The import or export of many personal pets, especially exotic pets,
may be regulated by a conservation
law or treaty, which is implemented by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service. This regulation is part of domestic and international conservation
efforts to protect wildlife subject to international trade.
What kinds of pets are
not regulated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, and the European ferret, are not
protected by CITES
and do not require CITES permits. The domestic
Bengal cats and other crosses between CITES-listed species and the
domestic cat, however, are protected by CITES and require CITES permits.
Check with other agencies to meet their requirements for the import or
export of pets.
What kinds of pets are regulated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Many exotic pets are protected by
CITES. This includes most parrots,
cockatoos, lories, and macaws; iguanas;
box turtles; and all boas and pythons.
However, the budgerigar (Melopsittacus
undulatus), cockatiel (Nymphicus
hollandicus), rose-ringed parakeet
krameri), and the peach-faced
are not listed by CITES. Before you
leave or travel to the United States,
you must have a CITES permit if your
pet is listed by CITES.
Most live exotic bird species listed under CITES are listed also under
Bird Conservation Act and require a permit to be imported into the
Many raptors are listed under the Migratory
Bird Treaty Act and require a permit to be imported or exported,
including for temporary travel to another country for falconry competitions.
If the import or export is for personal use with no intention to sell
or transfer the bird, then we suggest you use one of the personal pet
application forms below.
If you do not know if your pet is regulated, visit the species
list page to find out its status.
What kinds of pets are prohibited from import and export?
Some species protected under the U.S.
Endangered Species Act are kept as pets. This includes golden conures
(Queen of Bavaria conure) (Aratinga guarouba), scarlet-chested parakeets
(Neophema splendida), and Asian
bonytongue or arawana (Scleropages formosus). Permits to import
or export endangered or threatened animals as pets generally are not issued. Using protected species as pets is not consistent with the purposes of this Act, which is aimed at conservation of the species
and recovery of wild populations.
Several animals listed as injurious species under the Lacey Act are sold as pets overseas. These species are listed as injurious in the United States because they could cause harm to agricultural crops, native ecosystems, or to people, if they escape from captivity. Snakeheads (family Channidae), walking catfish (family Claridae), Java sparrow (Padda oryzivora), red-whiskered bulbul
(Pycnonotus jocosus), brushtailed possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), and
mongooses (any species of the genera Atilax, Cynictis, Helogale, Herpestes,
Ichneumia, Mungos, and Suricata) are some of the animals considered
injurious. An injurious wildlife permit is needed to import, transport,
or acquire these species. These permits cannot be issued for pet purposes.
Import into the United States of some animals as pets (for example,
some African rodents) has been prohibited because of their potential
to harbor and transmit diseases such as monkeypox.
Be aware that the restriction on import of exotic pets may change quickly
based on disease concerns. Before purchasing an animal abroad and attempting
to import it, please make sure that the animal will be allowed entry
into the United States (see other offices to contact).
How can I obtain a permit? To get a permit, you must
submit an application form and meet the issuance criteria.
CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; MBTA – Migratory Bird
Treaty Act; WBCA – Wild Bird Conservation Act
Mail the application to the Division of Management Authority at the
address shown on the form. Include a check or money order for the processing
fee in the amount shown on the application form. Make your check or
money order payable to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. An original
signature is required, therefore, we cannot accept a fax of your
application. Please allow at least 30 days for processing.
What is the certification on the permit application?
When you apply for a permit, you will be asked to certify on the application
that you have read and are familiar with the General Permit Procedures
regulations (50 CFR Part 13), which apply to all permits. A copy of
excerpts from 50 CFR Part 13 is included in the application package.
In addition, you will be asked to certify that you have read and are familiar with
all other regulations
that implement the specific laws or treaties under which the permit
application is being
considered. See the table above for a copy of these other regulations.
What is a pet passport? The pet passport is a CITES
Certificate of Ownership for personally owned wildlife. The certificate
acts like a passport to simplify the permit procedures for people who
frequently travel internationally with companion animals or animals
used in noncommercial competitions, such as falconry. It is issued for
a single animal, is valid for 3 years, and may be used for multiple
border crossings. The owner must accompany the pet when crossing international
borders and the animal may not be
sold or otherwise transferred when traveling abroad.
How can I ensure my application is complete? You
need to provide information for each applicable item on the second and
third pages of the application form. Here are some tips on answering
questions that are frequently incomplete:
- You must include the scientific name and common name of your pet. If you are unsure of the scientific name, consult a reference or ask a local pet
or veterinarian for help.
- If you do not know the birth or hatch date, provide the approximate
age of your pet or at least the date when you acquired it.
- If you do not know the sex, state “unknown.”
- We highly recommend that your pet have a leg band, microchip, tattoo,
or other form of identification, especially if you frequently travel to foreign countries
with your pet.
- Indicate if the pet was born/hatched in captivity or taken from the
wild. If you do not know, state “unknown.”
- Describe the container (cage or plastic airline kennel) that you will
use to transport your pet. Also indicate what food and water you will provide your pet
during the trip or, in the case of some animals, that you will feed it before you begin
your trip. If you are taking your pet on a plane, be sure to check with the airline for
information on acceptable containers and other travel information.
- Indicate which port you will be leaving from or returning to the
United States with your pet. You are required by regulation to clear
any international movements of wildlife, even your pet, through a
or approved border
port where there is U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement
wildlife inspection staff. Not all U.S. ports are available. Before completing your application, you may want to call the wildlife
inspection office at the port to clarify the clearance procedures and find out any fees
you may be required to pay
- If you are submitting the one-time
personal pet form (3-200-46)
to export an Appendix-I species,
you will also need to obtain
a CITES import permit from the Management
Authority of the
country you are moving to or visiting.
This permit will need to be
issued before the
Division of Management Authority
can issue an export permit.
How long will it take to process my permit? We process
applications in the order they
are received. Please allow at least 30 days for processing. This time
may be longer if
your pet is a CITES Appendix-I species. We will contact you if we need
to complete the processing of your application. An incomplete or unclear
cause delay in processing. If you meet all of the issuance requirements,
a permit will be
issued. Your permit will be mailed to the address you provide on your
application. If you
want your permit express mailed, please provide a pre-paid label or
information (account number and expiration) for express delivery.
What are the procedures I need to follow to import or export
Are there other offices that I need to contact before importing
or exporting my pet?
- Check your permit for accuracy when you receive it in the mail.
- Read all attached conditions to ensure you understand what you are
authorized to do
and what procedures you need to follow.
Call the Service Wildlife Inspector at the port
at least 48 hours before you plan to
leave from or return to the United States to arrange for an inspection
of your pet. If
you are authorized under permit to use a port other than a designated
port, call the
Service Wildlife Inspector at that port at least 72 hours in advance.
This step is very
important since the inspector will also validate or cancel your permit.
- Complete a Declaration for Importation/Exportation of Wildlife
(Form 3-177.) You
also can obtain this form from the Wildlife
Inspector when you call to arrange an inspection.
- Visit the Law Enforcement website
to review the information
for international travelers.
We recommend that you contact the following offices to meet their requirements: