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Travel With Pet Birds

Multiple agencies, including USDA APHIS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), may be involved in pet bird travel. It is critical that your pet bird meets ALL applicable requirements before travel. Depending on the type of bird you have, APHIS regulations may vary. Due to the possibility of carrying or transmitting certain diseases to the U.S. poultry industry, some pet birds are regulated as poultry and must meet different requirements.

Traveling With Pet Birds - American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
When considering interstate or international travel for your pet bird, plan ahead because some preparations may need to start months in advance. You will need to carefully research the requirements of your airline, your destination country and any stopover countries on your itinerary. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has regulations pertaining to foreign travel with your pet bird. The agency can also help with questions about the requirements and restrictions to ownership of regulated species, prerequisites for transporting them, and what to do if you are not allowed to have them.

Flying With Your Pet Bird
Some U.S. airlines allow you to bring your pet bird with you on your flight, provided you meet certain conditions; some allow birds in the cabin, provided their kennel will fit under the seat in front of you. Others will only accept pet birds as checked baggage or in the cargo hold. Typically, your bird must be a "household" bird – a pet, in other words, not a wild bird – and it must be odorless and quiet. If your bird is particularly noisy, call your airline to find out whether your bird is a good candidate for in-cabin travel. Most airlines that accept pet birds will not allow you to bring chickens or other poultry, only pet birds such as finches and parakeets. Many air carriers restrict pet travel when the outside temperature is or is predicted to be above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, particularly if your bird must travel as checked baggage. Information on Airline Pet Policies

Traveling Across International Borders With Your Pet Bird
If you are traveling with an exotic pet, including many bird and reptile species, you may need to obtain permits before crossing international borders with your pet. The Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) of 1992 helps to ensure that exotic bird species are not harmed by international trade and encourages wild bird conservation programs in countries of origin. The WBCA focuses on bird species listed in the Appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and restricts the number of pet birds individuals may import into the United States annually (import permits are required). The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) may issue permits to allow import of listed birds for scientific research, zoological breeding or display, or personal pet purposes when the applicant meets certain criteria. Most bird species listed under CITES (including parrots, cockatoos, and macaws but excluding budgerigars and cockatiels) are listed under WBCA, with certain exemptions: Species Listed Under WBCA

Traveling Abroad With Your Pet Bird - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued regulations implementing the Act that provide for permits to allow foreign travel with your pet bird (domestic travel and sales are not affected). If you wish to bring your pet bird into or out of the United States you will need to meet certain criteria under CITES and the WBCA and obtain a permit from the Service. Some species are also protected under the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA), and additional restrictions may apply. These regulations are in addition to any other State laws and the requirements of foreign countries.

To determine whether regulations apply to your pet bird, you will first need to determine the scientific name (genus and species) as wildlife protections are designated at the species level. Once you know the scientific name you can search whether your pet bird species is listed under CITES at the Species Plus Database. Unless the species is listed in the table at the end of the document, any CITES listed species is also listed under the WBCA. You can learn whether your pet bird species is listed under the ESA at the Service’s Endangered Species Program

If you are unsure whether these regulations apply to you, contact the Service’s Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits, at managementauthority@fws.gov or 1-800-358-2104.

Before You Make Travel Plans - Select a Designated Port
In advance of making travel plans you will need to select a Designated Port and apply for and obtain necessary permits and authorizations from the United States and the foreign country prior to firming up your travel plans. The permit application processing time averages 60 days and there is not a means to expedite applications; be sure to plan ahead! All wildlife imported or exported from the U.S. for any purpose must be inspected by a Wildlife Inspector from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement prior to import or export (including species not listed under CITES or WBCA). Wildlife Inspectors are stationed at offices called "Designated Ports" at certain border crossings and airports to perform these inspections by appointment. Review the list of Designated Ports prior to arranging your travel plans or applying for a permit. If you are unable to travel through a Designated Port, you may apply for a Designated Port Exception Permit by submitting application form 3-200-2. A Designated Port Exception Permit authorizes an inspection, by appointment, at another border crossing. When you later apply for a permit to import/export your pet, report the Designated Port you select on your application form, or submit a copy of your Designated Port Exception Permit.

Once you have obtained all necessary permits and authorizations and are ready to travel, contact the Wildlife Inspector at the appropriate Port at least 72 hours in advance to make an appointment for the inspection and clearance of your pet. Complete a Declaration Form 3-177 prior to your appointment. At the appointment you will present your pet, your permits, the Declaration form 3-177, and any other required documentation for inspection.

CITES/ WBCA/ ESA Permits: What Type of Permit Do I Need, and How Do I Apply?
The Service issued regulations implementing CITES, the WBCA, and the ESA that provide for permits to allow the export and/or import of certain pet birds. The Service’s Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits processes applications for several different permit types, depending on the activity. The Branch of Permits may issue one permit document with multiple authorizations under more than one law if your pet is listed under both CITES and WBCA. Permit application processing time averages 60 days. There is not a means to expedite applications, so be sure to plan ahead.

If you have determined that your pet is protected under the WBCA or CITES, you will need to apply for one or more permits. Review the permit types below; if you are unsure about what permit type applies to your pet bird or your activities, contact the Service’s Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits, at managementauthority@fws.gov or 1-800-358-2104.

1. WBCA/ CITES Single Use Import Permit: This permit type authorizes a single border crossing into the United States under the WBCA (and CITES for Appendix I species) and remains valid for one year. It is appropriate if you are moving your household into the United States or are visiting the United States for a single trip. The WBCA restricts the import of listed species, which may only be imported as a personally owned pet of an individual who is returning to the United States after being continuously out of the country for a minimum of one year. An individual may not import more than 2 birds in any year. If you meet these criteria, obtain a CITES Export permit from the foreign country, then submit application form 3-200-46 and the processing fee to the Service. You may apply for up to two pet birds in one year (both birds may be listed on the same application).

2. CITES/ WBCA Single Use Export Permit: This permit type authorizes a single border crossing out of the United States under CITES and also includes a re-import authorization under the WBCA. The one-time CITES authorization remains valid for six months, but as long as you maintain a copy of the cleared permit the one-time WBCA re-import authorization will not expire and may be used at a later date. This permit type is appropriate if you are moving your household out of the United States or are taking a single trip out of the United States. You may apply for multiple birds on the same application. There are no restrictions on the length of time you may travel abroad or on the number of birds you may take with you. Submit application form 3-200-46 and the processing fee to the Service. Review the application form to determine what information the Service needs to make a permit issuance determination. If your pet bird is listed under CITES Appendix I, you will first need to obtain a CITES import permit from the foreign country.

3. CITES/ WBCA Pet Passport: This permit type is for U.S. Residents and authorizes multiple border crossings out of and back into the United States under CITES and the WBCA; it remains valid for three years. The pet passport is appropriate for individuals that intend to travel frequently from the United States with their pet bird, such as to and from Canada. Submit application form 3-200-64 and the processing fee to the Service. Only one bird may be listed on a pet passport; submit a separate application for each pet bird.

4. WBCA/ CITES 3 Year Multiple Use Import Permit: This permit type is for residents of foreign countries who have a pet passport from their home country and authorizes multiple imports under the WBCA (and CITES for Appendix I species). Submit application form 3-200-64 and the processing fee to the Service. Under the WBCA, an individual can only import two birds per year; you may apply for up to two birds on one application. You will first need to obtain a CITES pet passport from the foreign country and submit a copy of the passport with your application.

5. ESA Listed Species: Additional restrictions may apply for endangered or threatened species. For details on allowable activities with species listed under the Endangered Species Act, visit the Endangered Species Program’s parrot FAQ page.

Foreign Country Requirements
Be sure to check with the countries you are traveling to for their requirements. Import or export permits may be required under CITES, and other countries also have domestic laws and quarantine requirements for the import and export of protected wildlife. Contact information for foreign country CITES Offices is available at the CITES website

Leaving the U.S. with Your Pet Bird
To ensure that you will be allowed to bring your pet bird back into the United States from travel abroad, you will need to take the following steps prior to firming up your travel plans:
1. Obtain documented evidence that each bird was acquired legally.
2. Select a Designated Port for wildlife import/ export (or if not using a Designated Port, submit application form 3-200-2 to apply for a Designated Port Exception); you will report this on permit application forms and this may influence your travel plans.
3. Apply for CITES permits or other authorizations from the foreign country
4. Apply for a permit from the Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Applications for permits must be received in that office at least 60 days in advance of anticipated travel.
5. Discuss import/ export requirements with USDA- APHIS. 6. Complete a Declaration Form 3-177 and arrange a clearance inspection at a Designated Port at least 72 hours prior to your anticipated travel. At the clearance appointment, have your CITES/ WBCA permit(s) validated by a Wildlife Inspector before you leave the United States. Ask for copies of cleared and validated documentation, and keep them in a permanent file. Copies of documentation will be required if you wish apply for a permit to travel with your pet in the future.)
7. Take a copy of your validated permit with you. The CITES Export permit may include a WBCA re-imort authorization. This copy must be presented when you re-enter the United States with your pet.

Entering the U.S. with your Pet Bird after Living Abroad
If your pet bird was acquired outside the United States and you have resided outside the United States constantly for 1 year, you may import a maximum of two pet birds per person, per year. To ensure that you will be allowed to bring your pet bird into the United States, remember to take the following steps prior to firming up your travel plans:
1. Obtain documented evidence that you have resided outside the United States continuously for a minimum of 1 year.
2. Obtain documented evidence that each bird was acquired legally.
3. Select a Designated Port for wildlife import/ export (or if not using a Designated Port, submit application form 3-200-2 to apply for a Designated Port Exception); you will report this on permit application forms and this may influence your travel plans.
4. Apply for CITES permits or other authorizations from the foreign country.
5. Apply for a permit from the Service’s Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits. Instructions are on the application form. Applications must be received at least 60 days in advance of anticipated travel. 6. Discuss import/ export requirements with USDA- APHIS.
7. Complete a Declaration Form 3-177 and arrange a clearance inspection at a Designated Port at least 72 hours prior to your anticipated travel. At the clearance appointment, have your CITES/ WBCA permit(s) validated by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Inspector. Ask for copies of cleared and validated documentation, and keep them in a permanent file. Copies of documentation will be required if you wish apply for a permit to travel with your pet in the future.

Approved (WBCA Import Authorization Exempt) Captive-Bred Species
The WBCA restricts the number of pet birds individuals may import into the United States annually. However, if your bird is one of the approved captive-bred species you do not need a WBCA permit to import your pet (CITES and ESA permit requirements still apply)..

Bringing Five or Less Pet Birds into the US - USDA APHIS Veterinary Services (VS)
The USDA APHIS Veterinary Services (VS) defines a shipment of pet birds as five (5) or less birds brought into the United States (U.S.) that are not intended for resale. The process for bringing your pet bird into the U.S. involves multiple agencies including USDA APHIS Veterinary Services (VS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It is critical that you meet ALL requirements for each of these agencies. The requirements VS has for bringing your pet bird into the U.S. vary depending on the foreign country you are traveling from and whether your bird is considered U.S. origin (pet birds that previously lived in the U.S.) or not. After February 19, 2018, pet birds weighing more than 100 grams* (roughly the size of a clinched fist), must be identified by one of three approved means (microchip, leg band or tattoo) in order to qualify for home quarantine, in lieu of Federal quarantine, upon returning to the United States from HPAI-FREE countries. The identification must be documented on the accompanying U.S. origin health certificate. Pet birds weighing more than 100 grams* that left the United States after February 19, 2018 that do not have this identification, will not qualify as returning U.S. origin birds from HPAI-FREE countries, and must go to a Federal Animal Import Center quarantine facility for a minimum of 30 days, at the owner’s expense. *Most finches, parakeets, lovebirds, and budgies are under 100 grams, and most African greys, caiques, lories, eclectus, and other parrots are more than 100 grams.

Pet Birds Entering the United States from Canada
For pet birds entering the United States (U.S.) from Canada, the requirements generally include: appropriate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) certifications and permits; a Veterinary Services (VS) import permit (only required for travel by air or sea); and an examination at the first U.S. port of entry. There are fees associated with all VS services.

Pet Birds Entering the United States from Mexico
For pet birds entering the United States (U.S.) from Mexico, the requirements generally include: appropriate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) certifications and permits; a Veterinary Services (VS) import permit; an original health certificate issued or endorsed by the government of Mexico; and upon entry in the U.S., disease testing and a 30 day quarantine. There are fees associated with all VS services.

U.S. Origin Pet Birds Returning to the United States from any country other than Canada or Mexico
For pet birds returning to the United States (U.S.) from any country other than Canada or Mexico, the requirements generally include: appropriate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) certifications and permits; a Veterinary Services (VS) import permit; an original health certificate issued or endorsed by the government of the foreign country your bird is traveling from; an examination at the first U.S. port of entry (typically an airport); disease testing; and a 30 day quarantine. There are fees associated with all VS services.

Non-U.S. Origin Pet Birds Entering the United States from any country other than Canada or Mexico
For pet birds which have never lived in the United States (U.S.) and that are traveling to the U.S. from any country other than Canada, the requirements generally include: appropriate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) certifications and permits; a Veterinary Services (VS) import permit; an original health certificate issued or endorsed by the government of the foreign country your bird is traveling from; an examination at the first U.S. port of entry (must be at one of the designated airports); disease testing; and a 30 day quarantine. There are fees associated with all VS services.

Canada Travel Information
Pet Birds Entering the United States From Canada
For pet birds entering the United States (U.S.) from Canada, the requirements generally include: appropriate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) certifications and permits; a Veterinary Services (VS) import permit (only required for travel by air or sea); and an examination at the first U.S. port of entry. All pet birds imported from Canada through any of the designated U.S.-Canadian land border ports are subject to veterinary inspection at the port of entry. You must contact the port at least 3 to 5 days prior to entry in order to assure the availability of a port veterinarian. Pet birds arriving from Canada through an air/ocean port are required to have a USDA Import Permit (VS Form 17-129), although a veterinary health certificate is not required. These birds must also be inspected by a USDA veterinarian at the air or ocean port of entry. The importer is required to contact the port veterinarian at the phone number listed on the import permit at least 72 hours in advance of arrival to arrange for a veterinary inspection. Pet birds imported from Canada must be inspected by a USDA veterinarian at the land, air or ocean port of entry. 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.

Pet Birds Entering the United States at U.S.-Canadian Land Border Ports
Pet birds imported from Canada through any of the designated U.S.-Canadian land border ports are subject to veterinary inspection at the port of entry. The importer must contact the port at least 3 to 5 days prior to entry in order to assure the availability of a port veterinarian. Canadian birds who are reentering the U.S. from Mexico will have to undergo a 30 day quarantine into order to be driven back through the U.S. Therefore, it is recommended that they be flown back. If the fight lands at an U.S. airport, then they will need a Transit Permit. The application form VS Form 17-129 should be submitted 14 days prior to the flight to the Riverdale MD fax #301-734-4704.

Pet Birds from Canada into U.S. Air or Ocean Ports of Entry
Pet birds imported into the United States from Canada by air or by boat are required to have a USDA import permit (VS Form 17-129), and a veterinary inspection at the port of entry. No health certificate is required. These birds must also be inspected by a USDA veterinarian at the air or ocean port of entry. Importers are required to contact the port veterinarian at the phone number listed on the import permit at least 72 hours in advance of arrival to arrange for a veterinary inspection.

Traveling with Pet Birds To Canada From the U.S. - Canadian Food Inspection Agency
These requirements apply to: birds entering Canada permanently; birds in transit through Canada on their way to a final destination; and birds entering Canada for a temporary visit. It is possible to import personally-owned pet birds to Canada under the following conditions: the birds must accompany the owner or be in the possession of an immediate family member at the time of entry into Canada; the birds must be found to be healthy when inspected at the port of entry; the owner must sign a declaration stating that the birds have been in his/her possession for the 90 day period preceding the date of importation and have not been in contact with any other birds during that time; the owner must sign a declaration stating that the birds are the owner's personal pets and are not being imported for the purpose of re-sale; and the owner or any member of the family must not have imported birds into Canada under the pet bird provision during the preceding 90 day period. It is the responsibility of the importer to determine whether the species for importation is subject to the controls imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which are administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service. Information on the Application for Permit to Import (CFIA/ACIA 5083)

Traveling with Pet Birds to Canada From Countries Other Than the U.S.
Canada allows the importation of pet birds travelling with their owners, provided that import requirements are met. Import requirements vary, depending on the country of origin. These import conditions are designed to protect Canada from risks associated with bird diseases, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza. To import pet birds, an import permit issued by a local CFIA office is required, and must accompany the birds to Canada. The importation of pet birds is prohibited from certain countries. Pet birds returning to Canada from Mexico travelling with their owners may not transit through the United States by land.

Mexico Travel Information
Pet Birds Entering the United States from Mexico
For pet birds entering the United States (U.S.) from Mexico, the requirements generally include: appropriate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) certifications and permits; a Veterinary Services (VS) import permit; an original health certificate issued or endorsed by the government of Mexico; and upon entry in the U.S., disease testing and a 30 day quarantine. All pet birds from Mexico, regardless of whether they have ever been in the U.S., must go to federal quarantine for at least 30 days upon entry in the U.S. These pet birds may also only enter the U.S. at certain designated ports. You must make arrangements for your pet bird to fly into the U.S. at one of the airports associated with a USDA Animal Import Center.

Applications and Additional Information
Permit applications (Form 3-200) and any other information you may need are available from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Division of Management Authority, Branch of Permits. Contact the Branch of Permits with questions at 1-800-358-2104/ Fax 703.358.2281 or managementauthority@fws.gov.