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Import: Bring Live Animals Into the United States

Select from the list below for import requirement information:

All information for pets was moved to the APHIS Pet Travel Website.  For information regarding the importation of pet birds into the United States, please click here.

(Note: bovine embryos may only be imported from the countries listed on this page, with an import permit as designated)

Australia (import protocol is being updated); a permit and export health certificate are required.

Canada

  • A permit and export health certificate is required to import bovine embryos from Canada.

European Union; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Liechtenstein; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Netherlands; a permit and export health certificate are required.

New Zealand; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Norway; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Spain; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Switzerland; a permit and export health certificate are required.

(Note: bovine semen may only be imported from the countries listed on this page, with an import permit as designated)

Australia (protocols are being updated); a permit and export health certificate are required.

Canada

  • A permit is not required to import bovine semen from Canada transported by land; an export health certificate must accompany the shipment and the port of entry into the United States must be notified at least three days in advance (link to port information).

European Union; a permit and export health certificate are required.

  • Approved EU Bovine Semen Sex Sorting Facilities - February 2016

  • Model Health Certificate Bovid Semen Import from the European Union- December 2019        
    • NOTE: This health certificate allows the import of water buffalo semen from the EU.

  • ALERT: Because of ongoing lumpy skin disease outbreaks in Europe, the following exclusions apply: Bovine semen from the following regions, collected on or after the specified dates, is not eligible for importation to the United States: Greece (August 4, 2015 - present) and Bulgaria (March 29, 2016 - present) and Croatia (August 8, 2016 - present).

Liechtenstein; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Netherland; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Norway; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Spain; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Switzerland; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Note: farmed camelids may only be imported from the countries listed on this page

Australia; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Canada

(Note: these species may only be imported from the following listed countries)

Miscellaneous

Australia; a permit and export health certificate are required

Canada

  • Protocol Cattle and Bison from Canada June 2018
    • NOTE:  As of November 13, 2017, the requirement for individual age identification for cattle destined for immediate slaughter has been removed from the Canadian export certificate. 

Mexico

Bovine Tuberculosis Requirements for Cattle from Mexico

New Zealand (protocol is being updated); a permit and export health certificate are required.


2016 APHIS/ARS/SAGARPA Tick Summit Presentations

Strategic Plan for Bovine Tuberculosis

APHIS and animal health authorities in Mexico have developed a joint 5-year Strategic Plan for collaboration on the management of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in both countries, in order to facilitate trade and continue eradication efforts for the disease. The plan was finalized in late 2013 and identifies two primary goals, each with specific objectives and strategies:

  • Goal 1: Minimize the risk of TB-affected or exposed animals moving in domestic or international trade.
  • Goal 2: Provide a collaborative framework to define and measure improvements in both the Mexican and U.S. TB programs.

The Strategic Plan represents a framework for these collaborations. Copies of the plan in English and Spanish are available at:

Farmed Cervids (Elk, Deer, Caribou, Reindeer, Moose)

Note: farmed cervids and their germplasm may only be imported from the countries listed on this page

Canada


Farmed Cervid Semen

Australia (protocol is being updated); a permit and export health certificate are required.

Canada

  • A permit is not required to import bovine semen from Canada transported by land; an export health certificate must accompany the shipment and the port of entry into the United States must be notified at least three days in advance (link to port information).

New Zealand (protocol is being updated); a permit and export health certificate are required.


Farmed Cervid Embryos

Australia (protocol is being updated); a permit and export health certificate are required

New Zealand (protocol is being updated); a permit and export health certificate are required.

Domestic dogs (Canines)

Importing Horses (including Donkeys, Mules, Onagers and Wild Asses, Zebras and Hybrids)

Equine Import and Export Information

**NOTE – New import requirements for species susceptible to Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) per Federal Order DA-2019-01. More TiLV fish disease information can be found here.

Live fish, fertilized eggs, and gametes of the species listed below may be imported into the United States, provided they meet the following USDA import requirements:

  1. Accompanied by an USDA import permit, AND
  2. Accompanied by a veterinary export health certificate (issued by a full-time veterinary officer or competent authority of the national government of the exporting country), AND
  3. Enter through, and undergo veterinary inspection at, a designated U.S. Port (see list below).

Fish species susceptible to Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC):

  1. Common carp, including koi carp (Cyprinus carpio)
  2. Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
  3. Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus)
  4. Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)
  5. Bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis)
  6. Crucian carp (Carassius carassius)
  7. Tench (Tinca tinca)
  8. Sheatfish (Silurus glanis)

Fish species susceptible to Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV):

  1. Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
  2. Commercial hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus x Oreochromis aureus)
  3. Red hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis spp.)
  4. Wild tilapia (Sarotherodon galilaeus)

I.  USDA Import Permit

A USDA import permit must be used to import live fish, fertilized eggs, and gametes from the SVC-susceptible species and TiLV-susceptible species listed above.  

  1. Complete and submit the import application:

Importers should allow seven (7) to ten (10) business days for import permit processing. 

  1. Import permit accompanies shipment:
    • The original import permit is valid for thirty (30) days, and must accompany all shipments of live fish, fertilized eggs, and gametes from SVC-susceptible species and TiLV-susceptible species entering the United States.

II. Veterinary Export Health Certificate

The veterinary health certificate from the exporting country (country of origin) should be issued in the following format and the original must accompany the shipment:

  1. Written in English OR accompanied by an official English translation.
  2. Endorsed by the competent authority of the exporting country. 

Fish Susceptible to Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC)

Fish Susceptible to Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV)

III. Port Inspection

In addition to the USDA import permit AND veterinary export health certificate, all imported live fish, fertilized eggs, and gametes from SVC-susceptible species and TiLV-susceptible species must meet the following requirements at the U.S. port of entry:

  1. Shipment must only enter the United States through a designated port where the USDA Veterinary Services (VS) personnel are available to process the shipments.
    • Designated Ports for SVC-susceptible species

      • California: Los Angeles, Otay Mesa, San Francisco
      • Florida: Miami, Tampa
      • Georgia: Atlanta
      • Hawaii: Honolulu
      • Illinois: Chicago
      • Massachusetts: Boston
      • Michigan: Detroit
      • New Jersey: Newark
      • New York: Buffalo-Niagara, New York
      • Oregon: Portland
      • Puerto Rico: San Juan
      • Texas: Dallas-Fort Worth
      • Washington: Seattle, Sumas

    • Designated Ports for TiLV-susceptible species
      • California: Los Angeles, San Francisco
      • Florida: Miami, Tampa
      • Georgia: Atlanta
      • Hawaii: Honolulu
      • Illinois: Chicago
      • New Jersey: Newark
      • New York: New York
      • Puerto Rico: San Juan
      • Texas: Houston
      • Washington: Seattle
    • If live fish, fertilized eggs, and gametes attempt to enter the United States through other, non-designated ports, they will be refused entry by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel. 
  1. Importers must notify the USDA Port Veterinarian seventy-two (72) hours in advance of the expected arrival of the shipment, to ensure clearance procedures may be expedited in a timely manner.
    • USDA Port Veterinarians may be contacted through their respective VS Area Offices (Animal Imports Port List). 
    • A User Fee will apply for port inspections of imported consignments.
  • All shipments must be accompanied by:
      • Original valid import permit AND
      • Original endorsed veterinary export health certificate AND
      • Cleaning & Disinfection Certificate (if applicable)

Additional Information

Shipments Transiting the United States 
Harmonized Tariff Structure (HTS) Import Codes

*Please note, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service may have additional import requirements for live fish. For more information, please contact your local port of entry (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Authorized Ports of Entry) or visit their website (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Information for Importers and Exporters).

For additional information please contact us at:
USDA, APHIS, VS
Strategy & Policy – Live Animal Imports
4700 River Road, Unit 39
Riverdale, MD 20737
Email: VS.Live.Animals.Import.Permits@aphis.usda.gov 
Phone: 301-851-3300, Option 2

Sheep and Goats

(Note: live sheep and goats may only be imported from the following listed countries)

Canada

  • Protocol US-origin sheep and goat movements through Canada from one US location to a second US location
  • Import of Direct to Slaughter Sheep and Goats to the United States; no permit is required; the port of entry into the 
    United States must be notified at least three days in advance (link to port information).
  • Protocol for the Import of Feeder Sheep and Goats to the United States (document is currently being updated); no permit is required.
    • NOTE: There are currently no approved feedlots for imported Canadian sheep and goats currently available in the U.S. 

Australia; a permit and export health certificate are required.

New Zealand; a permit and export health certificate are required.


Sheep and Goat Semen

(Note: sheep and goat semen may only be imported from the following listed countries)

Miscellaneous

  • There are specific post-arrival requirements for imports of sheep and goat semen from Canada, the European Union and Iceland (link)

Australia (Import protocol being updated); a permit and export health certificate are required.

Canada; a permit and export health certificate are required.

  1. Importers or their designated agents must provide documentation of the destination facility premise registration premises ID assigned and recorded in the Surveillance Collaborative System/ Scrapie (SCS SCR) with the permit application.
  2. A verification certificate required to import sheep or goat semen from CanadaThis must be submitted with the import permit application.
  3. There are also post-import requirements for each facility using this commodity.

European Union; a permit and export health certificate are required.

  1. Importers or their designated agents must provide documentation of the destination facility premise registration premises ID assigned and recorded in the Surveillance Collaborative System/ Scrapie (SCS SCR) with the permit application.
  2. There are also post-import requirements for each facility using this commodity.

Iceland; a permit and export health certificate are required.

  1. Importers or their designated agents must provide documentation of the destination facility premise registration premises ID assigned and recorded in the Surveillance Collaborative System/ Scrapie (SCS SCR) with the permit application.
  2. There are also post-import requirements for each facility using this commodity.

New Zealand; a permit and export health certificate are required.


Sheep and Goat Embryos

(Note: sheep and goat embryos may only be imported from the following listed countries)

Australia; a permit and export health certificate are required.

New Zealand; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Swine

(Note: these species may only be imported from the following listed countries)

Canada

European Union; A permit and export health certificate are required.


Swine Semen

Canada

  • No permit is required if the semen tanks are transported by land; an export health certificate is required to import swine semen from Canada.

European Union; a permit and export health certificate are required.

Norway; a permit and export health certificate are required.


Swine Embryos

Canada

  • No permit is required if the embryo tanks are transported by land; an export health certificate is required to import swine semen from Canada.

European Union; new documents pending (a permit and export health certificate will be required.)

  • Protocol Swine Embryo Import from Member States of the EU - pending
  • Model Health Certificate Swine Embryo Import from Member States of the EU - pending
There are many different processes involved with importing different species of regulated live animals into the United States including guidelines and regulations, permits and certification, and associated user fees. 

Live Animal Import Permits: Applicants may submit import permit applications, VS Form 17-129, to 
Strategy and Policy at:

Live Animal Import Permits 
USDA-APHIS-Veterinary Services 
Strategy and Policy
4700 River Rd. Unit 39 
Riverdale, MD 20737

For faster service, importers (or other applicants seeking to import live animals, semen or embryos) may submit applications to Strategy and Policy at VS.Live.Animals.Import.Permits@aphis.usda.gov.

**Please check with individual state(s) regarding specific laws for the species of animal you wish to import**

VS form 17-129  

Online Submission Process for Live Animal Import Permits: Importers may submit an online application for an import or transit permit for APHIS-regulated live animals and their reproductive tissue (genetic resources) (VS Form 17-129) through ePermits.  Click here to learn how to register for ePermits.

Important Updates

Travel Advisory: Information for Travelers Who Visit Farms or Come Into Contact with Animals in Other Countries

U.S. citizens and international visitors who visit a farm or make contact with live animals in another country may unknowingly spread potentially devastating animal diseases. Learn more

Contact Us: If you have any questions, or require further information related to imports of live animals, birds or germplasm, please contact Strategy and Policy at (301) 851-3300, option#2 or send an email to VS.Live.Animal.Import.Export@aphis.usda.gov.

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