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 Service?
Domesticated 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 Service?
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 (Psittacula krameri), and the peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) 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 the Wild Bird Conservation Act and require a permit to be imported into the United States.

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.

Personal Pet Application Forms Fact Sheets Regulations
Form 3-200-46 One-time import or export – primarily used when moving to or from the United States (CITES, MBTA, and/or WBCA) CITES

WBCA: 50 CFR Part 15
MBTA: 50 CFR Part 21
CITES: 50 CFR Part 23

Form 3-200-64 Pet passport – frequent, temporary, multiple cross-border movements (CITES, MBTA, and/or WBCA)

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 store employee 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 U.S. designated 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 more information to complete the processing of your application. An incomplete or unclear application will 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 credit card information (account number and expiration) for express delivery.

What are the procedures I need to follow to import or export 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.
Are there other offices that I need to contact before importing or exporting my pet?
We recommend that you contact the following offices to meet their requirements: