Tighter Restrictions on Ivory entering the USA
As of February, there are some tighter restrictions for traveling with your bagpipes that have real ivory.
According to The League of American Orchestras:
Many instruments containing African elephant ivory will not be allowed into the U.S., even if a musician is simply returning to the U.S. with instruments in their personal possession, not intended for sale.
Under the new rules, a musical instrument that contains African elephant ivory may only be brought into the U.S. if it meets all of the following criteria:
- Was legally acquired prior to February 26, 1976;
- Has not subsequently been transferred from one person to another person for financial gain or profit since February 26, 1976;
- The person or group qualifies for a CITES musical instrument certificate; and
- The musical instrument containing African elephant ivory is accompanied by a valid CITES musical instrument certificate or an equivalent CITES document.
If a musician purchased an instrument containing African Elephant ivory after 1976, they are not allowed to bring it into the U.S. Even if it is certified, and even if they are simply returning from an international performance.
- The passport will only be good for up to 3 years, so it will need to be renewed.
- The certification requirement is not a new one. They have long been required to obtain a certification before travelling internationally.
- The existing certification requirement is likely to now be enforced much more strictly.
The following information comes directly from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Commercial import of musical instruments containing African elephant ivory will be prohibited.
Orchestras, professional musicians and similar entities will be allowed to import certain musical instruments containing African elephant ivory if the instruments qualify as pre-Convention and are not destined to be sold. Worked African elephant ivory imported as part of a musical instrument will continue to be allowed provided the worked ivory was legally acquired prior to February 26, 1976; the worked elephant ivory has not subsequently been transferred from one person to another person in pursuit of financial gain or profit; and the item is accompanied by a valid CITES musical instrument passport or CITES traveling exhibition certificate.
Antique musical instruments made of endangered species that are already in the United States may continue to be sold in interstate commerce without an ESA permit provided the seller can prove the specimen meets the definition of an antique under the ESA.