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Importing Pet Birds - Returning U.S. Origin

Importing Pet Birds - Returning U.S. Origin

Summary

For pet birds returning to the United States (U.S.) from any country other than Canada or Mexico, the requirements generally include:


Fees

There are fees associated with all VS services; in general, you can expect to pay a minimum of $650.00 for these services. All fees except overtime charges are collected at the time of application.  Overtime charges will be charged for arrivals at ports of entry outside of regular business hours, holidays and weekends.


Do you need a permit?

If your bird is coming from an HPAI-FREE country If your bird is coming from an HPAI-AFFECTED country       
Import Permit

Required

Required

Veterinary Health Certificate

Required

Required

Quarantine

30-Day Home Quarantine

30-Day Federal Quarantine

Veterinary Inspection upon Entry

Required

Required

Identification*(microchip,
leg band or tattoo)

Required Recommended

*As of February 19, 2018, all U.S. origin pet birds weighing more than 100 grams* (roughly the size of a clinched fist), except those traveling to the United States from Canada, must be identified by either a microchip, leg band or tattoo to qualify for home quarantine upon returning to the United States from HPAI-FREE countries.  The identification must be documented on the accompanying U.S. origin health certificate. U.S. origin pet birds that fail to meet this requirement will have to be quarantined in a Federal quarantine facility.

(click on the steps to expand)

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
60-90 days prior to scheduled departure

You must be able to provide proof that your pet bird previously lived in the U.S. The type of quarantine required will depend on which country your pet bird is coming to the U.S. from.

Only pet birds that previously lived in the U.S. are eligible to be brought back into the U.S. under these guidelines. To be eligible, you must have an original health certificate that was issued in the U.S. prior to your bird leaving the U.S. The bird must be clearly identified on the health certificate by name, breed, color, markings, and identification (microchip, leg band, or tattoo).  You must provide a copy of this document during the import permit process. If you are unable to provide this document, your pet bird will be classified as non-U.S. origin (please click here for the requirements).

After February 19, 2018, in order to qualify as a returning U.S. origin pet bird and be eligible for home quarantine, all birds weighing more than 100 grams* (roughly the size of a clinched fist) must be identified (microchip, leg band or tattoo) prior to leaving the United States and that identification must be on the U.S. origin health certificate.

Pet birds weighing more than 100 grams* that left the United States after February 19, 2018 that do not have this identification, will not qualify as returning U.S. origin birds from HPAI-FREE countries, and must go to a Federal Animal Import Center quarantine facility for a minimum of 30 days, at the owner’s expense.

Birds classified by VS as poultry are not considered pet birds and are not eligible to import using these guidelines (please click here for the requirements).

*Most finches, parakeets, lovebirds, and budgies are under 100 grams, and most African greys, caiques, lories, eclectus, and other parrots are more than 100 grams.

View a list of countries currently affected by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

If your pet bird is traveling to the U.S. from a country/region that the U.S. does not consider to be affected with HPAI, your pet bird must be kept in quarantine for 30 days upon arrival into the U.S., but the quarantine may be done in your home.

If your pet bird is traveling to the U.S. from a country/region that the U.S. considers to be affected with HPAI or from Mexico, your pet bird must go into a 30 day quarantine at a one of the two USDA pet bird quarantine centers. These centers are located in New York and Florida. View more information about federal quarantine.

Please note: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may have additional restrictions related to eligibility, please see STEP 3 for contact information.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
60-90 days before scheduled arrival in the U.S.

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

If your pet bird will be going into a home quarantine:
Your pet bird must fly into the U.S. at a designated port of entry.  The flight should fly directly to the eligible port of entry, without stopping at other U.S. airports.  VS veterinarians are not available at all airport locations.

Designated Airports

Permanently Staffed Airports
Atlanta, Georgia (ATL) 
770-761-5438

Jamaica, New York (JFK) 
718-553-3570 

Chicago, Illinois (ORD)
847-699-2450
VSDesPlaines@aphis.usda.gov

Los Angeles, California (LAX)
310-955-3311
vspslax@aphis.usda.gov

Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL) 

Miami, Florida (MIA)
305-876-2200
vspsmia@aphis.usda.gov

San Francisco, California (SFO) 
650-876-9358 
sfo.port.services@aphis.usda.gov
Seattle, Washington (SEA) 
360‐753‐9430

Intermittently Staffed Airports
Anchorage, Alaska (ANC) 
907-529-6522


Houston, Texas (IAH) 
334-551-2180 
VSAL@aphis.usda.gov

Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP)
651-290-3691
VSAL@aphis.usda.gov

San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) 
787-919-7784 
vspsfl@aphis.usda.gov


Once you have identified a port of entry from those listed above, 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 Air and Sea Port Services Director at VSAL@aphis.usda.gov

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.

If your pet bird must go into a federal quarantine:
You must make arrangements for your pet bird to fly into the U.S. at one of the airports associated with a USDA Animal Import Center. These airports are;

Your bird must travel directly to one of these ports of entry without first stopping at any other U.S. port.  Contact VS personnel at the Animal Import Center to make a reservation for your pet bird and to discuss arrangements to transport your pet bird to quarantine upon arrival into the U.S. (view additional information on federal quarantine including Animal Import Center contact details).

You will need to allow plenty of time at the designated port to complete all activities involved in getting your pet bird to federal quarantine. If the designated port is not your final destination and you need to make a connecting flight, please make sure you have a minimum of 4 hours between your flights. The time required may vary by port; you can contact VS personnel at the port to discuss logistics.

 

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
60-90 days prior to scheduled departure

In the U.S., The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 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 if your pet bird is regulated by FWS, please visit their website at: http://www.fws.gov/permits/ and review the fact sheet at: http://www.fws.gov/le/pdf/travelpetbird.pdf.

You may also contact them directly at 703-358-2104 or 800-358-2104.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
30 days prior to scheduled departure

All pet birds entering the U.S. at an airport or seaport must have a VS import permit. For all returning U.S. 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 route of travel should include a flight that travels directly to a designated port of entry within the U.S. without stopping at other U.S. airports.  If you cannot obtain a direct flight to a designated port of entry, you will need to discuss this with the NIES Riverdale Staff.  You also need to provide a copy of your U.S. health certificate issued before your pet bird left the U.S. with your application. For pet birds that left the U.S. after February 19, 2018, and weigh more than 100 grams* (roughly the size of a clinched fist), the U.S. health certificate must include the microchip, leg band, or tattoo information in order for the pet bird to be consider of U.S. origin and be eligible for home quarantine. 

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 ePermits 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. All home quarantine related fees will be charged at the time of application.  A total of $650.0 will be charged for the following services: processing the import application, inspection fees at the port of entry, lab submission fees and home visit with sample collection during the home quarantine.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
within 30 days of arrival (airlines may require shorter time frame)

All pet birds entering the U.S. from any country other than Canada are required to have a health certificate issued within 30 days of travel by a veterinarian in the country your bird is leaving. The health certificate must be stamped by an official government veterinarian of the country.

The U.S. can accept any health certificate template, as long as it meets the following guidelines:

  • The health certificate is issued or endorsed by a full-time salaried veterinarian of the national government within the agency responsible for animal health in the foreign (exporting) country of origin.
  • It is dated within 30 days of the date the bird leaves the foreign country.
  • It is in English or contains a complete written English translation within the document.
  • It clearly identifies the bird, and the identification matches the import permit.
  • The animal is exported in accordance with the laws of the exporting country. NOTE: some countries require the VS import permit before they will issue a health certificate.
  • The import health requirements defined by VS are met.
    • The health certificate must contain the following statements:
      • The bird is being exported in accordance with the laws of that country.
      • The bird was not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza.
      • CHOOSE EITHER OPTION A OR B BELOW:

A. The bird was not vaccinated against Newcastle disease.
OR
B. The bird has been vaccinated against Newcastle disease (avian paramyxovirus) at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus.

  • The bird has been examined by the veterinarian issuing the health certificate and shows no evidence of any communicable diseases of poultry.
  • The shipment will not transit through any region where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist. (Only applies to pet birds originating in a country free from HPAI.)

Additionally, you should carefully review your VS import permit to make sure there are no other requirements or certification statements listed. If you see requirements on your import permit that are different from what is listed above, please check with the office that issued your permit to be sure you understand all the requirements.

Note: It is important to check with the veterinary authorities of the country you are leaving to make sure they don’t have additional export requirements (some countries require testing for birds to leave the country, even though it isn’t required by the U.S. when entering). The veterinarian issuing the health certificate should be your contact for any local government requirements.

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 have different requirements for when the health certificate must be issued. 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.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
minimum of 72 hours prior to arrival, preferably as soon as flight is scheduled

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

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 when you arrive. The port veterinarian can provide you more information about the specific process at that airport and what you should expect on arrival. 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 port personnel will meet you. The port personnel 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: http://www.fws.gov/permits/ and review the fact sheet at: http://www.fws.gov/le/pdf/travelpetbird.pdf.

You may also contact them directly at 703-358-2104 or 800-358-2104.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
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 health certificate issued in the country your bird is leaving
  • The original VS import permit
  • 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.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
on arrival, allow 4 or more hours

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

If your bird is flying with you and 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 to after landing, 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.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
on arrival

For all returning U.S. origin pet birds, when you arrive in the U.S., the VS port personnel will examine your bird, confirm its identification (microchip, leg band or tattoo, if present), and review your official documents. If you chose to use a microchip that is not ISO compliant, you must provide a handheld reader capable of reading the microchip implanted in the bird, at the intended port of entry. If your pet bird is going into a home quarantine, the port veterinarian will also collect samples to test for avian influenza and Newcastle disease. If your pet bird is going into federal quarantine, the first samples will be collected at the Animal Import Center. If there are any discrepancies in the paperwork or identification, or if the bird does not appear healthy, the port veterinarian will discuss options with you at that time.

Home Quarantine:
For pet birds that are eligible for a home quarantine, you should be prepared to restrain your bird for the inspection and for sample collection. If your bird bites, you may want to bring a towel or glove for protection. The port veterinarian will use a small swab to collect a sample from your bird’s cloaca (vent), and you will have to hold your bird while this procedure is being done.

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

  • The bird(s) will be maintained in your personal possession, separate and apart from all other birds and poultry for a minimum of 30 days, until released by VS.
  • If you must move the bird(s), you will contact the official listed on the VS 17-8 BEFORE movement.
  • The bird(s) will be available for inspection by VS during the quarantine, at times specified by VS.
  • You will notify the official listed on the VS 17-8 if any signs of disease are noted or the bird(s) die during quarantine. If a laboratory test is positive, the bird(s) will be euthanized by VS.

The port veterinarian will keep the original health certificate, and will provide you a copy of the VS 17-8.

Fees for home quarantine:
9CFR 130.10 “user fees for pet birds (a)(2) which have been out of the U.S. for more than 60 days” – this fee is charged per “lot” so if you have more than one pet bird, but they are all going to the same home location for quarantine, you are only charged this fee once. This fee covers the initial inspection and first sample collection at the first port of entry (as long as it is during normal port business hours – see overtime charges below), and the travel time and second inspection and sample collection at your home (7-14 days after entry).  NOTE: Although the regulations reference a fee for birds which have been out of the U.S. 60 days or less, this code is not used and the higher fee always applies.

Fees for testing:
9CFR 130.15 “virus isolation” – this fee is also charged per “lot” and samples from up to 5 pet birds may be combined. You will be charged this fee twice – once for the initial cloacal swab test, and then again when the second set of samples are collected and submitted. These fees are charged directly by the laboratory when the samples are received, so you must provide a separate form of payment which is sent to the lab (check, money order, credit card, or APHIS user fee account).

Overtime charges:
9CFR 97.1 “Overtime work at laboratories, border ports, ocean ports, and airports” – see the first chart. If your flight arrives 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 flying into 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, or if you arrive in the U.S. without appropriate notification to the port veterinarian.

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.

Federal Quarantine:
Once your bird has cleared customs, VS port personnel will meet you and/or your bird at the location discussed when you provided your 72 hour notice of arrival.  If the port personnel taking your bird into possession notices an issue with the health of your bird or a problem with your paperwork, they will notify the port veterinarian who will discuss options with you at that time.  VS port personnel will oversee the transport of your pet bird to the Animal Import Center (AIC) to start quarantine. You should have already discussed arrangements for transport, which vary by port of entry, with the AIC staff.

Once at the federal quarantine facility, VS personnel will collect cloacal samples from your pet bird to test for avian influenza and Newcastle disease.  You will be responsible for paying the laboratory testing fee.

Fees for federal quarantine:
9CFR 130.10 “user fees for pet birds (b)” – fees vary depending on how many birds are in the isolette (which will be determined by the APHIS personnel at the quarantine facility). Fees are for standard care, feed, and handling per day during the quarantine period.

Fees for testing:
9CFR 130.15 “virus isolation” – this fee is also charged per “lot” and samples from up to 5 pet birds may be combined. You will be charged this fee twice – once for the initial cloacal swab test, and then again when the second set of samples are collected and submitted. These fees are charged directly by the laboratory when the samples are received, so you must provide a separate form of payment which is sent to the lab (check, money order, credit card, or APHIS user fee account).

Overtime charges:
9CFR 97.1 “Overtime work at laboratories, border ports, ocean ports, and airports” – see the first chart. If your flight arrives 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 flying into to get an estimate.

Non-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, or if you arrive in the U.S. without appropriate notification to the port veterinarian.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
7-14 days after arrival

All pet birds are required to have two sets of samples collected and tested for avian influenza and Newcastle disease. The first sample is collected on arrival, and the second set approximately 7-14 days later.

Home Quarantine:
Someone from VS will contact you after the start of home quarantine (based on the contact information provided on the form VS 17-8 that you signed when you arrived with your bird). They will make arrangements to travel to your home to inspect your bird and collect a second set of samples for testing. 

Federal Quarantine:
VS personnel at the federal quarantine facility will collect samples from your bird. You will be responsible for paying the laboratory testing fee.

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:
30 days after arrival

All pet birds are eligible for release from quarantine 30 days after arrival, assuming the birds are healthy and both sets of samples collected by VS tested negative. Your bird is not officially released from quarantine until you are notified by VS.

Home Quarantine: VS personnel will contact you at least 30 days after the start of home quarantine. They will confirm that they received two sets of negative test results, and will verify that your bird is still healthy. At that time, they will let you know if your bird is released from quarantine. You must comply with the home quarantine requirements until VS notifies you that your bird is released.

Federal Quarantine: Once your bird has been in quarantine for 30 days, and has had two sets of negative test results, it can be released from quarantine. You will need to make arrangements with the quarantine facility to pick up your bird after the 30 days are up. These arrangements should be made prior to the end of the quarantine to avoid extra charges.


Considerations for airline travel

Airlines may have separate and additional requirements. Check with your airline to determine what requirements they may have, if any.

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