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Organisms and Vectors Guidance & Permitting

The Veterinary Services, Organisms and Vectors (OV) Permitting Unit regulates the importation into the United States, and interstate transportation, of organisms and vectors of pathogenic diseases of livestock and poultry.

The Code of Federal Regulations, in 9 CFR, §122.2 , mandates that “no organisms or vectors shall be imported into the United States or transported from one State or Territory or the District of Columbia to another State or Territory or the District of Columbia without a permit”.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Effective February 21, 2020

  • USDA REGULATES the importation into the United States of COVID-19 isolates exposed to livestock or poultry products (such as eggs, fetal bovine serum,  etc). The application is VS form 16-3, available on this web page.
    • Please also obtain permitting information from CDC Import Permit Program.
    • Additionally, US Fish and Wildlife Service regulates the importation of Vero cells under The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
    • Permits for COVID-19 exposed to fetal bovine serum from countries considered as affected with Foot and Mouth Disease will require BSL3 handling (see "Country Animal Disease Status")
  • USDA DOES NOT REGULATE the interstate movement of COVID-19 isolates. Use Guideline for No Interstate Transport Permit Required, #1125 for movement of organism between US states and territories.
  • USDA DOES NOT REGULATE the importation or interstate transport of HUMAN DIAGNOSTIC SAMPLES (tissues, blood, etc. suspected to contain organisms). Please obtain permitting information from CDC Import Permit Program.
  • Please visit this web page for updates and revisions to the above USDA regulatory information.

VS Issues Guideline 1125 – Effective April 15, 2019

Veterinary Services will implement changes to permitting requirements based on Guideline 1125, effective April 15, 2019. The guideline describes allowances for non-regulated interstate movement of certain materials such as non-infectious materials and materials that have not been exposed to infectious agents. Scroll down to view Guideline 1125 in its entirety.

‘US-Origin Livestock and Poultry Pathogens’ Interstate
Transport Permit Changes – August 22, 2019

Organisms and Vectors Permitting made some changes to the organisms excluded from these permits.
Select FAQ 32 from the Frequently Asked Questions for Importation and Transportation of OV's tab below for information.

New Permit Condition – May 7, 2019 

A new permit condition will be added to import permits specifying a Customs entry may be required for materials that are not shipped by a commercial shipper. The importer is responsible for fulfilling this CBP requirement, if applicable. The restriction reads: “Imported article (including hand-carried material) may be subject to regulations enforced by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Please visit their website:

Organism and Vector Guidance

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Contact Information

For questions please contact the organisms and vectors staff via email at APIE@USDA.GOV or via phone at 301-851-3300 option 4

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