Traveling with food, plants and animals

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) plays an important role in keeping the United States free from destructive animal and plant pests and diseases that currently affect other countries.  It also protects other countries by ensuring U.S. shipments are free of restricted animal and plant pests.  This includes travel by persons and travel with pets.

 

Travel with a Pet from the United States or Return to the United States

 

Meat and Animal Products and Live Animals

In general, meat and animal products are not allowed to enter into the United States and most of the Caribbean countries without a permit regardless if for personal use. To have more specific information contact the USDA/APHIS.  More information is available at Animal Import and Export Information.

 

Fruit, Vegetables and Plants

In general, fruits, vegetables and plants are not allowed to enter into the United States and most of the Caribbean countries without a permit, regardless if for personal use. If you need to travel to bring these products to the U.S., you must request from APHIS an Import Permit.  More information is available at USDA/APHIS  Plant Health Import and Export sites.

 

Other biological material for scientific purposes

Authorization is required to import into the United States most organisms, cells and cultures, monoclonal antibodies, and vaccines and related substances, both of animal and of vegetal origin. This category includes organisms and products used in the biotechnology industry.  More information is available at Plant Health Import Information and Biotechnology.


Soil, Sand, Minerals and Shells

Organisms found on the ground can represent a threat to plants and animals. The inspectors may need to disinfect clothing and shoes, if necessary. No soil samples may enter the United States without previous authorization by the authorizing unit of the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ).   More information is available at Plant Health Import Information.

 

CONTACT APHIS

If you have any questions, or require further information related to Import or Export of live animals, birds or germ-plasm.

 

Other U.S. Federal Agencies

In addition to USDA other Federal Agencies hold important roles in keeping the United States free from destructive animal and plant pests and diseases that currently affect other countries.

 

The Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS ) regulates the import and export of wild and endangered animals and plants and their products.  More information is available in the FWS free publications Facts About Federal Wildlife Laws and Buyer Beware Guide.

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Office of Management Authority
4401 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC has regulatory authority over several types of imported animals and animal products known to pose a risk to human health.  This site on Importation provides information on importing animals (including pets) and animal products into the United States.  The Frequently Asked Questions about Animal Importation section addresses questions on: “exotic pets,” “restricted animals” and “animal products,” such as trophies, skins, or hides.   

 

Traveling from the U.S. with plants or animals to Third Countries

 

APHIS plays a vital role in ensuring the free flow of agricultural trade by keeping U.S. agricultural industries free from pests and diseases and certifying that the millions of U.S. agricultural and food products shipped to markets abroad meet the importing countries' entry requirements. APHIS makes sure that all imported agricultural products shipped to the United States from abroad meet the Agency's entry requirements to exclude pests and diseases of agriculture.  More information is available at APHIS National Import Export Services.