The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement regulates all international movement of wildlife in, out and through the United States in order to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

This page contains general information about Import/ Export Regulations. You can find Office of Law Enforcement documents such as Fact Sheets, Public Bulletins, Annual Reports and more in our Office of Law Enforcement Library: https://www.fws.gov/program/office-of-law-enforcement/library.

Office of Law Enforcement Services

Electronic Declarations (edecs) where you can submit Declarations online: https://edecs.fws.gov/

A copy of the manual 3-177 Declaration can be found here.

Electronic Import/Export License (eLicense) used to request a new commercial import/export license or renew/amend an existing license: https://www.fws.gov/elicense/

Electronic Permits (epermits) used to apply for protected species permits such as CITES, Migratory Bird or Endangerd Species permits: https://fwsepermits.servicenowservices.com/fws/

What is Wildlife? 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services defines Fish and Wildlife as any wild animal, whether alive or dead, including without limitation any wild mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod, coelenterate, or other invertebrate, whether or not bred, hatched, or born in captivity, and including any part, product, egg, or offspring thereof.

Items fitting this definition are subject to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Import and Export Requirements. 

There are a few notable exceptions to the definition. The following domesticated animals are exempt from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Import/ Export Regulations if sourced from capitve populations. 

Mammals: Alpaca - Lama alpaca; Camel - Camelus dromedarius; Camel (Boghdi) - Camelus bactrianus; Cat (domestic) - Felis domesticus; Cattle - Bos taurus; Dog (domestic) - Canis familiaris; European rabbit - Ortyctolagus cuniculus; Ferret (domestic) - Mustela putorius; Goat - Capra hircus; Horse - Equus caballus; Llama - Lama glama; Pig - Sus scrofa; Sheep - Ovis aries; Water buffalo - Bubalus bubalus; White lab mice - Mus musculus; White lab rate - Rattus norvegicus.

Fish (For export purposes only): Carp (koi) - Cyprinus carpio; Goldfish - Carassius auratus.

Birds: Chicken - Gallus domesticus; Ducks & geese - domesticated varieties; Guinea fowl - Numida meleagris; Pigeons (domesticated) - Columba livia domestrica; Turkey - Meleagris gallopavo; Domesticated or Barnyard Mallards include: Pekin; Aylesbury; Bouen; Cayuga; Gray Call; White Call; East Indian; Crested; Swedish; Buff Orpington; Indian Runner; Campbell; Duclair; Merchtem; Termonde; Magpie; Chinese; Khaki Campbell.

Insects: Crickets, mealworms, honeybees (not to include Africanized varieties), and similar insects that are routinely farm raised.

Other Invertebrates: Earthworms and similar invertebrates that are routinely farm raised.

Other notable exemptions include Pearls, and Certain shell fish and fisheries products for human consumption, which are exempt form declaration requirements but are still subject to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Labeling Requirements.

General Import/ Export Requirments

All Imports and Exports of wildlife as defined above are subject to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regulations as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations.

This includes declaring all wildlife being imported or exported to the USFWS via the Declaration form (3-177). The easiest way to complete this form for both commercial and personal shipments is online at the edecs website. There are a few exemptions to the declaration requirements, notably for personal wildlife items being carried in personal accompanying baggage.

Wildlife must enter or exit through a Designated U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Port unless a Designated Port Exception Permit (DPEP) is obtained prior to shipping. 

Wildlife Shipments containing live or perishable wildlife require 48 hour notice of estimated time of arrival for inspection. This notification should go to USFWS Port of Entry Inspection Office.

First time shippers should reach out to the nearest USFWS Office of Law Enforcement. These port contacts can be found here. Please be aware certain species may be protected either by U.S. Laws such as the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or International Treaties such as Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

For more information about Importing and Exporting Wildlife please see the linked documents as well as reviewing our Office of Law Enforcement Library Collections which contain fact sheets, guidance and forms. Lastly please review Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Here are some links to relevant sections of Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations

General Procedures

Importation, Exportation, and Transportation of Wildlife

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

 

Related Program Information

 

Alaska Native Handicrafts/Marine Mammals FAQ created by the Marine Mammals Management Office and the Office of Law Enforcement.

Information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory.

Partner Agencies

 

Please be aware that we are not the only Government Agency that regulates shipments containing wildlife. The following U.S. government agencies may also may have regulations relevant to your shipment. 
 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Center for Disease Control 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

 

 

Related Documents

 

Below are a selection of documents that may be of interest to Importers and Exporters.

Please visit our Office of Law Enforcement Library Collection for additional Import/ Export Related documents.

OLE Commercial Wildlife Trade - Fish and Wildlife Ports

List of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ports.

OLE Commercial Wildlife Trade - Importing and Exporting Your Commercial Wildlife Shipment FAQ

Frequently asked questions about commercial wildlife shipments. Frequently asked questions about commercial wildlife shipments.

OLE Personal Wildlife Shipments - Tips for Travelers

Tips for Travelers traveling with wildlife.

OLE Wildlife Trade - DPEP Permit Form 3-200-2

This form is the application for the Designated Port Exception Permit. This form must be completed and mail to the appropriate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Permit Office. This form is the application for the Designated Port Exception Permit. This form must be completed and mail to...

Wildlife Shipment - 3-177and 3-177a with Instructions and Updated Notices 2022

Manual declaration 3-177 form and instructions page.