Importing Animals, Animal products, Items exposed to Animal source material

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Veterinary Services division regulates the import of animals and materials derived from or exposed to animals to ensure that exotic animal and poultry diseases do not enter the country. Imports of Live animals, animal products, and items exposed to animal-source material require an import permit from the USDA in order to clear customs.

USDA Veterinary Services import permits require an application and user fee from the importer. The application requests details of the material, its origin, intended use, storage, and disposal methods at the receiving facility. Some animal or animal material imports require an inspection of the receiving facility by the USDA to ensure adequate containment measures are in place. If your intended use of university-owned property does not meet all of the criteria listed below, you must contact for an Export License Determination.

If you wish to import animals, animal product, or animal materials derived from Endangered Species, an import permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is required.  The USFWS issues permits for animals under the jurisdiction of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA).

Certain animal materials do not require a USDA import permit.  These items and the specific requirements to import each are listed in the USDA Guidelines.

NC State’s Environmental Health and Safety department has published additional guidance on USDA import permits.

If you are importing an item that requires an import permit from either the USDA or USFWS, contact for instructions and assistance with the permitting process.  The application and approval process can take four to six weeks so plan accordingly and be proactive.