Animal and animal products


Basic information


Outline of the system

Import permits are required for the importation of certain animals and animal products/by products, organisms and vectors, and veterinary biological products, to protect U.S. livestock and poultry against the introduction of diseases that do not exist in the United States.


Product coverage

Permits are required for:

Live animals, including:

- Livestock and poultry and other species (i.e., zoo animals, pet birds) that may carry diseases that could affect US livestock and poultry;
- animal semen, ova, embryos;
- hatching eggs.

Certain animal (livestock and/or poultry) derived products for any reason, commercial or research uses;

Animal products:

- for human consumption (e.g. meat, milk, eggs, casings, processed products containing meat);
- animal by-products not for human consumption (e.g. bones, hides/skins, fetal bovine serum);
- for animal consumption (pet food/treats and animal feed ingredients, etc.);
- organisms and vectors able to transmit or harbour animal diseases;
- related materials that have been exposed to animal products capable of contamination with disease agents: containers, carriers, straw and hay, meat covers;
- Animal and avian specimens, tissues or blood products, monoclonal antibodies.

Veterinary Biologics (for research, transit, general distribution):

- Livestock and poultry pathogens (e.g. bacteria, viruses, fungi, TSE agents, protozoa);
- Derivative of livestock and poultry pathogens (e.g. recombinants, attenuated);
- Vector of livestock or poultry pathogen (e.g. arthropods, animal tissues);
- Vectors and organisms exposed to animals or animal products outside the United States (e.g. eggs, fetal bovine serum).

Nature of licensing



If Automatic, administrative purpose



If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime

The U.S. Department of Agriculture/APHIS Veterinary Services unit implements the import permit system to prevent the introduction of animal pests and diseases and to protect U.S. livestock from diseases that do not exist in the United States. APHIS restricts some animals and animal products from entering the United States because of the animal health situation in the region of origin.


Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

The permit system is not used to restrict the quantity or value of imports, but only to protect domestic agriculture from the introduction or entry of animal diseases or disease vectors.


Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

Not applicable.


The system applies to products originating from which country?

The permit system applies to regulated live animals coming from all countries (with some exceptions for Canada and Mexico) with some variation based on the species and the country of origin's disease status. Permits for animal products apply to all countries depending on disease status, species of animal, type of product, and intended use.


Expected duration of licensing procedure

Depends on the product. Ranges from 7 business days to several months for veterinary biologics.

Eligibility of applicants


Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?

While there is no system of registration, applicants are encouraged to electronically file their applications for most permits through the eFile (ePermits) system. Applicants must first be eAuthenticated to use this system.


What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?

All persons, firms, and institutions in the United States are eligible to apply for permits.


Is there a registration fee?


Is there a published list of authorized importers?

There is no published list of authorized importers.

Contact point for information on eligibility



United States Department of Agriculture



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service



1400 Independence Ave, SW, Stop 1021, Washington, DC, 20250



(301) 851-3300


E-mail address

Not applicable.

Submission of an application


Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application

Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Documentation requirements


What information is required in applications?

The information required in applications is set forth in VS forms 16-3 and 16-7, 16-79, 17-129, 17-128 and APHIS form 2005.


What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?

Window of submission of an application


How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?

The amount of time in advance of importation within which a permit must be applied for is not specified in the regulations.


Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain

There are no limitations as to the period of the year during which permit applications may be made.

Issuing the license


Can a licence be granted immediately on request?

A permit cannot be granted immediately upon request. Prior review of the application is required.


Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?

For animal products, by-products, and organisms and vectors, the permits are effected by one office. For live animals, permits can be effected by one office and jointly with Port Services.


Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?

The application is not passed on to other offices for visa, note or approval, and the importer does not have to approach more than one administrative office.


Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?

In the case the permit outlines import conditions, the applicant must comply with the terms of the permit. The importer certifies that the information on the application is accurate.

Fees and other administrative charges


Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?

There are import-related user fees associated with permit application review, inspections required for imports, testing and quarantines. Facilities manufacturing veterinary biologicals for importation are inspected under cooperative service agreements.


What is the amount of the fee or charge?


Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?

Reservation fees


Amount or rate?

The amount of the fee varies according to the animal and the bird.


Is it refundable?


What is the period of retention?


What is the purpose of this requirement?

Reservation fees for quarantine space are required for live animals and birds.

Refusal of an application


Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?

In general, there are no circumstances other than failure to meet ordinary criteria under which a permit may be refused.


Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?

In the case of live animals or animal products, poultry, or birds, a permit for a particular time period could be refused if space at a Quarantine Station is not available. An outbreak of a particular disease in the exporting country could be a cause to revoke a permit which was issued prior to the disease outbreak.


Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?

Reasons for refusal are given to the applicant.


If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?

No appeal procedures are specified in the legislation or regulations. Applicants must bring documentations/products into compliance within a specified time, after which refusal is final.



Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?


What documents are required upon actual importation?

In the case of live animals, copies of the import permits must accompany the shipment as well as an original health certificate issued by the national veterinary services (competent authority) of the country of origin. Depending on the import requirements for a specific commoditiy, copies of the import permit should also be accompanied by either a health certificate issued by the national veterinary services (compentent authority) of the country of origin or processing, or shipper's declaration, for certain shipments of animal products, and organism and vectors. Copies of the import permit should accompany shipments of veterinary biological products.


Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?

There are no other administrative procedures required prior to importation.

Conditions of licensing


What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?

Permits for animal products/by-products and organisms and vectors vary in length of their validity, but are generally for about one year. Permits for live animals and birds are valid for seven to 60 days, depending on the species. Permits for veterinary biological products for importation for distribution and sale do not have expiration dates.


Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?

There is no penalty for non-utilization of a permit. Application user fees and quarantine reservation fees are not refundable.


Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?

Permits are not transferable between importers.

Foreign Exchange


Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?

Not applicable.


Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?

Not applicable.


Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?

Not applicable.


What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?

Not applicable.