Traveling Abroad With Your Pet Bird

For The Birds

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Traveling Abroad with your Pet Bird


Please note: We have compiled this information as a general guideline to help people who are traveling abroad with their pet birds. As laws can change, be sure to check directly with the agencies listed so that your information is up-to-date. Prior to embarking on your trip, you will need to visit a USDA-approved veterinarian and will need to comply with regulations set by the United States Department of Agriculture, the country you are traveling to, and the airline you will be traveling on. If you plan to return to the United States with your bird, you will also need to comply with United States Fish and Wildlife Service regulations. Please allow ample time (at least 2 months) to complete this process.


  • Comply with all requirements set by the country to which you are traveling.

    • On the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s website, find the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Navigate to the page on international travel, and click on the country to which you are traveling. The current link for this page is <http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals/>.

    • You can also call the USDA Veterinarian-In-Charge to find out the requirements for the country you are traveling to. In California, the USDA Veterinary Services in Sacramento can be reached at (916) 854-3950.

    • Each country has different requirements, and these requirements change frequently. Make sure that you are working with the most up-to-date information available.


  • Make sure your bird is permanently identified.

    • Your bird will need a leg band and/or a microchip before leaving the country. Discuss this with your veterinarian when you bring your bird in for a health certificate.


  • Comply with USDA's laws governing animal export.

    • Information on export regulations can be found at the USDA's APHIS website. Make sure to check this website before traveling, as regulations can and do change. As of the date this handout is written, current regulations are available at <http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals/>.

    • Obtain an International Health Certificate from a USDA approved veterinarian.

    • Have the International Health Certificate validated by a USDA official.

      • Call the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) phone number on the health certificate to get up-to-date information on getting the health certificate validated.

    • Plan your trip so that you leave the United States through a USDA-approved port of embarkation.

    • The USDA also has laws regarding animal imports. You will need to comply with these if you plan to bring your pet back into the United States. Information is available at <http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/animals/return_pet_bird.shtml>.



  • Comply with the USFWS's laws regarding export and import.

    • Many exotic birds are protected by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). This includes most parrots, cockatoos, lories, and macaws.

    • If your pet is listed by CITES, you must have a CITES permit before you leave or travel to the United States. CITES permits are issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

      • The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), and the peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) are not listed by CITES and do not require a permit.

      • The database of animals protected under CITES can be found at <http://www.cites.org/eng/resources/species.html>.

      • Species protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and species listed as injurious under the Lacey Act are usually not eligible for permits.

    • The USFWS has forms online which you can fill out to apply for a CITES permit. at <http://www.fws.gov/international/permits/pets.html>. Form 3-200-46 is used for a one-time import or export, and form 3-200-64 is used if your pet will be leaving or entering the country multiple times.

    • If you have questions about the forms or about your specific situation, call the USFWS at 800-358-2104.

      • CITES permits can take 6 weeks or more to be issued. Make sure to apply well before your date of travel.

    • Indicate which port you will be leaving from or returning to the United States with your pet. You are required by regulation to clear any international movements of wildlife, even your pet, through a U.S. designated or approved border port where there is U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement wildlife inspection staff. Not all U.S. ports are available. Before completing your application, you may want to call the wildlife inspection office at the port to clarify the clearance procedures and find out any fees you may be required to pay

    • If you are submitting the one-time personal pet form (3-200-46) to export an Appendix-I species, you will also need to obtain a CITES import permit from the Management Authority of the country you are moving to or visiting. This permit will need to be issued before the Division of Management Authority can issue an export permit.

  • Call the Service Wildlife Inspector at the port at least 48 hours before you plan to leave from or return to the United States to arrange for an inspection of your pet. If you are authorized under permit to use a port other than a designated port, call the Service Wildlife Inspector at that port at least 72 hours in advance. This step is very important since the inspector will also validate or cancel your permit.
  • Complete a Declaration for Importation/Exportation of Wildlife (Form 3-177.) You also can obtain this form from the Wildlife Inspector when you call to arrange an inspection.
CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/BringingAnimalToUs.html
  • Contact the airline you will be traveling on.

    • Different airlines have differing requirements for international travel. Make sure you know what the requirements are, and that you follow them to the letter.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, or have additional information that would be helpful to fellow travelers, please let us know.





For The Birds © 2013