Non-Pathogenic Microorganisms and Extracted Non-Infectious Genomic Material

Non-Pathogenic Microorganisms and Extracted Non-Infectious Genomic Material

Non-Pathogenic Microorganisms (and their extracts)

Effective November 7, 2014


environmental or water organisms, such as algae.

Microorganisms are potentially subject to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations and must be cleared by CBP 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 bacteria, viruses, algae, or yeast (fungi) may be imported into the country without USDA veterinary restrictions.

Import requirements for plant pathogens may be obtained by contacting Biological Assessment and Taxonomic Support

4700 River Road, Unit 133
Riverdale, MD  20737
Main: 301-851-2046
Fax: 301-734-8700.


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. A written declaration indicating that the microorganism is not considered to be pathogenic 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.

How to obtain a Permit application:

  1. On-line at: /animal_health/permits/ or
  2. by writing to:

National Center for Import and Export
4700 River Road, Unit 40
Riverdale, MD 20737
Main: 301-851-3300, option 3
Fax: 301-734-3652


Complementary Content