where specimens were obtained. This could be the production farm where purchased or location in the wild where the specimen was collected.
    • Subquestion b: since the purpose of the application is commercial, you do not need to provide any information for this question.
    • Subquestion c: Provide copies of documentation showing that you acquired the animal from the farm or breeding facility or documentation demonstrating the history of transactions (chain of ownership of each animal) or, if removed from the wild, any licenses or permits required by the State from which the specimen was obtained. In addition, if the State in which you reside requires any permits for possession or sale, please provide copies.
    • Subquestion d: the information provided for subquestion c) will be used for this question as well
    • Subquestion e: the information provided for subquestion c) will be used for this question as well
  • Question 4: Please complete this question as requested.
  • Question 5: Since this question relates to migratory birds, no information is required for this question.
  • Question 6: Please provide a description of the shipping containers used to export your turtles, as well as arrangements for caring for the turtles during transport.
  • Question 7: Since this question relates to Appendix I specimens, no information is required for this question.
  • Question 8: Please identify the port of export that you would most likely be using.
  • Questions 9, 10, and 11: Please answer if appropriate.

Once the Division of Management Authority receives your request, we will review your application to evaluate if you meet the issuance criteria for an export permit for Appendix-III specimens. The main issue is to determine whether the specimens were obtained in accordance to State and local laws. This determination will be based on information you provide in your application, as well as information (e.g., laws, regulations) that the Division of Management Authority has received from the appropriate state agencies. The processing time for such applications will be approximately 3-4 weeks.

NOTE: Exporters may need an import/export license in order to engage in business as an importer or exporter of wildlife.

For general information on CITES permit requirements, click here pdf.

If, after reading this information, you are unclear about the permitting process, please feel free to contact us.