Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

Non-Pathogenic Microorganisms and Extracted Non-Infectious Genomic Material

Effective March 17, 2014



Non-infectious or inactivated bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and their genetic materials.

Not Including:

In the case of inactivated Foot and Mouth Disease virus or Rinderpest virus, importers must apply for a USDA import permit and include the method of inactivation.


Microorganisms are potentially subject to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations and must be cleared by USDA inspectors at the port of arrival before entry into the United States is authorized. A USDA permit is required for any microorganism that is known to cause infectious, contagious, or communicable diseases of livestock or poultry. However, non-pathogenic or inactivated bacteria, viruses, algae, or yeast (fungi) or non-infectious genetic material may be imported into the country, or transported interstate without USDA veterinary permit restrictions.

Import requirements for organisms and vectors may be obtained by contacting USDA, APHIS, VS, National Center for Import and Export, 4700 River Road, Unit 2, mail stop 22, Riverdale, MD 20737, Telephone (301) 851-3300, Option 3, Fax (301) 734-3652, Email address ov@aphis.usda.gov.


A USDA veterinary import permit will not be required for specimens if the following is provided in the shipping documents:

  1. A detailed description of the microorganism (genus and species).
  2. 2. A written declaration indicating that the live or inactivated microorganism or extracted genetic material is not considered to be pathogenic or infectious for livestock or poultry.

This information should be supplied as statements on producer/shipper letterhead in a clear and concise manner and be available for review by the USDA Inspector at the Portof Arrival.  We recommend that a separate memo or letter be included with the shipping documents, such as U.S. Customs declaration and invoice.  Do not put documents INSIDE shipping containers.

Please instruct your shippers to provide this information.

If the above information is not supplied, the shipment may be subject to delays.  If the material to be imported cannot meet these criteria, then a USDA import permit may be required.

Permit applications may be obtained several ways:

  1. On-line at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/permits/

  2. By Email address: ov@aphis.usda.gov

  3. By writing to:
    National Center for Import and Export
    4700 River Road, Unit 2, mail stop 22
    Riverdale, MD 20737
    Telephone (301) 851-3300, Option 3
    Fax (301) 734-3652


Additional Information