Importing Live Poultry into the United States

Last Modified: April 05, 2024

Import Alert

Effective October 1, 2023:

chickens in enclosure

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines poultry as chickens, doves, ducks, geese, grouse, guinea fowl, partridges, pea fowl, pheasants, quail, swans, and turkeys. This page explains how to import all live poultry, except pigeons and doves (Columbiformes). 

With few exceptions, live poultry may not be imported from or transit through countries or zones affected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

USDA requires the following for all live poultry imports:

  • USDA Import Permit
  • Veterinary Export Health Certificate
  • Port Inspection
  • Import Quarantine

USDA requirements for transiting live poultry through the United States are detailed in the USDA Transit Process below. 

For information on importing pigeons and doves (Columbiformes) see Importing Columbiformes into the United States.

How To Import Live Poultry

  • Live poultry shipments must be accompanied by a USDA import permit unless the shipment is from Canada and presents at a U.S. land border port of entry. 
  • Importers may apply for an import permit online using the APHIS eFile system.
  • Alternatively, importers may submit a paper application using VS Form 17-129 Application for Import or In Transit Permit (73.07 KB).
  • Importers must submit the import permit application at least 7 business days prior to shipping birds.
  • The permit application processing fee can be paid by check, money order, charge card, or by providing a USDA User Fee account.
  • The original import permit is valid for 30 days and must accompany all live poultry shipments.
  • Live poultry imported from any region of the world must be accompanied by a health certificate in English or with English translation that is:
    • Issued by a salaried veterinarian of the national government of the exporting region OR
    • Issued by a certifying official AND
    • Endorsed by the competent authority of that country,
    • Any allowable or required deviations of endorsement will be specified on the import permit.
  • Certain exporting countries have a specific health certificate for live poultry. Other countries may use the U.S. model health certificate for live poultry or their own document that contains the same requirements as the model.
  • A USDA port veterinarian must inspect live poultry at the first U.S. port of entry, unless otherwise indicated on the import permit.
  • The importer must arrange for this inspection at least 72 hours in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian, whose contact information is listed on the import permit.
  • Inspection consists of a visual inspection of the shipment, export health certificate, and U.S. import permit. You can find user fee rates for inspection services on the APHIS web page VS Import/Export User Fees.
  • Live poultry imported from areas of Canada that are not restricted due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) or Newcastle disease, and that have not transited such areas, do not require quarantine.
  • Other live poultry (not including hatching eggs) must undergo a minimum of 30 days quarantine at a USDA Animal Import Center listed below or a USDA-approved private quarantine facility. For guidance on establishing a private quarantine, see Veterinary Services Documents). Initial USDA approval of a private quarantine facility may take several months; USDA routinely confirms approval before issuing the import permit.
  • Importers seeking to quarantine at a USDA Animal Import Center should make reservations directly with the center of choice before the shipment arrives. USDA must confirm the reservation before issuing the import permit.
  • Fees include, but are not limited to, port inspection, laboratory testing that occurs during quarantine, and the quarantine stay. You can find user fee rates on the APHIS website at VS Import/Export User Fees. The USDA Animal Import Center will provide an estimate of the overall cost of quarantine.
  • Birds are tested in quarantine to determine if they are free of certain communicable diseases. The cost of diagnostic testing is separate from the quarantine fee.

USDA Animal Import Centers

For quarantine-related questions, contact one of the following USDA Animal Import Center quarantine facilities:

  • Miami Animal Import Center
    6300 NW 36 St.
    Miami, FL 33122
    Phone: 305-876-2200
    Fax: 305-876-2201
  • New York Animal Import Center
    474 International Blvd.
    Rock Tavern, NY 12575
    Phone: 845-838-5500
    Fax: 845-838-5575

USDA Transit Process

  • Live poultry shipments transiting the United States from the exporting country to a third country destination must be accompanied by a USDA transit permit and a contingency plan as described in VSG 13404.2 Transit Shipments of Live Animal Commodities (479.88 KB).
  • The process for applying for the transit permit is the same as for the import permit (see USDA Import Permit section). Denoting the route of travel on the application distinguishes the type of permit requested.
  • USDA oversees transit shipments while in the United States. The importer must arrange for USDA services at least 72 hours in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian listed on the transit permit.
  • The importer must submit the contingency plan with the permit application and the request for service at the U.S. transit port.
  • The transit permit lists any special instructions for the importer and port staff. For more information, see VSG 13404.2 Transit Shipments of Live Animal Commodities (479.88 KB) and Notice Regarding APHIS Live Animal Import and Third-Country Import Transit Permits (272.29 KB).

Live Animal Import Permit Team

Contact APHIS' Live Animal Import Permit team if you have questions before you apply for a permit.

For questions about import permits or permit applications:

Live Animal Import Permit Team

APHIS Port Services

For questions about import inspections at a port of entry, quarantine of animals arriving from a foreign country, or requesting approval as a private animal import quarantine facility, contact APHIS Port Services.

Live Animal Import and Export

Contact APHIS' Live Animal Import and Export team for questions about current trade restrictions, or other questions not related to permits.

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

Live Animal Import and Export