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Ratites and Hatching Eggs

Import Procedures for Importing Ratites and Hatching Eggs of Ratites

ADVISORY: Until further notice, live avian commodities (including eggs for hatching) from the following countries or regions have been prohibited entry to the United States due to the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, People's Republic of China, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Taipei Chinese/Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

1  The United States negotiates avian disease surveillance plans with various trading partners. The above advisory list may not encompass all areas or regions for which APHIS considers to be affected with highly pathogenic avian influenza.   Importers are urged to contact APHIS and inquire about any additional restrictions. 

The USDA regulates the importation of all avian species including ratites and hatching eggs of ratites into the United States. These regulations were developed to prevent the introduction of highly contagious poultry diseases such as exotic Newcastle disease into the United States.

Import Requirements

Ratites (live birds) must:

  • be produced by a pen-raised flock;
  • be identified by a microchip (live birds);
  • be shipped from a farm that has been inspected and approved by a USDA official during the past 12 months
  • be shipped in a new container;
  • be treated with a pesticide of sufficient strength to rid live birds of all external parasites not more than 14 days nor less than 3 days prior to shipping;
  • be accompanied by an Application/Permit for Ratites or Ratite Hatching Eggs and Space Reservation Request (VS Form 17-129) issued in advance of the shipment;
  • be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate with specific certification statements, issued by a full-time salaried veterinarian of the agency responsible for animal health of the national government in the exporting country of origin;
  • be inspected by a USDA veterinarian at a designated port of entry, as listed on the import permit;
  • be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days (live birds) at a USDA Animal Import Center; and
  • be found free of evidence of communicable diseases of poultry during quarantine.


Hatching eggs of ratites must:

  • be brooded in a hatchery that has been approved in advance by USDA, under the direct supervision of the Area Veterinarian in Charge in the State of destination; and
  • be quarantined within the hatchery for the full incubation period, plus an additional 30 days after hatching. Chicks hatched during quarantine will be tested for communicable diseases of poultry.


How to Obtain an Import Permit

Information about an import permit, availability of quarantine space in the facility, and an estimate of quarantine costs and associated fees may be obtained by contacting either of the USDA Animal Import Centers listed below.

New York Animal Import Center
474 International Blvd
Rock Tavern, New York 12575
TEL: (845) 838-5500
FAX: (845) 838-5516
(No limitations on size of ratites)

Miami Animal Import Center
6300 NW 36th Street
Miami, FL 33122
TEL: (305) 876-2200
FAX: (305) 876-2201
(Limited to ratites under 36 inches tall)


During the quarantine period, the ratites will be treated for external parasites and will undergo certain tests and diagnostic procedures to determine if they are free of communicable diseases of birds and poultry. All costs associated with the quarantine including diagnostic testing are charged to the importer. One hundred percent (100%) of these fees, in the form of a check or United States money order in U.S. dollars and made payable to the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), must accompany the import permit application. The import permit is issued when the required fees are paid in full and quarantine facility space is available.

In cases where an import permit is issued and the birds are not imported, the reservation fee will be forfeited unless the Animal Import Center is notified of the cancellation, in writing, at least 15 working days before the scheduled date of arrival. A $40 (in U.S. dollars) cancellation fee will be assessed on all canceled reservations for importing birds.

User fees for standard care, feed, and handling of ratites quarantined in a USDA Animal Import Center can be found here.

Fees apply if arrival is during regular working hours (approximately 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday), and prior notification has been given. Overtime charges apply if the ratites or hatching eggs arrives before or after these hours. In addition, USDA port veterinarians are not stationed full-time at each port of entry, prior notification is critical to the import process.

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

  • Birds or poultry were not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza.
    The shipment will not transit through any regions where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist, as listed here on this web page.
    The birds or poultry have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease (avian paramyxovirus) at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus.
  • Birds or poultry have not been vaccinated against Newcastle disease.


Additional information about avian imports may be requested by contacting us:

USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services
National Import and Export Sevices
4700 River Road, Unit 39
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
(301) 851-3300 telephone
(301) 734-4704 fax