Importing Live Cattle, Bison and Germplasm into the United States

Last Modified: March 22, 2024
cows in enclosure

USDA APHIS regulates the importation of all ruminants and their germplasm (embryos/oocytes, semen, cloning tissue) to prevent the spread of animal diseases. Ruminants include all animals which chew the cud, such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, deer, antelopes, camels, llamas and giraffes.

USDA APHIS defines the following animals as bovine: Bos taurus, Bos indicus and Bison bison.

View Countries From Which Bovines and Their Germplasm May Be Imported

What You Need To Know

  • U.S. transits are classified as shipments presented to a U.S. port of entry for conveyance purposes to then be transported to a destination country shortly after. Notice Regarding APHIS Live Animal Import and Third-Country Import Transit Permits (272.29 KB).
  • Please note that any animals and their germplasm transiting the United States must not transit countries with questionable disease statuses prior to reaching a U.S. port of entry.
  • All transits require a contingency plan. Please submit your contingency plan with your permit application (VS 17-129) to To submit an import permit electronically, visit APHIS eFile.

If you are applying to import live animals, semen, and embryos, you may submit applications by email to

Contact Us

Live Animal Imports

For questions about import permits or permit applications:

Live Animal Import Permit Team

For general questions related to the import of a live animal:

Live Animal Import and Export