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Pet Birds Entering the United States from Canada

Carefully read ALL requirements on this page.  

  • It is the pet owner’s responsibility to make sure their pet meets U.S. entry requirements. Failure to meet these import requirements will result in problems upon arrival in the United States, and the pet may be refused entry.
  • Multiple U.S. agencies regulate pets imported into the United States. It is important that you notify and coordinate with all responsible government agencies.


For pet birds entering the United States (U.S.) from Canada, the requirements generally include:


There are fees associated with all VS services; in general, you can expect to pay a minimum of $40.00 (land entry) to $190.00 (air/sea entry) for these services. This protocol only applies as long as Canada is free of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

Do you need a permit?

If your bird is entering at a LAND border port If your bird is entering at an AIR or SEA port
Import Permit



Veterinary Health Certificate






Veterinary Inspection upon Entry



1 Pet birds which originate from or transit through a  zone established  by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for HPAI, is required to go directly to federal quarantine. Birds that do not go through affected zones ARE NOT REQUIRED to go to quarantine.

Travel Requirements

To make the travel process easier for you, we have broken the process into steps and have listed the approximate time frame that each step will likely take to complete.  Please note that each step below has expandable text that will provide additional detail on the requirements including fees.

60-90 days prior to scheduled departure

Your pet bird must have been in your possession for a minimum of 90 days immediately before travel, and must not have been in contact with any other birds or poultry.

If your pet bird does not meet these requirements, please contact the VS National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland at 301-851-3300, option 2, or via email at for additional guidance. If your pet bird meets these requirements, you will be eligible to enter the U.S. with no quarantine.

If you take your pet bird to Mexico, and attempt to drive from Mexico to Canada, your pet bird will not be allowed entry into the U.S. A 30 day federal quarantine is required for all birds entering the U.S. from Mexico. You should fly your bird back to Canada to avoid quarantine. When flying your pet bird from Mexico to Canada, if the flight lands a U.S. airport you will need to obtain a transit permit.  Instructions regarding import permits can be found in STEP 4.

Please note: FWS may have additional restrictions related to eligibility, please see STEP 3 for contact information.

60-90 days before scheduled arrival in the U.S.

Pet birds may only enter the U.S. at certain designated ports.

How are you arriving?


If you are driving to the U.S., you can enter at any of the following land border ports:

  • Alexandria Bay, NY (315) 482-2601
  • Baudette, MN (701) 250-4210
  • Detroit, MI (313) 226-4428
  • Dunseith, ND (701) 263-3364
  • Eastport, ID (208) 267-2396
  • Highgate Springs, VT (802) 868-2556 (Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays only)
  • Houlton, ME (207) 532-6099 (limited hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays only)
  • Niagara Falls, NY (716) 297-0240
  • Oroville, WA (509) 476-2635
  • Pembina, ND (701) 825-6262
  • Port Huron, MI (810) 985-5433
  • Portal, ND (701) 926-4281
  • Raymond/Opheim, MT (406) 487-5955 (by appointment only)
  • Sault Ste. Marie, MI (313) 226-4428 (by appointment only)
  • Sumas, WA (360) 988-5715
  • Sweetgrass, MT (406) 335-2142

You should contact the port to verify someone will be available to inspect your pet bird on the date you want to enter. Most land border ports are not routinely staffed by a full-time port veterinarian, and the hours of service and availability for inspection vary from port to port.


If arriving in the U.S. by airplane, your pet bird must fly into a designated airport – one that has USDA veterinarians on duty.

Designated Airports

Permanently Staffed Airports

Chicago, Illinois (ORD)

Los Angeles, California (LAX)

Jamaica, New York (JFK)

Miami, Florida (MIA)

Intermittently Staffed Airports

Atlanta, Georgia (ATL)

Anchorage, Alaska (ANC)

Houston, Texas (IAH)

Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL)

Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP)

San Francisco, California (SFO)

San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)

Seattle, Washington (SEA)

Once you have identified a potential port of entry, please contact that port using the contact information above to verify VS staff availability prior to making travel arrangements.  If the airport you want to enter through is not listed above, please contact either the Service Center responsible for that state  or the VS National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland by phone at 301-851-3300 or email.

If you have a connecting flight to another city, please make sure you will have a minimum of 4 hours between your flights to ensure there is enough time for all activities related to your pet bird’s arrival in the U.S. The time required may vary by port; you can contact VS personnel at the port to discuss logistics.

Please note that many Canadian airports now provide pre-clearance services for flights to the U.S. However, only a few of these airports are designated to allow agriculture pre-clearance. This means that your pet bird must depart Canada at an airport that is one of the designated full service pre-clearance ports; otherwise, you need to obtain flights through a Canadian airport where CBP clearance is conducted in the U.S.

At this point in time, the only full service pre-clearance Canadian ports from which pet birds may depart are Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

  Sea Port/Vessel

Please contact the VS National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland at 301-851-3300, option 2, or via email at with the details of your proposed travel plans so we can determine whether a veterinarian will be available for inspection.

60-90 days prior to scheduled departure

In the U.S., FWS regulates birds protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 (WBCA).  There are extensive U.S. entry and exit requirements for birds regulated under these laws, so it is critical that you contact FWS to discuss their processes and fees if your bird is regulated by them. To determine your pet bird is regulated by FWS, please visit their website at: and review the fact sheet at: You may also contact them directly at 703-358-2104 or 800-358-2104.

30 days prior to scheduled departure

All pet birds entering the U.S. at any port of entry, must have a VS import permit. For all Canadian origin pet birds, you will submit the permit application to the VS National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland.

You must apply for a VS import permit approximately 30 days prior to departure. You need to know your route of travel and specify a travel date before applying. The import permit is valid for 30 days from your specified travel date. If your travel plans change and your pet bird will be arriving in the U.S. more than 30 days after the travel date specified on the import permit, you will have to apply for an amended permit or a new permit. Permits can only be amended (for an additional fee) before they expire. Once your permit expires, you will need to submit a new import permit application.

Fees for VS import permits:

9CFR 130.4 “initial permit” – this fee is charged per application so if you have more than one pet bird but they are all traveling with you at the same time, then all of the birds should all be listed on the application and one permit can cover them all.

9CFR 130.4 “amended permit” – this fee is charged ONLY if you need to amend a permit that has already been issued (for example if your travel route or port of entry changes).

Applying for an import permit is done by completing and submitting an Application for Import or Intransit Permit, called the VS Form 17-129. The VS Form 17-129 can be completed and submitted via e-mail, standard mail, or fax OR completed and submitted electronically on-line via the eFile system. Please allow 7-10 business days from the time your import permit application is received for it to be issued.

Permits can be emailed or mailed to the importer via U.S. Postal Service. You should indicate how you would like to receive your permit when you submit the permit application. If you have not received your permit at least 72 hours ahead of scheduled travel, call the office where you submitted the application and ask about the status. Note: If receiving the permit by email, use a color printer to print your document, as you must have one with a blue signature.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME: when flight is scheduled

You will need to discuss with your airline carrier any specific requirements they have related to your pet bird travel.

Airlines may require a health certificate. They may also require that the pet birds travel as cargo, which can impact where your inspection occurs on arrival. The airline can also provide information on their requirements for carriers/cages, feed/water, and documentation.

minimum of 72 hours prior to arrival, preferably as soon as flight is scheduled or travel plans are confirmed

You must contact the VS port veterinarian at least 72 hours prior to arrival to schedule an inspection on arrival.

If you will be arriving at a Canada-U.S. land border port:

Contact information for the ports is listed in STEP 2. You should call the port 3-5 days prior to scheduled arrival. The port veterinarian can provide you more information about the specific process at that border port and what you should expect on arrival (including fees and payment options).

If you will be arriving at a U.S. air or sea port:

If you are traveling by air or sea, your VS import permit will list contact information for the first port of arrival. You should call or email the port as soon as possible to make arrangements for inspection. The port veterinarian can provide you more information about the specific process at that port and what you should expect on arrival. If you are flying, make sure to tell the veterinarian whether your bird is traveling in the cabin with you, as accompanied baggage, or as unaccompanied cargo, since that will alter where the inspection occurs. The port veterinarian will review your import permit and discuss any additional requirements that might be listed, and can discuss fees and payment options.

Based on your earlier contact with FWS (STEP 3), you should know whether your pet bird is subject to any additional FWS requirements. You will need to coordinate with port FWS personnel to arrange for any inspection or document review that might be needed.

For more information on FWS requirements, please visit their website at: and review the fact sheet at: You may also contact them directly at 703-358-2104 or 800-358-2104.

variable, to be done day of departure

Make sure to send all the required documentation with your pet bird.

You will need to have the following items:

  • The original VS import permit (if traveling via land, air or sea)
  • Original CITES documents (if your pet bird is regulated by FWS)
    • Contact FWS with any questions about CITES documents.

All documentation should accompany the pet bird during travel.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR DEPARTING FROM A PRE-CLEARANCE PORT: If you are flying from one of the designated Canadian pre-clearance airports, you will have to declare your pet bird and present your documents to a U.S. CBP Agriculture Officer PRIOR to boarding your flight in Canada. You will not be clearing customs in the U.S. on arrival (STEP 8 below). You will need to coordinate with the veterinarian at your first port of entry regarding where you will meet the veterinarian to have your bird inspected.

on arrival, allow 4 or more hours

You will need to clear your pet bird with CBP when you arrive in the U.S. 

Whether you are entering the U.S. at a land border port or entering the U.S. at an air or sea port, you will need to declare and clear your pet bird with CBP. If you are driving to the U.S., arriving via boat, or flying and your bird is not manifested as cargo (i.e. you do not have an airway bill), you will need to declare your bird to CBP when you clear customs. Typically you will then be directed to a secondary CBP agriculture inspection, which is most likely where the VS port veterinarian (and FWS inspector if required) will examine your bird and all of the paperwork.

If your bird is flying as cargo, you will have to talk to the airline cargo company to find out where your bird will be transported for inspection, where to obtain your documentation, and what the procedures are for clearing your bird through customs. If you are on the same flight, you may have to travel to the cargo facility warehouse to meet the port veterinarian (and FWS inspector if required) after you clear customs and passport control. You may need to take your bird’s paperwork to another location to clear your bird through customs. If you have already arrived in the U.S. on an earlier flight, you will need to make arrangements for the time and place of inspection.

on arrival

For all Canadian origin pet birds, when you arrive in the U.S., the VS port veterinarian will examine your bird.

The port veterinarian will examine your bird to make sure it appears healthy.  If the bird does not appear healthy, the port veterinarian will discuss options with you at that time.

You should be prepared to restrain your bird for the inspection. If your bird bites, you may want to bring a towel or glove for protection.

You will sign the “Agreement of Pet Bird Owner” VS 17-8 after the initial inspection on arrival. You will be asked to affirm the following:

    • The bird has been in your possession for at least 90 days, is apparently healthy, and has not been exposed to any other birds during those 90 days.

The port veterinarian will provide you a copy of the VS 17-8.

Once your pet bird has been inspected by VS and has cleared customs, you will be free to continue your travel.

Charges and Fees

Fees for inspection:
9CFR 130.30 “hourly rate and minimum user fees” – see the chart at (a). This fee is charged per quarter hour; any service that takes less than 15 minutes is charged at the minimum fee rate. Inspections at land border ports will typically be at the minimum rate; inspections at air or sea ports may be more depending on travel time for the veterinarian to get to the arrival terminal. You can contact the specific port of arrival to get an estimate of charges for that location.

Overtime charges:
9CFR 130.30 “hourly rate and minimum user fees” – see the chart at (b). If your arrival is before or after normal port duty hours (these will vary from port to port but are typically 8:00AM-4:30PM), you will also be charged overtime fees. These will vary depending on the location and the specific time of service, so you will need to contact the specific port you are entering at to get an estimate.

Compliance charges:
9CFR 130.4 “import compliance assistance – simple or complicated” – this fee may be charged per lot. You may be required to pay an import compliance assistance fee if there are any discrepancies in your paperwork. 

You will have to pay for the inspection services and overtime and/or non-compliance charges (if indicated) at the time of arrival, so make sure you verify with port personnel what type of payment will be accepted.

State Requirements

To determine if your destination State has specific import requirements, use the drop-down menu below to check the State's website or contact the State's Department of Agriculture or the State Veterinarian's Office directly.

Contact Us

If you have any further questions, you may contact us by phone at (301) 851-3300 or e-mail

Airline Requirements

Check with your airline to determine whether they have any additional requirements.

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