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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Etiologic Agent Import Permit Program

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE, Mailstop E79
Atlanta, GA  30333

Tel: 404-498-2260; FAX: 404-498-2275

Embargo of Certain Animals and Animal Products

Immediately download a copy of permit instructions and application

            Permit to Import or Transport Etiologic Agents, Hosts, or Vectors of Human Disease

                        Link to fillable form


            Permit to Import or Transport Live Bats

                       Link to fillable form

            Guidance for Individuals Wishing to Import Non-Human Primate Trophies Skins or Skulls  


You may also obtain a copy of the applications and instructions by calling the CDC fax information service at 1-888-232-3299. Request document number 101000 for "The Permit to Import or Transport Etiologic Agents, Hosts, or Vectors of Human Disease," and document 101005 for the the Permit to Import or Transport Live Bats.



Etiologic agents are those microorganisms and microbial toxins that cause disease in humans and include bacteria, bacterial toxins, viruses, fungi, rickettsiae, protozoans, and parasites. These disease-causing microorganisms may also be referred to as infectious agents. Arthropods and other organisms that transmit pathogens to animals (including humans) are called vectors.


Etiologic agents, vectors, and materials containing etiologic agents are recognized as hazardous materials. Materials containing etiologic agents are regularly transported from one location to another by common land and air carriers. Materials containing etiologic agents must be appropriately packaged to prevent breakage or leakage in order to avoid exposure of the package handlers, transporters, and the general public to the package contents. Materials containing etiologic agents must be packaged, labeled, and transported in accordance with all applicable regulations. Material containing etiologic agents being imported into the United States must be accompanied by a U.S. Public Health Service importation permit.



Importation permits are issued only to the importer, who must be located in the United States. The importation permit, with the proper packaging and labeling, will expedite clearance of the package of infectious materials through the United States Public Health Service Division of Quarantine and release by U.S. Customs.

The importer is legally responsible for assuring that the foreign personnel package, label, and ship the infectious materials according to Federal and International regulations. Shipping labels with the universal biohazard symbol, the address of the importer, the permit number, and the expiration date, are also issued to the importer with the permit. The importer must send the labels and one or more copies of the permit to the shipper. The permit and labels inform the U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Division of Quarantine Personnel of the package contents.



The importation of etiologic agents is governed by the following federal regulation:


USPHS 42 CFR - Part 71 Foreign Quarantine. Part 71.54 Etiologic agents, hosts, and vectors.
(a) A person may not import into the United States, nor distribute after importation, any etiologic agent or any arthropod or other animal host or vector of human disease, or any exotic living arthropod or other animal capable of being a host or vector of human disease unless accompanied by a permit issued by the Director.
(b) Any import coming within the provisions of this section will not be released from custody prior to receipt by the District Director of U.S. Customs Service of a permit issued by the Director (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).



Etiologic agents
It is impractical to list all etiologic agents on this website. In general, an import permit is needed for any infectious agent known or suspected to cause disease in humans.


Biological materials
Unsterilized specimens of human and animal tissues (such as blood, body discharges, fluids, excretions or similar material) containing an infectious or etiologic agent require a permit in order to be imported.


Hosts and Vectors

        Animals. Any animal known or suspected of being infected with an organism capable of causing disease in humans may require a permit issued by CDC. Importation of live turtles of less than 4 inches in shell length and live nonhuman primates is regulated by the CDC, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/index.htm). Telephone (404) 498-1600 for further information.

        Bats. All live bats require an import permit from the CDC and the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Services. The application for a CDC import permit for live exotic bats is on this website.

        Arthropods. Any living insect or other arthropod that is known or suspected of containing an etiologic agent (human pathogen) requires a CDC import permit.

        Snails. Snail species capable of transmitting a human pathogen require a permit from the Centers for Disease Control.



Infectious materials imported into this country must be packaged to withstand breakage and leakage of contents, and labeled, as specified in the following federal regulations:

        USPHS 42 CFR Part 72 - Interstate Shipment of Etiologic Agents

        DOT 49 CFR PART 173 - Transportation of Etiologic Agents

For international shipments, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations should be consulted.



        United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) permits are required for infectious agents of livestock and biological materials containing animal material. Tissue culture materials and suspensions of cell culture grown viruses or other etiologic agents containing growth stimulants of bovine or other livestock origins are controlled by the USDA due to the potential risk of introduction of exotic animal diseases into the U.S. Further information may be obtained by calling the USDA/APHIS at (301) 734-7834 (see http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs).

        United States Department of Interior (USDI) permits are required for certain live animals and all live bats. Call (202) 358-2095 for further information (see http://www.doi.gov).

        Individuals wishing to import select agents and toxins must be registered with CDC's Select Agent Program in accordance with 42 CFR Part 73 (Possession, Use, and Transfer of Select Agents and Toxins; Interim Final Rule) for the select agent(s) and toxin(s) listed on the import permit application. Also, In accordance with 42 CFR Part 73.14(a)(3), a CDC Form EA-101 must be completed and submitted to the CDC Select Agent Program and granted approval prior to the shipment of the select agents or toxins under the import permit. Additional information can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/od/sap.



  • The export of a wide variety of etiologic agents of human, plant, and animal diseases may require a license from the Department of Commerce. Information may be obtained by calling the Department of Commerce Bureau of Export Administration at 202-482-4811 or through the internet at: http://www.bxa.doc.gov/. Information on other United States Government Departments and Agencies with export control responsibilities can be found at http://www.bxa.doc.gov/About/reslinks.htm.
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    Etiologic Agent Import Permit Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road N.E., Mailstop E79 Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA

    Last Modified: 03/26/2004