Permit Requirements

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC requires permits for the importation of various etiological agents. The permit is issued to the person importing the materials. This person is also legally responsible for assuring that the materials are properly packaged, labeled and shipped according to all applicable Federal and International regulations.

The following items require an importation permit from the CDC:

  • Etiological agents- generally any infectious agents known or suspected to cause disease in humans
  • Biological materials- unsterilized specimens of human and animal tissues containing an infectious or etiological agent
  • Hosts and vectors-
    • Animals: Any animal known or suspected of being infected with an organism capable of causing disease in humans
    • Bats: All live bats require an import permit from the CDC and the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Services
    • Arthropods: Any living insect or other arthropod that is known or suspected of containing an etiological agent
    • Snails: Snail species capable of transmitting a human pathogen


United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS)

The USDA-APHIS regulates the importation and domestic transfer of animals, animal-derived materials, plants and plant materials. An APHIS permit may be required for the shipment of the materials listed below.

Agricultural Permits
Arthropods (insects and mites)
Arthropods inhabiting dung or of medical/veterinary significance
Bees and bee related articles
Butterflies (live)
Cut flowers
Canadian plant material
Endangered species
Endangered species of wild fauna and flora
Foreign cotton and covers
Fruits and vegetables (including herbs and sprouts)
Genetically engineered known or potential plant pests
High consequence livestock pathogens and toxins
Indian corn or maize, broomcorn and related plants
Khapra beetle products
Live arthropods for display or educational purposes
Moths (live)
Noxious weeds
Nursery stocks (including seeds)
Parasitic plants
Plant pathogens
Postentry quarantine plant material
Predators and parasitoids of arthropods
Prohibited material for research purposes
Rice and rice related articles
Snails and slugs
Sugarcane products and by-products (including parts of the sugarcane plant)
Tissue culture materials of bovine or other livestock origins
Weed biocontrol organisms
Wood products

Veterinary Permits
A veterinary permit is generally needed for materials derived from animals or exposed to animal-source materials.  Materials which require a permit include, animal tissues, blood, cells or cell lines of livestock or poultry origin, RNA/DNA extracts, hormones, enzymes, monoclonal antibodies for in vivo use in non-human species, certain polyclonal antibodies, antisera, bulk shipments of test kit reagents, and microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi.  Exceptions to this requirement are human and non-human primate tissues, serum, and blood.

There are some animal products which do not require a permit. However, these materials will be reviewed at the port of entry and specific documentation guidelines must be followed. These products include:

  • Human Pharmaceuticals and Human Vaccines Containing Animal Components
  • Human and Non-Human Primate Material (excluding cell cultures)
  • Feline and Canine Material
  • Live Laboratory Mammals and Their Material (for research purposes)
  • Amphibians, Fish, Reptiles, Shellfish and Aquatic Species (includes venom)
  • Chemically Synthesized Materials
  • Microbially Produced Materials
  • Recombinant Microbes and Their Products
  • Non-pathogenic Microorganisms
  • Pet Chews
  • Cell Cultures/Lines, Recombinant Cell Cultures/Lines, and Their Products (for in vitro use)
  • Test Kits
  • Animal Feeds, Feed Supplements, and Pre-Mixes

Refer to for details.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

International import/export permits may be required for endangered species, wildlife, reptiles, CITES, plants, pet birds, circus animals, sport-hunted trophies, museum specimens, exhibits for scientific exchange, etc.


Department of Commerce
The exportation of various human, animal, and plant pathogens requires a license from the Department of Commerce.