Pet hedgehogs and tenrecs imported into the United States (U.S.) must meet various requirements. The requirements generally include a Veterinary Services (VS) import permit, an original health certificate issued or endorsed by a veterinary officer of the government in the foreign country your pet hedgehog or tenrec is traveling from, and an examination at the first U.S. port of entry. There are fees associated with all VS services. In general you can expect to pay a minimum of $216.00 for these services
PLEASE NOTE: Hedgehogs and tenrecs from New Zealand are not allowed entry into the U.S. Additionally, hedgehogs that have been in countries affected with Foot and Mouth Disease are not allowed. View a list of countries free of (not affected with) Foot and Mouth Disease.
On this page we have broken down 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.(click on steps to expand)
Hedgehogs and tenrecs may only enter the U.S. at certain designated ports, and must be inspected at the first port of entry.
For additional details, please choose the appropriate option below.
If your pet will be flying to the U.S.
Your hedgehog or tenrec must fly into the U.S. at a designated airport, since APHIS Veterinary Services veterinarians are not available at all airport locations.
Permanently Staffed Airports
APHIS Veterinary ServicesDesPlaines@aphis.usda.gov
Los Angeles, California (LAX)
APHIS Veterinary Servicespslax@aphis.usda.gov
Jamaica, New York (JFK)
APHIS Veterinary Servicespsjfk@aphis.usda.gov
Miami, Florida (MIA)
APHIS Veterinary Servicespsmia@aphis.usda.gov
Intermittently Staffed Airports
Houston, Texas (IAH)
APHIS Veterinary ServicesAL@aphis.usda.gov
Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL)
Seattle, Washington (SEA)
San Francisco, California (SFO)
Atlanta, Georgia (ATL)
Anchorage, Alaska (ANC)
San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
APHIS Veterinary Servicespsfl@aphis.usda.gov
Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP)
APHIS Veterinary ServicesAL@aphis.usda.gov
Once you have identified a potential port of entry, please contact that port using the contact information above, to verify APHIS Veterinary Services 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 APHIS Veterinary Services National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland at 301-851-3300, option 2, or via 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’s arrival in the U.S. The time required may vary by port; you can contact APHIS Veterinary Services personnel at the port to discuss logistics.
If your pet will be entering the U.S. at a sea port
Please contact the APHIS Veterinary Services National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland at 301-851-3300, option 2, or via e-mail at with the details of your proposed travel plans so we can determine whether a veterinarian will be available for inspection.
If your pet will be entering the U.S. at a Canadian border port
Eligible Canada Border Ports
If you need contact information for the port, please contact either the Service Center responsible for that state or the APHIS Veterinary Services National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland at 301-851-3300, option 2, or via email.
If your pet will be entering the U.S. at a Mexican border port
Eligible Mexico Border Ports
If you need contact information for the port, please contact either the Service Center responsible for that state (click here for contact information) or the APHIS Veterinary Services National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland at 301-851-3300, option 2, or via email .
FWS regulates the entry into the U.S. of various exotic animals.
FWS may require you to declare your pet hedgehog or tenrec to them for entry into the U.S. To determine if your specific pet hedgehog or tenrec is regulated by FWS, please visit their website. You may contact FWS directly at 703-358-2104 or 800-358-2104. You may need to provide the scientific name (genus and species) of your hedgehog or tenrec when speaking with FWSs, so it is recommended you have that available when calling.
All pet hedgehogs and tenrecs entering the U.S. must have a APHIS Veterinary Services import permit. To obtain an import permit for hedgehogs you submit a permit application to the APHIS Veterinary Services National Import Export Services (NIES) Staff in Riverdale, Maryland.
You will need to apply for a APHIS Veterinary Services import permit approximately 30 days prior to departure. You will 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 hedgehog or tenrec will be arriving in the U.S. more than 30 days after the travel date specified on the import permit, you are required 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 APHIS Veterinary Services import permits:
9CFR 130.4 “initial permit” – this fee is charged per application so if you have more than one pet hedgehog or tenrec, but they are all traveling with you at the same time, then all of them should 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 APHIS Veterinary Services Form 17-129. The APHIS Veterinary Services Form 17-129 can be completed and then submitted manually 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 business hours ahead of scheduled travel, call the office where you submitted the application and ask about the status.
All pet hedgehogs and tenrecs entering the U.S. from any country must be treated for external parasites (ectoparasites) 3-14 days before travel. This treatment must be administered by a veterinarian.
All pet hedgehogs and tenrecs entering the U.S. from any country are required to have a health certificate issued within 72 hours of travel by a veterinarian in the country your pet hedgehog is traveling to the U.S. from.
Your pet hedgehog or tenrec will need to be examined by a veterinarian and have a veterinary health certificate issued within 3 days (72 hours) of travel. You should also check with the veterinary authorities of the country you are leaving to make sure they don’t have additional export requirements (some countries may require testing or treatments for hedgehogs and tenrecs in order to leave the country, even though the specific testing or treatment isn’t required by the U.S. when entering).
The U.S. can accept any health certificate template, as long as it meets the following guidelines:
Additionally, you should carefully review your APHIS Veterinary Services 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 of the requirements.
You will need to discuss with your airline carrier any specific requirements they have related to your pet’s travel.
Airlines may have their own requirements for the travel of pet hedgehogs or tenrecs. For instance, airlines may require the health certificate be dated sooner than 72 hours, require that the pet hedgehog or tenrec travel as manifested cargo, or have additional health requirements that must be met for the pet to travel on the plane. The airline can also provide information on the requirements they may have for carriers/cages, feed/water, and documentation.
You must contact the APHIS Veterinary Services port veterinarian at least 72 hours prior to arrival to schedule an inspection on arrival.
Your APHIS Veterinary Services 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 airport and what you should expect on arrival. If you are flying, make sure to tell the veterinarian whether your hedgehog or tenrec is traveling in the cabin with you, as excess 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 hedgehog or tenrec is subject to any additional requirements by FWS. You will need to coordinate with port FWS personnel to arrange for any inspection or document review that FWS may need.
For more information on FWS, please visit their website. You may contact FWS directly at 703-358-2104 or 800-358-2104.
Make sure to send all the required documentation with your pet hedgehog or tenrec.
You will need to have the following items:
The documentation should accompany the pet hedgehog or tenrec during travel.
You will need to clear your pet hedgehog or tenrec with CBP when you arrive in the U.S.
If you are entering at an eligible U.S. land border port from Canada or Mexico
You will need to declare your hedgehog or tenrec to CBP when you reach the customs checkpoint. Typically you will then be directed to a secondary CBP agriculture inspection, which is most likely where the APHIS Veterinary Services port veterinarian (and FWS inspector if required) will examine your hedgehog or tenrec and all of the paperwork.
If you are flying to the U.S.
If your hedgehog or tenrec 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 hedgehog or tenrec to CBP when you pass through customs. Typically you will then be directed to a secondary CBP agriculture inspection, which is most likely where the APHIS Veterinary Services port veterinarian (and FWS inspector, if required) will examine your hedgehog or tenrec and all of the paperwork.
If your hedgehog or tenrec is flying as cargo, you will have to talk to the airline cargo company to find out where yourhedgehog or tenrec and its accompanying documentation will be transported to after it is unloaded from the plane. Please be aware that you will need to clear your hedgehog or tenrec through customs, which may require traveling to and from the warehouse and customs.
You should have discussed specifics with the APHIS Veterinary Services port personnel prior to your arrival so that you know what to expect and where to meet inspection personnel on arrival.
The APHIS Veterinary Services port veterinarian will examine your hedgehog or tenrec and review your paperwork.
The port veterinarian will examine your hedgehog or tenrec to make sure it appears healthy and is not carrying any parasites. The port veterinarian will also review your paperwork to make sure you have all of the required documents. If there are any discrepancies in the paperwork, or if the hedgehog or tenrec does not appear healthy and free of external parasites, the port veterinarian will discuss options with you at that time.
Once your pet hedgehog or tenrec has been inspected by APHIS Veterinary Services and has cleared customs, you will be free to continue your travel.
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.
9CFR 130.130 “overtime rates (outside the employee’s normal tour of duty)” – see the chart under 130.30(b). 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 be charged inspection at the hourly overtime rate. These charges 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.
9CFR 130.4 “import compliance assistance – simple or complicated” – this fee may be charged per shipment. 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 or non-compliance charges (if incurred) at the time of arrival, so make sure you verify with port personnel what type of payment will be accepted.
Airlines may have separate and additional requirements. Check with your airline to determine what requirements they may have, if any.