How to apply for a Native Animal Keeping Licence


New native animal keeping licences:

  • cannot be issued if you have a criminal conviction that relates to animal welfare issues or related conservation matters within the past three years
  • allow you to keep legally obtained wildlife for up to five years after which you will need to reapply for the licence.

To hold a native animal keeping licence, you must be at least 13 years of age. A licence may be issued to a child (aged between 13 and 17 years of age) if the child and the child's legal guardian live at the same address where the animal will be kept and the guardian agrees to supervise the child's activities under the licence. Both the child's and the legal guardian’s name will appear on the licence, but the child will still be the licence holder.

Apply for a licence

If you are aged 18 or over, you can apply for a Standard, Specialised or Advanced licence online or using the paper-based application form.

  1. Apply online (via the Online Services licensing system)
    To apply for any Standard, Specialised or Advanced licence please register with Online Services or log in to Online Services if already registered.

    Important note:

    If you currently hold an RWL granted under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 before Online Services commenced, your existing licence information will not be available in Online Services. Only new applications processed under Online Services will be available.

    Your child cannot apply for a licence using Online Services as a customer on the system must be aged 18 years or older. However, your child can apply using the paper-based form noting him/her as the proposed licensee and you as the supervising parent/guardian.

    If you are aged under 18, you can only apply for a licence using the paper-based application form.
  2. Apply offline (using a paper-based form)
    Please complete the Standard, Specialised and Advanced licence application form (DOCX, 181KB) or the Standard, specialised or advanced licence (for a child aged between 13 and 17 years of age) application form (DOCX, 155KB).

Application processing time

Your licence must be granted before you can keep wildlife. Assessment of your application can take up to 40 business days.

In most cases, this timeframe can be significantly reduced if you apply for a Standard, Specialised or Advanced licence using Online Services. Online Services will guide you in providing all required information and assess whether the licence can be granted without requiring further information. If so, your licence will be issued immediately online.

Specialised and Advanced licences which propose the keeping of venomous snakes, will not be issued immediately online as they may require manual assessment. Once your application has been assessed, you will be sent an email notifying you of the assessment outcome.

Always be careful to provide all information requested in the application process. When using Online Services an application will be considered as invalid if the required information has not been submitted. Similarly, paper-based applications with incomplete information will be returned to you for review and resubmission.

Online services user guides