white-crested-cockatoo-on-branch

White cockatoo (Cacatua alba)
Credit: Amy Evenstad CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Traveling Abroad with Your Pet Bird

Did you know that your pet bird may be a species of protected wildlife? Most exotic birds (such as parrots, cockatoos and macaws but excepting budgerigars and cockatiels) are protected under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as well as the United States Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA). These laws protect wildlife that is threatened by overexploitation and other factors such as habitat loss. You can help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) conserve these species by complying with these laws to ensure that your lawful activities as a pet owner are separate and distinct from the activities that harm bird populations in the wild.

Wildlife Laws and Your Pet Bird

Before You Make Travel Plans

CITES/ WBCA/ ESA Permits: What Type of Permit Do I Need, and How Do I Apply?

Entering the United States with your Pet Bird after Living Abroad: Reminders

Leaving the United States with Your Pet Bird: Reminders

Approved (WBCA Import Authorization Exempt) Captive-Bred Species

Wildlife Laws and Your Pet Bird

If you wish to bring your pet bird into or out of the United States you will need to meet certain criteria under CITES and the WBCA and obtain a permit from the Service. Some species are also protected under the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA), and additional restrictions may apply. These regulations are in addition to any other State laws and the requirements of foreign countries.

Species covered by CITES are listed in three appendices according to the degree of protection they need.

  • Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances (permits are required both from the exporting and importing country).
  • Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but for which trade must be controlled in order to avoid overutilization that may threaten them with extinction (permits are required from the exporting country).
  • Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Party countries for assistance in controlling the trade in that species (a certificate of origin is required from the exporting country).

The WBCA, a significant step in international conservation efforts to protect exotic birds subject to trade, focuses on bird species listed in the CITES Appendices. The WBCA restricts the number of pet birds individuals may import into the United States annually (import permits are required).

The ESA protects species that are listed as endangered or threatened. An endangered species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range; a threatened species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Additional authorizations from the Service are required for ESA listed species.

To determine whether these regulations apply to your pet bird, you will first need to determine the scientific name (genus and species) as wildlife protections are designated at the species level. For example, the scientific name of the monk parakeet is genus Myiopsitta, species monachus. Ask your veterinarian to help you determine what type of bird you have; you may also be to find the scientific name online. Once you know the scientific name you can search whether your pet bird species is listed under CITES at the Species Plus website http://www.speciesplus.net/. Unless the species is listed in the table at the end of this document, any CITES listed species is also listed under the WBCA. You can learn whether your pet bird species is listed under the ESA at the Service’s Endangered Species Program website at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/index.html.

If you are unsure whether these regulations apply to you, contact the Service’s Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits, at managementauthority@fws.gov or 1-800-358-2104.

Before You Make Travel Plans

You will need to select a Designated Port and apply for and obtain necessary permits and authorizations from the United States and the foreign country prior to firming up your travel plans. The permit application processing time averages 60 days and there is not a means to expedite applications; be sure to plan ahead!

Crossing the United States Border with Your Pet Bird:  Inspections at a Designated Port

All wildlife imported or exported from the U.S. for any purpose must be inspected by a Wildlife Inspector from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement prior to import or export (including species not listed under CITES or WBCA). Wildlife Inspectors are stationed at offices called "Designated Ports" at certain border crossings and airports to perform these inspections by appointment. Review the list of Designated Ports prior to arranging your travel plans or applying for a permit (see http://www.fws.gov/le/ports-contact-information.html). If you are unable to travel through a Designated Port, you may apply for a Designated Port Exception Permit by submitting application form 3-200-2, available from http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-2.pdf. A Designated Port Exception Permit authorizes an inspection, by appointment, at another border crossing. When you later apply for a permit to import/export your pet, report the Designated Port you select on your application form, or submit a copy of your Designated Port Exception Permit.

Once you have obtained all necessary permits and authorizations and are ready to travel, contact the Wildlife Inspector at the appropriate Port at least 72 hours in advance to make an appointment for the inspection and clearance of your pet. Complete a Declaration Form 3-177 prior to your appointment (http://www.fws.gov/le/declaration-form-3-177.html). At the appointment you will present your pet, your permits, the Declaration form 3-177, and any other required documentation for inspection. Contact a Wildlife Inspector to discuss questions about this process (see http://www.fws.gov/le/ports-contact-information.html).

United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA – APHIS)

Contact USDA-APHIS to determine their quarantine and health certificate requirements for import and export; visit their website at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel or call the National Import Export Services (NIES) Call Center: 301-851-3300. 

CITES/ WBCA/ ESA Permits: What Type of Permit Do I Need, and How Do I Apply?

The Service issued regulations implementing CITES, the WBCA, and the ESA that provide for permits to allow the export and/or import of certain pet birds. The Service’s Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits processes applications for several different permit types, depending on the activity. The Branch of Permits will review a complete application to ensure your pet and the proposed activity meets the criteria for a permit. The Branch of Permits may issue one permit document with multiple authorizations under more than one law if your pet is listed under both CITES and WBCA. Permit application processing time averages 60 days. There is not a means to expedite applications, so be sure to plan ahead.

Review the permit types below; if you are unsure about what permit type applies to your pet bird or your activities, contact the Service’s Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits, at managementauthority@fws.gov or 1-800-358-2104.

WBCA/ CITES Single Use Import Permit:  This permit type authorizes a single border crossing into the United States under the WBCA (and CITES for Appendix I species) and remains valid for one year. It is appropriate if you are moving your household into the United States or are visiting the United States for a single trip.

The WBCA restricts the import of listed species, which may only be imported as a personally owned pet of an individual who is returning to the United States after being continuously out of the country for a minimum of one year. An individual may not import more than 2 birds in any year. If you meet these criteria, obtain a CITES Export permit from the foreign country, then submit application form 3-200-46 (available from http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-46.pdf) and the processing fee to the Service (instructions are available on the application form). You may apply for up to two pet birds in one year (both birds may be listed on the same application). Review the application form to determine what information the Service needs to make a permit issuance determination.

CITES/ WBCA Single Use Export Permit:  This permit type authorizes a single border crossing out of the United States under CITES and also includes a re-import authorization under the WBCA. The one-time CITES authorization remains valid for six months, but as long as you maintain a copy of the cleared permit the one-time WBCA re-import authorization will not expire and may be used at a later date. This permit type is appropriate if you are moving your household out of the United States or are taking a single trip out of the United States. You may apply for multiple birds on the same application. There are no restrictions on the length of time you may travel abroad or on the number of birds you may take with you.

Submit application form 3-200-46 (available from http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-46.pdf) and the processing fee to the Service (instructions are available on the application form). Review the application form to determine what information the Service needs to make a permit issuance determination. If your pet bird is listed under CITES Appendix I, you will first need to obtain a CITES import permit from the foreign country.

CITES/ WBCA Pet Passport:  This permit type is for U.S. Residents and authorizes multiple border crossings out of and back into the United States under CITES and the WBCA; it remains valid for three years. The pet passport is appropriate for individuals that intend to travel frequently from the United States with their pet bird, such as to and from Canada.

Submit application 3-200-64 (available from http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-64.pdf) and the processing fee to the Service (instructions are available on the form). Only one bird may be listed on a pet passport; submit a separate application for each pet bird. Review the application form to determine what information the Service needs to make a permit issuance determination.

WBCA/ CITES 3 Year Multiple Use Import Permit:  This permit type is for residents of foreign countries who have a pet passport from their home country and authorizes multiple imports under the WBCA (and CITES for Appendix I species).
Submit application form 3-200-46 (available from http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-46.pdf) and the processing fee to the Service (instructions are available on the application form). Under the WBCA, an individual can only import two birds per year; you may apply for up to two birds on one application. Review the application form to determine what information the Service needs to make a permit issuance determination. You will first need to obtain a CITES pet passport from the foreign country and submit a copy of the passport with your application.

ESA Listed Species:  Additional restrictions may apply for endangered or threatened species. For details on allowable activities with species listed under the Endangered Species Act, visit the Endangered Species Program’s parrot FAQ page: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/pdf/FAQs_Listed_Parrots_06242014_FINAL.pdf

Foreign Country Requirements
Be sure to check with the countries you are traveling to for their requirements. Import or export permits may be required under CITES, and other countries also have domestic laws and quarantine requirements for the import and export of protected wildlife. Contact information for foreign country CITES Offices is available at the CITES website:  http://www.cites.org/eng/cms/index.php/component/cp.

Entering the United States with your Pet Bird after Living Abroad:  Reminders

If your pet bird was acquired outside the United States and you have resided outside the United States constantly for 1 year, you may import a maximum of two pet birds per person, per year. To ensure that you will be allowed to bring your pet bird into the United States, remember to take the following steps prior to firming up your travel plans (see above for details):

  1. Obtain documented evidence that you have resided outside the United States continuously for a minimum of 1 year.
  2. Obtain documented evidence that each bird was acquired legally.
  3. Select a Designated Port for wildlife import/ export (or if not using a Designated Port, submit application form 3-200-2 to apply for a Designated Port Exception); you will report this on permit application forms and this may influence your travel plans.
  4. Apply for CITES permits or other authorizations from the foreign country.
  5. Apply for a permit from the Service’s Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits. Instructions are on the application form. Applications must be received at least 60 days in advance of anticipated travel.
  6. Discuss import/ export requirements with USDA- APHIS.
  7. Complete a Declaration Form 3-177 and arrange a clearance inspection at a Designated Port at least 72 hours prior to your anticipated travel. At the clearance appointment, have your CITES/ WBCA permit(s) validated by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Inspector. Ask for copies of cleared and validated documentation, and keep them in a permanent file. Copies of documentation will be required if you wish apply for a permit to travel with your pet in the future.

Leaving the United States with Your Pet Bird:  Reminders

To ensure that you will be allowed to bring your pet bird back into the United States from travel abroad, remember to take the following steps prior to firming up your travel plans (see above for details):

  1. Obtain documented evidence that each bird was acquired legally.
  2. Select a Designated Port for wildlife import/ export (or if not using a Designated Port, submit application form 3-200-2 to apply for a Designated Port Exception); you will report this on permit application forms and this may influence your travel plans.
  3. Apply for CITES permits or other authorizations from the foreign country.
  4. Apply for a permit from the Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits. Instructions are on the application form. Applications must be received at least 60 days in advance of anticipated travel.
  5. Discuss import/ export requirements with USDA- APHIS.
  6. Complete a Declaration Form 3-177 and arrange a clearance inspection at a Designated Port at least 72 hours prior to your anticipated travel. At the clearance appointment, have your CITES/ WBCA permit(s) validated by a Wildlife Inspector before you leave the United States. Ask for copies of cleared and validated documentation, and keep them in a permanent file. Copies of documentation will be required if you wish apply for a permit to travel with your pet in the future.
  7. Take a copy of your validated permit with you. The CITES Export permit may include a WBCA re-imort authorization. This copy must be presented when you re-enter the United States with your pet.

Approved (WBCA Import Authorization Exempt) Captive-Bred Species (listed at 50 CFR 15.33)

Note: The WBCA restricts the number of pet birds individuals may import into the United States annually.  However, if your bird is one of the following approved captive-bred species you do not need a WBCA permit to import your pet (CITES and ESA permit requirements still apply).

Common Name

Alternate Common Name

Scientific Name (Genus species subspecies)

Former Scientific Name

Order Falconiiformes:

Eurasian buzzard

European buzzard

Buteo buteo

 

Order Columbiformes:

Rock dove

 

Columba livia

 

Order Psittaciformes:

Yellow-collared lovebird

Masked lovebird

Agapornis personatus

Agapornis personata

Rosy-faced lovebird

Peach-faced lovebird

Agapornis roseicollis

Jandaya parakeet

Jandaya conure

Aratinga jandaya

Mallee ringneck parrot

 

Barnardius zonarius barnardi

Barnardius barnardi

Barred parakeet – blue form

Lineolated parakeet-blue form

Bolborhynchus lineola

Barred parakeet – yellow form

Lineolated parakeet-yellow form

Bolborhynchus lineola

Barred parakeet – white form

Lineolated parakeet-white form

Bolborhynchus lineola

Yellow-fronted parakeet

 

Cyanoramphus auriceps

Red-fronted parakeet

 

Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae

Pacific parrotlet - lutino form

 

Forpus coelestis

Pacific parrotlet - yellow form

 

Forpus coelestis

Pacific parrotlet - blue form

 

Forpus coelestis

Pacific parrotlet -cinnamon form

 

Forpus coelestis

Budgerigar

 

Melopsittacus undulatus

Bourke’s parrot

 

Neophema bourkii

Blue-winged parrot

 

Neophema chrysostoma

Elegant parrot

 

Neophema elegans

Turquoise parrot

 

Neophema pulchella

Scarlet-chested parrot

 

Neophema splendida

Cockatiel

 

Nymphicus hollandicus

Pale-headed rosella

 

Platycercus adscitus

Crimson rosella

Adelaidae rosella

Platycercus elegans

Platycercus adelaidae

Crimson rosella

 

Platycercus elegans

Eastern rosella

 

Platycercus eximius

Western rosella

Stanley rosella

Platycercus icterotis

Northern rosella

 

Platycercus venustus

Princess parrot

 

Polytelis alexandrae

Regent parrot

 

Polytelis anthopeplus

Superb parrot

 

Polytelis swainsonii

Golden-shouldered parakeet*

 

Psephotus chrysopterygius

Red-rumped parakeet

 

Psephotus haematonotus

Mulga parakeet

 

Psephotus varius

Alexandrine parakeet – blue form

 

Psittacula eupatria

Alexandrine parakeet – lutino form

 

Psittacula eupatria

Rose-ringed parakeet

Indian ringneck parakeet

Psittacula krameri manillensis

Red-capped parrot

 

Purpureicephalus spurius

Scaly-breasted lorikeet

 

Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus

Order Passeriformes:

Red-browed finch

 

Aegintha temporalis

Plum-headed finch

Cherry finch

Aidemosyne modesta

Painted finch

 

Emblema pictum

Emblema picta

Gouldian finch

 

Erythrura gouldiae

Chloebia gouldiae

Pictorella finch

 

Heteromunia pectoralis

Lonchura pectoralis

Chestnut-breasted manikin

Chestnut-breasted finch

Lonchura castaneothorax

Society finch

Bengalese finch

Lonchura domestica

Star finch

 

Neochmia ruficauda

Long-tailed finch

Long-tailed grassfinch

Poephila acuticauda

Black-throated finch

Parson finch

Poephila cincta cincta

Poephila cincta

Masked finch

 

Poephila personata

Island canary

Common canary

Serinus canaria

Diamond firetail

Diamond sparrow

Stagonopleura guttata

Emblema guttata

Double-barred finch

 

Taeniopygia bichenovii

Poephila bichenovii

Zebra finch

 

Taeniopygia guttata

Poephila guttata

*ESA listed

Applications and Additional Information
Permit applications (Form 3-200) and any other information you may need are available from the Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits website http://www.fws.gov/international/permits/. Contact the Branch of Permits with questions at 1-800-358-2104/ Fax 703.358.2281 or managementauthority@fws.gov.