Importing Live Cattle and Bison from Canada to the United States

Last Modified: April 24, 2024
cows in fenced area, winter weather

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.

View Countries From Which Bovines and Their Germplasm May Be Imported


Northern Border Ports

  • Idaho: Eastport
  • Maine: Houlton and Jackman
  • Michigan: Detroit, Port Huron, and Sault Ste. Marie
  • Minnesota: Baudette
  • Montana: Opheim, Raymond, and Sweetgrass
  • New York: Alexandria Bay, Buffalo, and Champlain
  • North Dakota: Dunseith, Pembina, and Portal
  • Vermont: Derby Line and Highgate Springs
  • Washington: Oroville and Sumas


  • Newburg, NY
  • Miami, FL
  • Los Angeles, CA

** Please see 9CFR 93.403 for list of special/limited ports of entry

  • Protocol Wood Bison from Canada (178.94 KB)
  • Protocol Cattle and Bison from Canada (143.59 KB)
    • NOTE:  As of November 13, 2017, the requirement for individual age identification for cattle destined for immediate slaughter has been removed from the Canadian export certificate.

Guidance specific to the importation of Cattle/Ruminants from Canada

A permit and export health certificate are required to import bovine embryos from Canada.

A permit is not required to import bovine semen from Canada transported by land; an export health certificate must accompany the shipment and the port of entry into the United States must be notified at least three days in advance. VS Contacts: Live Animal and Animal Product Exports

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