Importing Commercial Birds and Zoological Birds into the United States

The United States prohibits live avian commodities (including eggs for hatching) from countries or regions due to the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The exception of these prohibitions are pet birds and zoo birds. A current list of countries and regions can be found here: AnimalHealth Status of Regions

The USDA defines commercial birds as those birds which are imported for resale, breeding, public display, or any other purpose, except pet birds, zoological birds, research birds, or performing or theatrical birds.

Import Procedures (from all countries except Canada): All commercial birds must be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days at a USDA Animal Import Center. The birds must also be accompanied by a USDA import permit (VS Form17-129), issued prior to shipment of the birds. The importer must contact a USDA Animal Import Center directly to apply for the import permit and reserve quarantine space in the facility. The addresses for the USDA Animal Import Centers are listed below.

New York Animal Import Center
474 International Boulevard
Rock Tavern, NY 12575
(845) 838-5500 (phone)
(845) 838-5516 (fax)

Miami Animal Import Center
6300 NW 36 Street
Miami, FL 33122
(305) 876-2200 (phone)
(305) 876-2201 (fax)

Health certificates that accompany imported live avian shipments must indicate that:

2  For zoo birds: Zoological birds that have been vaccinated for avian influenza subtypes H5 or H7 as part of an official program, using vaccine products approved and used under supervision by the veterinary authorities of the exporting country, may be imported under specific conditions which will be specified on the import permit. Birds must be permanently identified and meet all other entry requirements. Birds are subject to quarantine on arrival.   If zoo birds from Canada are under a vaccination program that includes  subtypes H5 or H7, birds will go into quarantine.

The daily User Fee rate for standard care, feed, and handling of commercial birds quarantined in a USDA Animal Import Center is based on the weight of the bird. Current User Fee rates can be found here.

Summary for the Importation of Commercial and Zoological Birds

Importers should submit the application and the processing fee by check, money order, charge card or by providing a USDA user fee account. Current fees can be found here.

Changes need to be made for a permit after it has been issued, there is an additional fee. User Fees For Processing Import Permit Applications.

Commercial and Zoological Birds Imported From Canada:

Commercial and zoological birds imported from Canada into the United States are not required to be quarantined2. However, commercial birds must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued within 30 days of importation and endorsed by a full-time salaried veterinarian of the Canadian government. All commercial and zoological birds must be inspected by a USDA veterinarian at the first U.S. port of entry.

2 Zoological birds from Canada which are part of a H5, H7 official vaccination program must be quarantined.

An import permit is required for commercial and zoological birds imported from Canada via air or sea port, but an import permit is not required for commercial birds being imported through a land border port 

The application for the import permit (VS Form 17-129) must be submitted to receive an import permit.

This permit may be downloaded from the internet at /library/forms/index.shtml#vs or by contacting us:

National Import and Export Services
4700 River Road, Unit 39
Riverdale, MD 20737
(301) 851-3300 Telephone
(301) 734-4704 Fax

Fish and Wildlife Service Permit Information

In the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regulates the importation of birds protected by the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 (WBCA). These regulations are part of international conservation effort to protect exotic wild birds subject to trade. Most exotic pet birds including parrots, parakeets, macaws, lories, and cockatoos are affected by CITES and the WBCA. However, the budgerigar, cockatiel, and rose-ringed parakeets and peach-faced lovebirds are exempt.

According to the WBCA, in order to import a pet bird of non-U.S. origin into the United States, you must have continuously resided outside of the United States for at least one year. In addition, the WBCA limits the number of pet birds that can be imported to two birds per person, per year. All required WBCA and CITES permits must accompany the bird while in transit.

Please visit the FWS web site at: to obtain more information and the permit application. If you have questions you can contact the FWS at (800) 358-2104. Overseas calls should be placed to (703) 358-2104.