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Travel With Exotic Pets & Animals - Import and Export Regulations, CITES Permits

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 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty to prevent species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade. Under this treaty, countries work together to regulate the international trade of animal and plant species and ensure that this trade is not detrimental to the survival of wild populations. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.

For more information on CITES click here

Many exotic pets are protected by CITES. This includes most parrots, cockatoos, lories, and macaws; iguanas; box turtles; and all boas and pythons. However, the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), and the peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) are not listed by CITES.

Import, export and re-export of any live animal listed in the CITES Appendices requires a permit or certificate. Before you leave or travel to the United States, you must have a CITES permit if your pet is listed by CITES. The Division of Management Authority's Branch of Permits issues permits for the import, export, and re-export of species listed under CITES.

To find out whether a species is listed in the Appendices, you can search the CITES-listed species database, using either the scientific name or the common name of the species. Alternatively, you can also check with the national agency (known as the "Management Authority") of your country whether the species you are interested in needs a permit. They may be able to identify the species for you if you are not sure what it is.

How to Apply for a CITES permit or Certificate
1. Complete a standard application form (3-200) and submit it with a processing fee to the Division of Management Authority. Allow at least 60 days for review. Download

2. Contact your State wildlife or plant conservation agency and the CITES Management Authority of the foreign importing or exporting country to determine any additional requirements. (Visit the CITES Secretariat’s website at

3. Some CITES-listed species are also protected by other U.S. laws with more stringent permit requirements, i.e., Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and Wild Bird Conservation Act.

For more information on CITES Permits and Certificates click here

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits primarily for the import and export of species that are protected by CITES. It also issues permits under other domestic and international laws and treaties.

For information on How to Obtain a Permit click here

For more information on animals import, export, international travel, international mail, purchase from or sale to a foreign country, or other movement across international borders click here

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
International Affairs
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 212
Arlington, VA 22203 703/358-2104 or 800/358-2104