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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE

Bring Equine into the U.S. (Import)

Bring Equine into the U.S. (Import)

USDA APHIS regulates the importation of horses and other equine to prevent the introduction of foreign animal diseases. Requirements for importing a horse into the United States depend on where the horse has resided in the 60 days prior to departure to the United States, the disease status of the exporting country and the purpose for entry (competition, breeding, permanent or temporary residency).

In the drop down menu choose the country of origin for the horse:

Horses import into the United States for different purposes:

  • Permanent entry
  • Temporary entry 30 days or less
  • U.S. origin horses traveling out of the country for publically recognized events and returning to the U.S. in 90 days or less

APHIS regulates all equids, equid semen and embryos to prevent the introduction of foreign animal diseases into the country that might put our domestic herds at risk. Import entry testing requirements, permitting and length of quarantine depend on the country of origin’s disease status and the purpose for entry.

Generally, importers use the services of a customs broker/agent to bring horses and other equids into the United States.

Testing requirements while in quarantine apply to all equids: horses, donkeys, mules, asses, zebras. Each horse in the shipment undergoing import quarantine will be tested on the day of arrival. Test results take a minimum of 42 hours to process and will be made available to importers and agents by the quarantine station veterinarian. Pre-entry testing through NVSL is recommended but not required to assure that a horse is not positive for dourine, glanders (Australia exempt from both dourine and glanders testing), equine piroplasmosis, and equine infectious anemia. On occasion, samples collected at the U.S. port may have different results from pre-entry testing and negative pre-entry testing results do not guarantee a timely release from quarantine. Importing equids are released after the bloodwork has been cleared by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL). Horses are released as part of an entire shipment. Positive results for an individual animal will affect the release of the contact animals in the shipment. Any horse that tests suspect or positive results for these diseases will not meet entry requirements and will be refused entry.

You may apply for an import permit by completing the VS 17-129 application form electronically through ePermits. On ePermits applicants can complete, pay for and submit the application.

Visit for more information.

Then mail, email or fax the completed application to the National Import Export Services (NIES), or submit the application through the regional USDA APHIS office or submit it directly to the Animal Import Center where the horse is to be quarantined. Import permits for transiting horses, semen and embryos, Spanish purebreds, racing thoroughbreds and other special cases are issued by APHIS NIES.

In addition to the import permit some states have additional import requirements. Please contact the U.S. state of destination directly to see if they have other health requirements.

Live Animal Import Permits
USDA APHIS Veterinary Services NIES
4700 River Road Unit 39
Riverdale, MD 20737
(301) 851-3300 Option 2
Fax: (301) 734-4704

Online Submission Process for Live Animal Import Permits
Importers with an existing Level 2 eAuthentication can access ePermits and submit a completed application (VS Form 17-129) for an import or transit permit for APHIS-regulated live animals and their germplasm (semen, embryos, cloning tissue). For instructions on how to obtain a Level 2 eAuthentication authorization, and for additional information about electronic submissions, visit ePermits.

Reservations at point of entry quarantine
To reserve space at a USDA-operated quarantine facility, contact the port veterinarian at one of the following USDA operated Animal Import Centers (AICs) or land border ports at least 72 hours before arrival.

List of Federal and Private Permanent Quarantine Facilities

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