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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Commercial Birds

Hyacinth Macaw Preening Its Tail

Importing Commercial Birds into the United States

The USDA defines commercial birds as those birds which are imported for resale, breeding, public display, or any other purpose, except pet birds, zoological birds, research birds, or performing or theatrical birds. Shipments of birds that contain six or more are considered commercial.

Note: The U.S. imposes prohibitions to import commercial birds from some countries. The list of countries can be found HERE

  • Commercial bird shipments must be accompanied by a USDA import permit (application to obtain a permit is form: (VS Form17-129). Processing time for the application is approximately 7 – 10 business days. Applications should be received no less than this time prior to shipment of birds. There is a processing fee which can be paid by check, money order, charge card or by providing a USDA user fee account. For an additional fee, the permit can be amended after issuance by request.
    • Please sign up for an e-authentication account if you are based in the United States or have a U.S. address. Electronic-authentication (e-authentication) is a registration system that enables customers to access the online Electronic Permits (ePermits) system in order to submit import permit applications independently. You can create an e-authentication account and register for ePermits by following the steps outlined on the Register for ePermits website. 
    • Download the  import application HERE or contact the Strategies & Policies, Live Animal Import Team: VS.Live.Animals.Import.Permits@aphis.usda.gov
  • A health certificate, issued within 30 days of leaving the country of export, must accompany all commercial bird shipments. A full-time salaried veterinarian of the veterinary competent authority, located in the exporting country, must endorse the health certificate, with English translation. 
  • Exporting countries can use the model health certificate provided HERE or use their own document which carries the following U.S. health certificate requirements listed below:
    1. The veterinarian issuing the certificate completed inspection and testing of the birds covered under this health certificate.
    2. The bird(s) was/were not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza.
    3. The veterinarian issuing the certificate examined the bird(s) within 30 days prior to export and saw no evidence of communicable disease of birds.
    4. The bird(s) covered by this certificate do not originate from flocks nor had contact with any birds or poultry originating in a control zone established by the state/province/federal animal health authorities due to outbreaks of Newcastle disease or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the 90 days preceding the exportation.
    5. The bird(s) was/were not vaccinated against Newcastle disease OR the bird(s) has/have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease (avian Paramyxovirus) at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus. The certificate must state which applies.
    6. The shipment will not transit through any region where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist (link).
    7. Birds were inspected within 24 hours of export.
    8. The birds were placed in new or appropriately sanitized packaging materials at the premised from which the birds were being exported.
  • A USDA port veterinarian at the first U.S. port of entry must inspect birds (unless stated differently on the import permit). The importer must arrange for this inspection by a USDA port veterinarian at least 3 business days in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian at the telephone number listed on the import permit.
    • Commercial birds are required at U.S. arrival, to proceed immediately into 30 days quarantine. There are two USDA quarantines which can be used or the importer can create a private quarantine facility. If a private facility is used, it must be approved by APHIS before an import permit can be issued.
  • The importer should retain the services of a customs broker to facilitate the importation and, in some cases, to transport the birds from the port of entry to the USDA Animal Import Center. The importer should contact the USDA Animal Import Center for a list of customs brokers to provide this service.

Note: An import permit will not be issued until quarantine arrangements have been finalized.

  • The USDA Animal Import Center will provide an estimate of fees, which includes port inspection, laboratory testing that occurs during quarantine, and the quarantine stay.
    • A list of current fees to support the import process can be accessed here: VS User Fees 
  • Commercial avian quarantines must take place at one of the USDA facilities listed below or private quarantine may occur in an APHIS approved zoological facility.

    Miami Animal Import Center 
    USDA-APHIS-VS 
    6300 NW 36 Street 
    Miami, FL 33122 
    (305) 876-2200 (phone) 
    (305) 876-2201 (fax)
    NotifyMAIC@usda.gov

    New York Animal Import Center           
    USDA, APHIS, VS 
    474 International Boulevard 
    Rock Tavern, NY 12575 
    (845) 838-5500 (phone) 
    (845) 838-5575 (fax) 
    VSPSNIC@usda.gov

  • Importers must obtain the approval for a private facility to be used as quarantine prior to applying for an import permit. Information and guidance on obtaining that approval can be received by contacting the Strategy & Policy, Live Animal Imports Team.
  • There is no quarantine requirement for imports from Canada.
  • Birds are tested in quarantine to determine if they are free of certain communicable diseases. The cost of diagnostic testing is separate from the quarantine fee. The USDA Animal Import Center will provide the total fee for services for the inspection and quarantine.
  • Estimates of quarantine costs can be found at this link: quarantine fees
  • Contingency Plan Requirement: 
    • Shipments which transit a US port must have an approved contingency plan. Importers should work with transited port veterinary office to obtain approval. Plans are reviewed annually to maintain approved status.
  • A U.S. import permit to transit can be issued within 30 days of U.S. transit (application # VS Form17-129) by the US port which will be transited.
  • A current veterinary health certificate issued within 30 days of U.S. transit and endorsed by a full-time salaried veterinarian of the agency responsible for animal health of the national government of the exporting country. A health certificate with English translation must meet all of the requirements listed below and accompany the shipment. An example health certificate is provided HERE.
  • Health certificate requirements are as follows:
    1. The veterinarian issuing the certificate completed inspection and testing of the birds covered under this health certificate.
    2. The bird(s) was/were not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza.
    3. The veterinarian issuing the certificate examined the bird(s) within 30 days prior to export and saw no evidence of communicable diseases of poultry.
    4. The bird(s) covered by this certificate do not originate from flocks nor had contact with any birds or poultry originating in a control zone established by state/provincial/federal animal health authorities due to outbreaks of Newcastle disease or HPAI in the 90 days preceding the exportation.
    5. Bird(s) was/were not vaccinated against Newcastle diseases OR the bird(s) has/have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus.  The certificate must state which applies.
    6. The shipment will not transit through any region where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist.
    7. Birds were inspected within 24 hours of export.
    8. The birds were placed in new appropriately sanitized packaging materials at the premises from which the birds were to be exported.
  • The USDA will monitor transit shipments at the ports of entry. The importer must arrange for USDA services at least three business days in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian at the telephone number listed on the import permit. Additionally, the import permit lists any approvals, along with any special instructions for the importer and port staff.
  • There are no quarantine requirements for commercial birds imported from Canada into the United States.
  • An import permit is required for commercial birds imported from Canada via air or sea port.
    • Submit application (VS Form17-129) to request an import permit.
  • An import permit is not required for commercial birds being imported through a land border port. 
  • A veterinary health certificate, endorsed by the Canadian government (CFIA) and issued within 30 days of import.  An example of a health certificate containing requirements from Canada is found HERE.
  • Health certificate requirements are as follows:
    1. No evidence of Newcastle diseases or other communicable disease of poultry was found nor were the birds exposed to any such disease during the ninety-days immediately prior to the inspection date.
    2. Birds have not been vaccinated with a vaccine for any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza.
    3. Birds were placed in new shipping containers on the premise(s) of origin
    4. Insofar as it can be determined, have not been vaccinated with the live Newcastle disease vaccine
    5. Newcastle disease, fowl plague, and highly pathogenic avian influenza have not occurred on the premise(s) of origin or any adjoining premises (share property line) during the ninety day period preceding exportation
    6. Area where the premise is located has not been under quarantine for any avian disease during the preceding 90 days.
    7. Do not originate from flocks nor had any contact with flocks originating in a control zone established by federal animal health authorities due to Newcastle or HPAI outbreaks.
    8. Flock of origin participates in a pullorum eradication program recognized by the veterinary officials of Canada.
    9. Officially identified by wingbands, legbands or microchip.
    10. In the case of show birds, the birds must have been maintained in the region of exportation and/or the United States for 90 days preceding exportation.
    11. Birds were inspected within 24 hours of export.
  • USDA will inspect commercial bird shipments at U.S. ports of entry.  The importer must arrange for USDA inspection services at least 3 business days in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian at the telephone number listed on the import permit.
  • The import/transit permit lists any additional requirements that may be imposed, along with any special instructions. If traveling by land, the importer should call the port by phone and ask to be directed to the assigned USDA veterinarian. The call will assist in ensuring there is a veterinarian available at the port to receive the shipment at the time of crossing. 

In the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regulates the importation of birds protected by the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 (WBCA). These regulations are part of an international conservation effort to protect some species of wild birds subject to trade. Most non-native U.S. pet birds including parrots, parakeets, macaws, lories, and cockatoos are affected by CITES and the WBCA. However, the budgerigar, cockatiel, and rose-ringed parakeets and peach-faced lovebirds are exempt.

Visit the FWS web site at: http://permits.fws.gov/ to obtain more information and the permit application, if applicable. If you have questions, contact the FWS at (800) 358-2104. Calls from outside the U.S. should use (703) 358-2104. Birds arriving at U.S. ports of entry may need to be inspected by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Inspectors. The following web link lists U.S. Wildlife Inspection Offices. Importers with birds regulated by the USFWS should reach out to the office assigned to the port prior to U.S. arrival of birds.

Contact Us for Additional Information:

VS.Live.Animal.Import.Export@aphis.usda.gov (email)
301-851-3300, Option 2 (phone)
301-734-4704 (fax)

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