Office of Law Enforcement
Protecting Wildlife and Plant Resources
Designated Port Exception Permit

Where may I import or export wildlife?

In most cases, you must bring wildlife through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated port where we can inspect and clear it.

Do any other options exist?

If your wildlife meets certain criteria, you may apply for a designated port exception permit to import or export it through the port of your choice.

What criteria does the Service use for issuing these permits?

We issue designated port exception permits only to

  • Accommodate imports or exports for scientific purposes;
  • Minimize or prevent deterioration or loss of the wildlife; or
  • Alleviate undue economic hardship for you.

In addition, Service officers must be available to inspect your wildlife at the port you want to use.

How do I apply for a designated port exception permit?

You must complete an application (Form 3-200-2) and provide written documentation showing how your wildlife meets the criteria for this permit. You must pay a $100 permit application fee. If you want the permit for a commercial shipment, please provide a copy of your valid Service wildlife import/export license.

What information must I provide in my application?

All applicants must
  • List the species and quantity of wildlife involved and its place of origin.
  • Identify the port where the import or export will occur.
  • Indicate the reason why an exception is being requested.
  • Provide a written statement showing how the shipment meets the specific criteria for permit issuance.

How do I show that my shipment qualifies for a designated port exception permit for scientific purposes?

In your application, you must
  • Describe how the wildlife will be used or why it is being imported/exported.
  • Show that the shipment is associated with a bona fide scientific research project or other scientific use or that it involves the import/export of preserved museum specimens.

How do I show that my shipment qualifies for a designated port exception permit to minimize deterioration or loss?

In your application, you must show that
  • Your shipment is perishable or otherwise subject to deterioration or loss.
  • Your use of a designated port would cause substantial deterioration or loss.
  • Using the port requested would prevent or minimize deterioration or loss.

How do I show that my shipment qualifies for a designated port exception permit to alleviate undue economic hardship?

In your application, you must
  • Identify the cost difference between shipping your wildlife through the port requested and the lowest cost of using a designated port.
  • Show that absorbing this difference in cost would impose an unwarranted economic hardship on you.

Does the Service always issue port exception permits if the applicant meets the appropriate criteria?

No. We can only issue these permits if the applicant meets the criteria AND a Service officer will be available to inspect and clear the shipment.

Are there any costs associated with using a designated port exception permit?

Yes. Anyone importing or exporting wildlife under a designated port exception permit must pay a non-designated port base inspection fee. Click here for current fee schedule. Additional fees apply if you use a port where we have no officers stationed, you must also pay all travel, transportation, and per diem costs associated with sending a Service officer to inspect your shipment.

Can I obtain a designated port exception permit that allows me to import/export more than one shipment?

Yes. When you apply, you may request authorization to import or export multiple shipments at the port selected for a period up to two years.

Which Service offices issue designated port exception permits?

Send your application to one of our eight law enforcement permit offices. Send to the office in the Region where you or your business is located. (NOTE: this may not be the same Region where the port you wish to use is located.)

For additional information, contact
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Office of Law Enforcement
5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: LE
Falls Church, VA 22041
703-358-1949 (phone)
703-358-2271 (fax)

Last updated: September 08, 2013