Article 10 Licence

All Annex A tortoises require an Article 10 licence (A10) before any commercial transaction (sale) can take place.  However, there is no requirement for a licence in order to possess an Annex A tortoise, or if you give one away as a gift.

Annexe A Tortoises

Galapagos Giant Tortoise  (Geochelone nigra)
 Radiated tortoise (Geochelone radiata)
 Angonoka (Geochelone yniphora)
 Bolson tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus)
 Berger’s cape tortoise (Homopus bergeri)
 Pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri)
 Geometric tortoise  (Psammobates geometricus)
 Madagascar flat-shelled tortoise (Pyxis planicauda)
 Spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca)
 Madagascar spider tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides)
 Hermann’s tortoise  (Testudo hermanni)
 Egyptian tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni)
 Marginated tortoise  (Testudo marginata)
 Negev tortoise (Testudo wernei)

There are two types of Article 10 licences: the “Transaction Specific Certificate” (TSC), and the “Specimen Specific Certificate” (SSC).

1)   Transaction Specific Certificate (TSC) for tortoises with an SCL of less than 60mm (formerly 100mm).

  • TSCs are issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for  Annex A, captive-bred tortoises, under 60mm (formerly 100mm), and will be issued where the breeding pair are micro-chipped and in possession of full valid certificates (SCC).  The TSC is valid for one commercial transaction only and must show the seller/breeder in box 1 of the A10. Since the introduction of the mini microchips, all of the new licenses issued will only be issued for tortoises with an SCL of less than 60mm. Tortoises with an SCL greater or equal to 60mm, require micro-chipping and require a full life-time certificate "Specimen Specific Certificate" - please see below
  • Any certificate that does not show the seller in box 1 is not valid.  Despite popular belief, there is not a requirement for the seller/breeder to hand over the original licence on sale of an Annex A tortoise, in fact it is now the responsibility of the original certificate holder to return the original to Animal health once the tortoise has been passed on.  A photocopy of the A10 or the certificate number is sufficient for the new keeper.  Any  purchaser must have sight of the certificate in order to verify all the details are correct. 
  • The TSC becomes invalid for commercial transactions once any tortoise exceeds 60mm (older certs state 100mm).  If the tortoise is going to be kept as a pet, then the tortoise does NOT have to be microchipped at this point.  The TSC should be kept in a safe place as it may be needed in the future, and if lost a duplicate is not generally issued.   If however, a keeper wishes to use the tortoise for commercial purposes i.e. to sell or breed from the tortoise, the tortoise must be ‘marked’ with an unalterable microchip that meets ISO Standards 11784:1996 and 11785:1996 (E) in order that the tortoise can be cross-referenced with the certificate.
  • Microchipping should be carried out by a qualified veterinary practice experienced in this procedure with tortoises.
  • The details of the TSC and the marking (microchip number) should be supplied to DEFRA with a new application (FED 1012) for an SSC.
  • Providing all is in order the new A10 will be issued by DEFRA with the marking recorded on the new A10 (SSC).
  • Applying for a Transaction Specific Certificate (TSC) for UK bred hatchlings.
    Applications for a TSC A10 must be accompanied by the adults’ Certificate & Microchip numbers and an application on form FED 1012.

2)   Specimen Specific Certificates (SSC) for tortoises over 100mm/60mm.

  1. SSCs are granted for marked (micro-chipped) Annex A tortoises over 60mm (formerly 100mm).  The certificate must  remain with the tortoise during its lifetime and must display the tortoise’s microchip number.  Any commercial transaction involving an Annex A tortoise over 60mm (formerly 100mm) in length must be accompanied by the original SSC.
  2. Applying for a Specimen Specific Certificate (SSC)

    For tortoises already issued with a Transaction Specific Certificate

    Once a tortoise reaches 60mm/100mm (see the TSC) in length it is deemed necessary to arrange for the tortoise to be  microchipped and to apply for a SSC if the tortoise is to be used for commercial purposes.  Applications should be made on form FED1012 and should include the microchip No. and the TSC No.  If you have the original TSC, this should be returned with your application.

For Tortoises captive bred in the UK – without supporting documentary evidence.

If a tortoise is captive bred in the UK, and there is no documentation to reinforce that the tortoise is  captive bred, there is little chance of obtaining a full Specimen Specific Certificate.  Applications should be made in writing to DEFRA with an application form FED1012.  Each case is treated separately and considered on its own merits.  Usually, the best result one can hope for is a Breeder’s Certificate.  This can either be issued as a TSC or a SSC, dependent on whether the tortoise is over 60mm in length and microchipped.  This will permit the tortoise to be bred and can be used to apply for TSCs for any hatchlings.  It will not permit the sale of the tortoise.

For Tortoises imported into the UK pre-1984.

Again, each application is treated separately and considered on its own merits.  Applications should be made on form FED1012.  As much detail should be supplied as possible:

i) A letter of gifting from the last keeper giving details of how they obtained the tortoise and the date they passed the tortoise onto you.

ii) Any relationship to the last keeper/how you came to know the previous keeper and came by the tortoise.

iii) Details of previous keepers, with covering letters from them if possible.

iv) Details of when and where the tortoise was originally obtained.

v) Details of the tortoise’s microchip number.

iv) Should an application fail to produce a full SSC, DEFRA may consider issuing a breeders certificate in the form of an Article 10, which will be sufficient to be used to register any hatchlings for a TSC. This will not permit the sale of the tortoise.

3)   Breeder’s Certificate

A Breeder’s Certificate can be in two forms, either as a TSC or a SSC.  The breeder’s certificate is issued by DEFRA when there is inconclusive evidence as to whether a tortoise is captive bred.  The breeder’s certificate will permit the holder to breed from the tortoise and apply for licences for any offspring, but does not authorise the sale of the tortoise.

A10 application FED1012

January 2014


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