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

poultry hatching eggs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines poultry as chickens, doves, ducks, geese, grouse, guinea fowl, partridges, pea fowl, pheasants, pigeons, quail, swans, and turkeys (including hatching eggs of these species).

  1. Note: Hatching eggs cannot be imported from HPAI-affected regions
    • Poultry hatching egg shipments must be accompanied by a USDA import permit (application to obtain a permit is 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. For further information or questions, you may contact Strategy & Policy, 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 hatching egg shipments. A full-time salaried veterinarian of the veterinary competent authority, located in the exporting country, must endorse the health certificate, with English translation.
    • The following list of health certificates are for countries that have negotiated health requirements with the United States. All other countries of export must use language listed on the model health certificate, listed below.
    • Exporting countries can use the model health certificate provided or use their own document which carries the following U.S. health certificate requirements:

      Note: This certificate is not used for countries comprising the EPTR
      : Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales), Greece, Hungary, Ireland (Republic of), Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
  1. The flock or the flock(s) of origin is negative within the previous 90 days for:
    1. Avian Metapneumovirus (also known as Turkey Rhinotracheitis, (TRT), or Swollen Head Syndrome). At least 30 poultry per house were tested using any of the following methods: rRT-PCR, ELISA, or serology. The health certificate must state if flock of origin have or have not been vaccinated against this disease. Note: Testing for Avian Metapneumovirus does not apply to waterfowl species.
    2. At least 5 percent (%) or a minimum of 150 birds from the flock of origin were negative for egg drop syndrome (EDS 76). This statement does not apply to turkey hatching eggs, or poults of turkeys.
  2. Flock(s) of origin for the hatching eggs were not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza.
  3. The flock of origin was tested negative for Salmonella enteritidis (SE) within 30 days by environmental culture, and there is no evidence or knowledge of SE present in the flock.
  4. Vaccination status for Newcastle (vND) must be indicated. If vaccinated, must be at least 21 days before export and name of vaccine is indicated. Vaccines must not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus.
  5. The addresses of the flocks of origin from which the eggs were derived must be listed.
  6. The flock or the flock(s) of origin is negative within the previous 90 days for Avian Metapneumovirus (also known as Turkey Rhinotracheitis, (TRT), or Swollen Head Syndrome). At least 30 poultry per house were tested using any of the following methods: rRT-PCR, ELISA, or serology. The health certificate must state if the flock of origin have or have not been vaccinated against this disease. Note: Testing for Avian Metapneumovirus does not apply to waterfowl species.
  7. Hatching eggs of poultry must not originate from a HPAI affected region.
  8. The shipment will not transit through any regions where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist.
  9. The hatching eggs were cleaned and sanitized as soon as possible after collection using an approved-for use-sanitizing agent, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Hatching eggs were placed into new or appropriately sanitized packaging materials at the premises from which the hatching eggs were to be exported.

Hatching eggs imported from these countries are not required to be quarantined. However, the hatching eggs must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued by a national government veterinarian of the exporting country as well as by a USDA import permit. Follow this link to determine which countries the USDA considers to be free from Virulent Newcastle Disease (vND): Animal Health Status of Regions

Under the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, widely referred to as Brexit, the UK ratified withdrawing from the EU and, on February 1, 2020, the UK formally left the EU. As a result, it has become necessary to update our regulations to reflect this change. APHIS-defined European Poultry Trade Region (EPTR) consist of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales), Greece, Hungary, Ireland (Republic of), Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

A model health certificate for hatching eggs originating in the EPTR is provided and must have either of the following statements:

  1. Hatching eggs of poultry did not originate from, or transit through any zone within the EPTR that were restricted for outbreaks of Newcastle disease or HPAI in commercial poultry for the following period of time, whichever is later: 1) Until the restrictions were lifted by the national competent authority; or 2) 90 days after depopulation of all affected premises, followed by cleaning and disinfection of the last affected premises, in that zone. Shipments must arrive with seals approved by the competent authority and corresponding numbers listed on the import health certificate.

    Note: only 1) applies if the restrictions had been placed for Newcastle disease or HPAI in racing pigeons, backyard flocks or wild birds.

  2. Hatching eggs of poultry did not originate from, or transit through, any zone within the EPTR that were restricted for outbreaks of HPAI. Hatching eggs of poultry did travel under official seal through, zones that were restricted for outbreaks of Newcastle disease in commercial poultry for the following period of time, whichever is later: 1) until the restrictions were lifted by the national competent authority; or 2) 90 days after depopulation of all affected premises, followed by cleaning and disinfection of the last affected premises, in that zone. Shipments must arrive with seals approved by the competent authority and corresponding numbers listed on the import health certificate.

    Note: The seal numbers must be noted in the health certificate signed by the certifying veterinarian, with an official veterinarian verifying the seals for such shipments were intact at the time of embarkation.


In addition to the required veterinary health certificate listed in section one and the USDA import permit, importation of hatching eggs from countries not designated by the USDA to be free of vND are restricted as follows:

  1. Eggs must be transported from the port of entry to the hatchery in a vehicle sealed by the USDA.
  2. Eggs must be hatched and brooded under the supervision of the Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC) in the State of destination. The hatchery must meet certain biosecurity standards and be inspected and approved by the AVIC prior to issuance of the import permit.
  3. The poultry from such eggs must remain in quarantine for not less than 30 days following hatch.
  4. During quarantine, the hatching eggs and poultry from such eggs are subject to any inspections, disinfections, and diagnostic testing as may be required by the USDA to determine their freedom from communicable diseases of poultry.

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

  • Poultry hatching egg quarantines must take place at an APHIS approved private facility
  • 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 Strategies and Policies, Live Animal Import Team.
  • Quarantines for hatching eggs are for a minimum of 30 days at an approved private quarantine facility (Note: there is no quarantine requirement for imports from Canada). Birds are tested to determine if they are free of certain communicable diseases of poultry. The cost of diagnostic testing is separate from the quarantine fee.
  •  A list of current fees to support the import process is found at VS User Fees 
  • There are no quarantine requirements for poultry hatching eggs imported from Canada.
  • For transit shipments there is a 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 should be 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 U.S. port which will be transited.
  • An import permit is required for poultry hatching eggs imported from Canada via air or sea port.
  • An import permit is not required for poultry hatching eggs being imported through a land border port.
  • A transit permit is required for hatching eggs which cross into the U.S. from Canada by a land border port.
  • 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 for import of poultry hatching eggs are as follows:
    1. Each flock and hatchery from which the shipment was originated was inspected by a veterinarian within the past 30 days and no evidence of Newcastle disease or any communicable disease of poultry was found no were the poultry in the flock or origin exposed to any such disease during the 90 days immediately prior to the inspection date.
    2. Newcastle disease, fowl plague or highly pathogenic avian influenza has not occurred on the premises of origin, nor on any adjoining premises during the 90 day period preceding exportation
    3. The area where the premise(s) is located has not been under quarantine for any poultry disease during the preceding 90 days.
    4. Do not originate from flocks not had contact had contact with any birds or poultry originating in a control zone established by federal animal health authorities due to the outbreaks of Newcastle disease of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
    5. Flock of origin have been maintained in the region from which they are offered for exportation for at least 90 days immediately preceding the date of export.
    6. Flock of origin have not been vaccinated with a vaccine for any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza nor have originated from a zone under restriction for HPAI.
    7. Flock of origin has been vaccinated against Newcastle Disease at least 21 days prior to export using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strain of Newcastle virus or the flock was not vaccinated (health certificate must indicate).
    8. The hatching eggs were placed into new or appropriately sanitized packaging materials at the premises from which the eggs were to be exported.
  • USDA will monitor poultry hatching egg shipments at U.S. 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. The import permit lists any approvals, along with any special instructions for the importer and port staff. 
  • 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.
Contact Us for Additional Information:

LAIE@usda.gov (email)
301-851-3300, Option 2 (phone)
301-734-4704 (fax)

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