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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Import of Live Water Buffalo and Yak

photo of water buffalo and yak

USDA APHIS regulates the importation of all ruminants and their germplasm (embryos/oocytes, semen, cloning tissue) to prevent the spread of animal diseases. Ruminants include all animals which chew the cud, such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, deer, antelopes, camels, llamas and giraffes.
  • Water Buffalo or Yak intended for breeding, feeding or immediate slaughter are not permitted into the United States at this time, EXCEPT for the following:
    • Yak intended for immediate slaughter can be imported into the US from Canada
    • Live water buffalo may be imported from Australia
    • Water Buffalo and Yak used for zoological purposes can be permitted into the US on a case by case basis after a full review by USDA APHIS depending on the country of origin. Please contact Live Animal Imports for more information.
  • Water buffalo and Yak germplasm may be imported from the EU

What You Need to Know

  • U.S. transits are classified as shipments presented to a U.S. port of entry for conveyance purposes to then be transported to a destination country shortly after.
  • Please note that any animals and their germplasm transiting the US must not transit countries with questionable disease statuses prior to reaching a U.S. port of entry.
  • All transits require a contingency plan. Please submit your contingency plan with your permit application (VS 17-129) on the E-permits website or via email at

To submit an import permit electronically, please visit APHIS eFile.

If you are applying to import live animals, semen and embryos, you may submit applications by email to

Contact Us

Live Animal Import/Export and Permitting
USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services
4700 River Road Unit 39
Riverdale, MD 20737
Phone: 301.851.3300 Option 2

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