Non-U.S. Origin Pet Bird Entering the U.S. from Canada

Last Modified: May 24, 2024

Carefully read ALL requirements on this page.  

  • It is the pet owner’s responsibility to make sure their pet meets U.S. entry requirements. Failure to meet these import requirements will result in problems upon arrival in the United States, and the pet may be refused entry.
  • Multiple U.S. agencies regulate pets imported into the United States. It is important that you notify and coordinate with all responsible government agencies.
     

Import Permit

Please use the Veterinary Services Permitting Assistant (VSPA) to confirm your pet import permit requirements. Click on the Live Animals tab. The VSPA will provide you with a summary of required import documents including permit applications, certificates, informational letters, and more.

Summary

For pet birds entering the United States (U.S.) from Canada, the requirements generally include:

For US importers traveling by land to Alaska, you must do the following BEFORE leaving the U.S.:

Fees

There are fees associated with all VS services; in general, you can expect to pay a minimum of $40.00 (land entry) to $190.00 (air/sea entry) for these services. This protocol only applies as long as Canada is free of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

Do you need a permit?
 

 

If your bird is entering at a LAND border portIf your bird is entering at an AIR or SEA port
Import Permit

Required1,2
 

Required

Veterinary Health Certificate

Required2
 

Required
 

Quarantine1

Not Required1
 

Not Required1
 

Veterinary Inspection upon Entry

Required

Required

1Pet birds which originate from or transit through a zone restricted due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) must be flown directly to John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York) or Miami International Airport (Florida), to undergo a 30-day federal quarantine with mandatory testing. Pet birds will not be allowed to import through a land border port.

2While Canada has HPAI affected zones, pet birds must have an import permit and a health certificate when presenting at any U.S. port of entry.

Travel Requirements

To make the travel process easier for you, we have broken 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.

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

Your pet bird must have been in your possession for a minimum of 90 days immediately before travel, and must not have been in contact with any other birds or poultry.

If your pet bird does not meet these requirements, please contact the VS Strategy and Policy, Live Animal Imports Staff in Riverdale, Maryland at 301-851-3300, option 3, or via email at LAIE@usda.gov for additional guidance. If your pet bird meets these requirements, you will be eligible to enter the U.S. with no quarantine.

If you take your pet bird to Mexico, and attempt to drive from Mexico to Canada, your pet bird will not be allowed entry into the U.S. A 30 day federal quarantine is required for all birds entering the U.S. from Mexico. You should fly your bird back to Canada to avoid quarantine. When flying your pet bird from Mexico to Canada, if the flight lands a U.S. airport you will need to obtain a transit permit.  Instructions regarding import permits can be found in STEP 4.

Please note: FWS may have additional restrictions related to eligibility, please see STEP 3 for contact information.

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

In the U.S., FWS 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 your pet bird is regulated by FWS, please visit their website at: http://www.fws.gov/permits/ and review the fact sheet. 

You may also contact FWS 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 any port of entry, must have a VS import permit. For all Canadian 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 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.

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 eFile 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.

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 require a health certificate. 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.

You should call the port 3-5 days prior to scheduled arrival. The port veterinarian can provide you more information about the specific process at that border port and what you should expect on arrival (including fees and payment options).

SUGGESTED TIME FRAME:  minimum of 72 hours prior to arrival, preferably as soon as flight is scheduled, or travel plans are confirmed, you must contact the VS port veterinarian at least 72 hours prior to arrival to schedule an inspection on arrival.

You must contact the VS port office at least 72 hours prior to arrival to alert port personnel of your arrival and discuss arrival plans.

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.

If you are traveling by air or sea, 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 inspection. The port veterinarian can provide you more information about the specific process at that port and what you should expect on arrival. If you are flying, 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 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 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.

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 VS import permit (if traveling via land, air or sea)
  • 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.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR DEPARTING FROM A PRE-CLEARANCE PORT: If you are flying from one of the designated Canadian pre-clearance airports, you will have to declare your pet bird and present your documents to a U.S. CBP Agriculture Officer PRIOR to boarding your flight in Canada. You will not be clearing customs in the U.S. on arrival (STEP 8 below). You will need to coordinate with the veterinarian at your first port of entry regarding where you will meet the veterinarian to have your bird inspected.

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.

The CBP OneTM mobile application is available at select U.S. ports of entry to expedite your pet bird’s CBP agriculture inspection. You may request an inspection, upload required documentation, and view the status and details of your inspection prior to arrival.

Whether you are entering the U.S. at a land border port or entering the U.S. at an air or sea port, you will need to declare and clear your pet bird with CBP. If you are driving to the U.S., arriving via boat, or flying and your bird 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 for inspection, 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 Canadian origin pet birds, when you arrive in the U.S., the VS port veterinarian will examine your bird.

The port veterinarian will examine your bird to make sure it appears healthy.  If the bird does not appear healthy, the port veterinarian will discuss options with you at that time.

You should be prepared to restrain your bird for the inspection. If your bird bites, you may want to bring a towel or glove for protection.

You will sign the “Agreement of Pet Bird Owner” VS 17-8 (77.88 KB) after the initial inspection on arrival. You will be asked to affirm the following:

  • The bird has been in your possession for at least 90 days, is apparently healthy, and has not been exposed to any other birds during those 90 days.

The port veterinarian will provide you a copy of the VS 17-8.

Once your pet bird has been inspected by VS 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.

Overtime charges:
9CFR 130.30 “hourly rate and minimum user fees” – see the chart at (b). If your arrival is 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 entering at 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. 

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.

U.S. State and Territory Requirements

Domestic movement requirements are set by the receiving State or Territory.

Visit the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to find your destination's agriculture department and check its website for requirements.

For questions or clarification on any of the requirements, contact the State or Territorial veterinarian's office.

Airline Requirements

Check with your airline to determine whether they have any additional requirements.

Need Help?

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

Live Animal Import and Export