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Chapter 5 - Export to the U.S.
5.1 General (Updated June 2019)

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General requirements

1. The following U.S. import requirements are prescribed in Part 93 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations:

  1. the animal was born in Canada or the U.S. and has not been in any other country; or
  2. the animal has been legally imported into Canada from some other country and unconditionally released into Canada as to be eligible to move freely within Canada without restriction of any kind and has been in Canada after such release for 60 days or longer. An exception to these provisions: if a permit was obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to import into the U.S. animals that have been in Canada less than 60 days. If this situation arises, the district veterinarian should be contacted for more information.

2. The USDA requires export health certificates to be completed in English.

3. An export certificate is considered fully complete and valid only after it has been endorsed and stamped with the official export stamp by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) veterinary inspector. This is usually the district veterinarian or veterinary inspector responsible for the geographic district in which the herd of origin is located, or another veterinary inspector if prior arrangements have been made.

4. The period of time that an export certificate remains valid is not only based on the date that the completed certificate is endorsed by a CFIA veterinarian, but may also be based on the actual date that the inspection, testing, or treatment commenced.


5. Animals: Cattle, sheep, goats, other ruminants, swine, horses, asses, mules, zebras, dogs, cats, and poultry.

6. Cattle: Members of the species Bos taurus (domestic cattle), Bos indicus (Zebu-type cattle), and Bison bison (American buffalo).

7. Test date: The date on which the samples were drawn, not the date on which the test was performed in the laboratory or on which the results were reported. The exceptions to this definition are the test dates for the performance of intradermal tests for tuberculosis. In this case, the test date is the date on which the test is read and not the date of injection.

8. Exhibition: Any publicly recognized exposition, race, horse show, rodeo, circus or stage exhibition in Canada or the U.S.

9. Communicable Disease: Any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease of domestic livestock, poultry, or other animals.

10. Birds: All members of the class Aves, including hatching eggs, other than "poultry."

11. Zoological Park: For export purposes, a professionally operated zoo, park, garden, or other place maintained under the constant surveillance of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, for the exhibition of live animals, pigeons or birds, for the purpose of public recreation or education.

12. Herd: Any group of animals maintained on common ground for any purpose, or two or more groups of animals of the same species under common ownership or supervision, which are geographically separated but among which there is an interchange or movement of animals without regard to health status.

13. Accredited Veterinarian: Non-federal veterinarian who is licensed to practice veterinary medicine and is formally authorized by means of an Accredited Veterinarian Agreement (CFIA/ACIA 1625) with the CFIA to perform inspections, tests, and activities for specified purposes.

14. Poultry: For the purposes of export to the U.S., chickens, ducks, geese, swans, turkeys, doves, pheasants, grouse, pigeons, partridges, quails, guinea fowl, and peafowl of all ages, including "poultry" hatching eggs.

Import permits

15. No import permits are required from the USDA if the animals are presented for import at one of the U.S. land border ports listed at the end of this section and if they meet the specific requirements described in the following sections.

16. An import permit is required from the USDA for the following:

  1. any livestock (including semen or embryos), poultry, birds, or semen that are destined to enter the U.S. by air, sea or an inland port of entry other than those listed below. Please note that there are no designated land border ports on the Canadian/United States border to Alaska, thus an import permit is required prior to entry into Alaska in order to facilitate process of inspections;
  2. all fresh/frozen embryos that enter the U.S. without having been transferred to an eligible recipient;
  3. uncastrated sheep and goats for feeding;
  4. all animals, poultry, or semen from animal donors if the animals, poultry, or animal donors have been imported into Canada from a country other than the U.S., and have been resident in Canada less than 60 days, excluding any Canadian quarantine period; and
  5. An import permit may be required for Canadian animals transiting the U.S. for export to a third country.

17. Applications for import permits VS-17-129 can be obtained from the following address:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Veterinary Service, National Center for Import and Export
4700 River Road, Unit 39
Riverdale, Maryland 20737
Telephone: 301-851-3300 option 2

Permit application

18. For certain species, it may be necessary to obtain one or more Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permits. Applications for CITES import/export permits can be obtained from the following addresses:

U.S. import permit:

Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 432
Arlington, Virginia 22203
Telephone: 703-358-2104
Facsimile: 1-800-358-2104

Canadian export permit:

CITES Administrator
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-997-1840 or 1-800-668-6767
Facsimile: 819-953-6283

Federal requirements vs. State requirements and requirements of other organizations

19. Although it is recognized that each state has the prerogative to establish import movement controls that may be more stringent than the national (USDA) health requirements, the state authorities cannot prevent the entry into the U.S. from Canada of animals that meet established federal conditions. However, once animals have gained entry to the state, individual state authorities have the legal mandate to deal with such animal as they see fit.

20. Exporters should be advised that individual state requirements may exceed or differ from the USDA requirements. It is the exporter's responsibility to ensure that any additional requirements are met through arrangements made with the importer either on the arrival of the animals or in advance of their departure.

The USDA has provided the following information source for interstate requirements: US State and Territory Animal Import Regulations. For clarification on any rules and regulations, contact the State veterinarian.

21. Tests that are performed to meet specific state requirements but are not required for entry into the U.S. must be submitted to a provincial or private laboratory. The results do not constitute part of the official certification and are not to appear on the export health certificate; however, the test results may be attached to the export document.

22. It is the exporter's responsibility to check whether any conditions are imposed by other organizations (e.g., requirements concerning endangered species) and to meet any such conditions.

Land Ports of Entry

23. The following land ports of entry are designated as having the necessary inspection facilities for the entry of animals from Canada:
State Port name Telephone Work days Hours
Idaho Eastport 208-267-2396 Monday to Friday 8:00-16:30
Maine Houlton 207-532-6099 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9:00-14:00
Maine Jackman 207-622-8248 By Appointment n/a
Michigan Detroit 313-226-4428 Monday to Friday 8:00-16:30
Michigan Port Huron 810-985-5433 Monday to Friday 8:00-16:30
Michigan Sault Ste-Marie 906-647-6512 By Appointment n/a
Montana Opeim 406-487-5955 By Appointment n/a
Montana Raymond 406-487-5955 By Appointment n/a
Montana Sweetgrass 406-335-2142 Monday to Friday 8:00-16:30
New York Alexandria Bay 315-482-2601 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8:00-16:30
New York Champlain 518-298-2191 Tuesday 9:00-15:30
New York Niagara Falls 716-297-0240 Monday to Friday 8:00-16:30
North Dakota Dunseith 701-263-3364 Monday, Thursday and Friday 8:00-16:30
North Dakota Pembina 701-825-6262 Monday to Friday 8:00-16:00
North Dakota Portal 701-926-4281 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
By Appointment
Vermont Derby Line 802-766-4523 Wednesday 10:00-14:00
Vermont Highgate Springs 802-868-2556 Monday, Thursday and Friday 8:00-16:30
Washington Oroville 509-476-2635 Monday to Friday 8:00-16:30
Washington Sumas 360-988-5715 Monday to Friday 8:00-16:30

Because of limited inspection services at some ports of entry, exporters should be advised to schedule the arrival of their animals with the USDA/APHIS veterinarian.

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