Imports and exports of caviar into or out of the United States, whether for commercial or personal use, must meet CITES requirements and must be declared to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Wildlife Inspector. It must also meet requirements set forth by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Be sure to visit APHIS' site prior to importing or exporting.
All sturgeon caviar and meat entering the United States must be accompanied by a CITES export or re-export permit issued by the foreign Management Authority of export or reexports. Caviar must meet CITES Caviar Universal labeling requirements. Detailed information on labeling requirements for caviar is contained in the Service’s regulations at 50 CFR 23.71 and in CITES Resolution 12.7 (Revised at CoP14).
All paddlefish and sturgeon caviar and meat exiting the United States must be accompanied by a CITES export or re-export permit issued by the Division of Management Authority. Caviar must meet CITES Caviar Universal labeling requirements. Detailed information on labeling requirements for caviar is contained in the Service’s regulations at 50 CFR 23.71 and in CITES Resolution 12.7 (Revised at CoP14).
- If you are exporting wild caught paddlefish and sturgeon, you should complete application form 3-200-76.
- If you are re-exporting (the exportation of a previous exportation to the United States) caviar, you should application form 3-200-73 with copies of the canceled foreign export permit with the annex pages and the Service's declaration form 3-177 .
- If you are operating an aquaculture facility and exporting paddlefish or sturgeon caviar and meat, you should complete application form 3-200-80 .
The CITES personal effects exemption allows individuals to import, export, or re-export personally owned items made from CITES species that they wear or carry with them in their accompanying baggage without CITES permits. Individuals are able to import, export, or re-export up to 125 grams of sturgeon and paddlefish caviar without obtaining a CITES permit if they are carrying the product with them on their travel. Any person entering or leaving the United States may import or export no more than 125 grams of sturgeon or paddlefish caviar as part of their personal effects. Permits will be needed if the quantity exceeds 125 grams; permits must cover the entire amount, not just the amount in excess of the new limit. The primary container must meet the CITES caviar universal labeling requirements.
Except for quantities meeting the criteria for a personal effect exemption, all caviar entering the United States must be accompanied by a CITES export or re-export permit issued by the country of export or re-export and must meet CITES caviar universal labeling requirements. Please see the discussion "Export" above.
Travelers should also remember that the United States does not allow the import of any beluga caviar since the beluga sturgeon is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Trade in Beluga Sturgeon (Huso huso) Caviar and Meat
The import and foreign commerce in, beluga sturgeon (Huso huso) caviar or meat originating in the Black Sea basin countries of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, and Ukraine has been suspended. This suspension applies to shipments that have been exported directly from these countries, re-exported through an intermediary country, or transported as personal or household effects.
For detailed information about importing and exporting sturgeon and paddlefish caviar, including labeling and permitting requirements, please see the Service's regulations at 50 CFR 23.71.
For general information on CITES permit requirements, click here .
If, after reading this information, you are unclear about the permitting process, please feel free to contact us.