Permits

Frequently Asked Questions and Facts Index   "N/O/P/Q"

PintailsThe following alphabetical index is to help you quickly find the answer to general permit questions.  The keywords lead you to frequently asked questions and their answer, as well as links to fact sheets and specific web pages.

ALPHABETICAL INDEX:

[A] [B]  [C]  [D]  [E]  [F/G/H]  [I/J/K]  [L/M]  [R]  [S]  [T/U/V/W/X/Y/Z]

 

Keyword – N/O/P/Q

Question/Answer/Fact

National Wildlife Refuge

Special Use Permits

Nursery

All international shipments of nursery-grown CITES-protected plants must be accompanied by a CITES permit or certificate. Plants and plant parts, products, and derivatives grown by nurseries must meet the CITES definition of "artificially propagated" in order to qualify for an exemption certificate. Click here for an application form. Check with APHIS, the State, and foreign country to meet their requirements.

Orchids

How are orchids protected?  All orchids, with a few exceptions mentioned below, are listed in CITES.  Most are listed in Appendix II, but some have greater protection and are listed in Appendix I.  Some orchids are also listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA.  Check the CITES list or the ESA list to determine how a specific orchid is listed. Click here for a CITES fact sheet and an ESA fact sheet. Check with APHIS, the State, or foreign country to meet their requirements.

Orchids, Artificially Propagated

Do I need a permit to import or export artificially propagated orchids?  Yes, orchids listed under CITES and/or the ESA that have been grown from seeds, cuttings, divisions, or other propagules under controlled conditions require CITES and/or ESA documents.  Some may qualify for a CITES exemption certificate for artificially propagated plants, others may need an export permit or re-export certificate.  Click here for a CITES application form for artificially propagated plants or an ESA application form.

Orchid Exemptions (CITES)

Do I need a permit to import, export, or re-export artificially propagated CITES orchids? All living or dead plants in the family Orchidaceae are listed under CITES and require permits or certificates, including artificially propagated plants, hybrids, plant parts, products, or derivatives, with a few exceptions. The exemption for artificially propagated Appendix-I flasked seedlings can be found in the Resolution on the Regulation of Trade in Plants, Resolution Conf. 11.11 (Rev. CoP13). Exemptions for unannotated artificially propagated Appendix-I hybrids and Appenidx-II orchids are given in #8 of the interpretation to the list (Appendices). Additional exemptions are provided for artificially propagated hybrids of certain orchids under specific circumstances as outlined in footnote 8 at the end of the Appendices.

Orchid Lei

I was given a lei of orchids in Hawaii and would like to take it back to the United Kingdom with me.  Do I need a permit?  No.  A CITES permit is not required to export cut flowers of artificially propagated Appendix-II orchids or Appendix-I orchid hybrids.  Contact the foreign country to inquire about its permitting requirements.

Orchid Shows

I belong to an orchid society and would like to take my orchids to show in a competition in Canada.  Do I need a permit to take them to Canada and back?  Yes.  Click here for an application form.  Contact APHIS, the State, and foreign country to meet their permitting requirements.

Ostrich

Do I need a permit to import ostrich products, such as eggs?  Ostrich populations of West and North Africa (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan) are listed in CITES Appendix I.  Arabian ostrich (Struthio camelus syriacus) and West African ostrich (Struthio camelus spatzi) are listed as endangered under the ESA.

  • For ostrich that are not listed in Appendix I or endangered, you do not need a CITES or ESA permit from us for the import or export of live specimens or products, such as decorated dried eggs.
  • A person engaged in business as an importer or exporter of wildlife must obtain an import/export license.
  • You must declare any ostrich products that you import in your personal accompanying baggage on the Customs declaration form. Click here for information if you are commercially importing or exporting ostrich products, or you are separately shipping personal items through the mail or as cargo.
  • Check with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, State, and foreign country to meet their requirements.
  • You need a permit to import or export Appendix-I or endangered ostrich.  Click here for an application form.

Pets, Personal

Import, Export, or Re-export

You must import or export your wildlife pet through any port authorized by the Department of Agriculture. You must notify the FWS wildlife inspection office at the port of entry or exit at least 48 hours in advance, present our declaration form to the wildlife inspectors, and receive clearance from us prior to export or at the time of import. Click here for information on commercially importing and exporting wildlife.

Phytosanitary Certificate

May I use a phytosanitary certificate as the CITES permit to export my plants?  No.  At this time, the United States does not use phytosanitary certificates in lieu of CITES documents to export artificially propagated plants.  However, we accept phytosanitary certificates from other countries that are on file with the Secretariat and that meet CITES requirements.  CITES allows countries to use phytosanitary certificates in lieu of CITES certificates to export. Appendix-II or -III artificially propagated plants and Appendix-I artificially propagated hybrids under specific circumstances.  The document must include:  (a) the scientific name of the species; (b) the type and quantity of the specimen; and (c) a stamp, seal, or other specific indication stating that the specimen is artificially propagated as defined by CITES.  The Management Authority must inform the CITES Secretariat of its certificate, stamp, seal, etc.

Do I need a phytosanitary certificate to export my plants?  Click here to access the APHIS website.

Piranha

Do I need a permit to possess, import, or export a piranha?  You do not need a permit from us for possession or for the non-commercial import or export of piranha (Serrasalmus sp.) into the United States.

  • A person engaged in business as an importer or exporter of wildlife must obtain an import/export license.
  • You must import or export your pet piranha through a designated port unless you have received a port exception permit. You must notify the FWS wildlife inspection office at the port of entry or exit at least 48 hours in advance, present our declaration form to the wildlife inspectors, and receive clearance from us prior to export or at the time of import. Click here for our information on commercially importing and exporting wildlife.
  • No live piranha may be released into the wild except by the State wildlife conservation agency having jurisdiction over the area of release or by persons having prior written permission from such agency.  Some States also the possession and transport of piranha.
  • Check with the foreign county to meet its requirements.

Pitcher Plants

Do I need a permit to import or export pitcher plants?  All Old World and New World pitcher plants in the genera Nepenthes and Sarracenia are listed in CITES.  Most are listed in Appendix II, but some have greater protection and are listed in Appendix I.  Check the CITES list to see how a specific pitcher plant is protected.  Some pitcher plants are also listed under the ESA.  Click here for a CITES fact sheet and a ESA fact sheet. Check with APHIS, the State, and foreign country to meet their requirements.

Plants, Carnivorous

Are carnivorous plants protected by CITES?  Some carnivorous plant species are listed in CITES and/or the ESA.  Check the CITES list and ESA list to find out if your plant is protected.

Plant, Exemptions

Are some plant parts, products, or derivatives exempt from CITES or ESA controls?  All living or dead plants listed under CITES and/or ESA require permits or certificates, including artificially propagated plants, hybrids, plant parts, products, and derivatives with a few exceptions.  Under CITES, the exempt parts, products, and derivatives of Appendix-II plants and artificially propagated Appendix-I hybrids are:  (a) seeds, spores, or pollen; (b) cut flowers of artificially propagated plants or hybrids; and (c) seedling or tissue culture in vitro in solid or liquid media transported in sterile containers.  See cactus and orchid exemptions for specific exemptions for species in these families.  Under the ESA, seeds of endangered plants require permits to be imported or exported.  Seeds of threatened plants require permits if the seed came from wild plants, but do not require permits if the seeds are from artificially propagated plants.  A label stating that the seeds are of cultivated origin must accompany the shipment of such seeds.

Poinsettia

Do I need a CITES permit to export poinsettia?  No.  Non-succulent euphorbia, such as poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), are exempt from the controls of CITES.  Contact APHIS, the State, and foreign country to meet their requirements.

Polar Bear

Import a Sport-hunted Trophy from Canada

May I import a polar bear rug that I purchased while on vacation outside of the United States?  No.  Articles, such as hides, rugs, clothing, curio or jewelry, made from marine mammal specimens in other countries cannot be imported.  Authentic native handicrafts made by Alaskan natives may be re-imported if previously lawfully exported from the United States.

Pollen

Do I need a permit to import or export pollen from CITES-listed plants?  Pollen, including orchid pollina, and spores of Appendix-II plants and hybrids, and Appendix-I artificially propagated hybrids are exempt from CITES controls. Check with APHIS to meet its requirements.

Pre-Act

Import or Export (ESA or MMPA)

Pre-Convention

Import, Export, or Re-export

Processing Time

How long will it take to process my permit?  Processing time may vary depending on how complete the application is when it is submitted, the uniqueness of the activity or species involved or complexity of the application, and the number of applications received by the processing office.  Generally, you should expect processing time to be at least:

  • 30 days for pet bird applications
  • 60 days for most other applications
  • 90 days for endangered species and marine mammal applications

Question

Do you still have an unanswered question?  If so, suggest a new question to us.

CITES:   Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
BGEPA: Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
ESA:      Endangered Species Act
MBTA:   Migratory Bird Treaty Act
MMPA:  Marine Mammal Protection Act
WBCA:  Wild Bird Conservation Act

For additional information, visit the Fish and Wildlife Service's Frequently Asked Questions web site.

Last updated: February 26, 2010