February 1, 2003
Background: For decades, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibited anyone from bringing eagles, eagle feathers, or eagle parts into or out of the United States. The Act’s prohibitions applied not only to commercial trade, but to any international movement of eagles, including travel outside of the United States by Native Americans with eagle items used in the practice of their religion. No legal mechanism existed to facilitate the international transport of these eagle articles.
Action: Effective September 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced eagle transport permits to accommodate the religious and ceremonial needs of enrolled members of U.S. federally recognized tribes who want to travel overseas with their eagle parts and feathers.
Eagle transport permits make it legal under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act for enrolled members of U.S. federally recognized tribes to travel overseas with their eagle items. With this authorization, enrolled tribal members can now obtain the permits required under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to lawfully enter foreign countries with eagle items and avoid having those items seized overseas.
Enrolled members of U.S. federally recognized tribes who want to travel overseas with eagle items should apply for an eagle transport permit before any travel by contacting either the Service migratory bird office that serves their home State or the Service’s Division of Management Authority, which issues CITES permits.
Under Service policy, enrolled members of U.S. federally recognized tribes who want to travel to Canada or Mexico with their eagle items do not require an eagle transport permit. See our public bulletin on Transport of Eagle Items within North America.
Last updated: February 14, 2013