About US Fish & Wildlife Regulations
US Fish & Wildlife Update - October, 2011. This information will update the information below.
The following applies to traders residing in the United States:
To commercially* import or export wildlife specimens across the U.S.A. national border you must get a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife agency. This license will cost you $100.00 annually. To apply for this permit you must obtain the 'Federal Fish and Wildlife License/Permit Application Form' (OMB No. 1018-0022). But that's not all...
Once you have the license you must declare the contents of each package that comes in or goes out using the 'Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife' form (USFWS Form 3-177). Each package declaration will cost you $55.00 to cover inspection costs. Depending on circumstances, for incoming packages, your local USFWS may want to inspect the package BEFORE you open it. So, don't open it until you check with them. They may want you to bring it unopened into their office for inspection. Ask your supplier to mail you a commercial invoice ahead of the package so that you can complete your declaration form ahead of time and mail it to the USFWS before the package arrives. Leave the 'Date of Import' field blank, since you will not know the exact date the package will arrive. A similar process is required when you are shipping a package out of the United States.
But before you place an order with a suppliers outside the USA, contact your local USFWS office (see link at bottom of this page for directory of offices by state) and ask them what paperwork may be required from THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. This is very important because there are some countries that you cannot import from legally, such as India. It depends on the agreements between the two countries.
Remember, you have to pay a flat fee of $55.00 per shipment, no matter how large or small your shipment is. Therefore the larger your order the more you will save per specimen on these inspection fees, whether you are importing or exporting.
You can download Form 3-177 from the USFWS web site:
However, the annual Import/Export license is not available to download - you have to get one mailed to you. When you request it, ask for the whole kit. They will send you a large packet of information, including official regulations, lists of protected species in the U.S.A., a C.I.T.E.S. list, and more. While you're at it, ask them for a 'Credit Card Authorization Form' so you can pay your fees more easily.
Bottom line: If you are serious about importing or exporting insect specimens commercially and legally you must get in touch with your local USFWS office and get yourself set up with them. If you get set up with the proper protocol you will be ahead of the game, since a lot of traders are ignoring these laws and will eventually get caught.
To import/export live insect specimens across the U.S.A. national border, all of the above applies plus you must comply with USDA regulations as well. Contact the USDA for that information.
The Skeptical Moth - Collecting Permits Blog
Maintained by Chris Grinter:
US Fish and Wildlife & Wildlife Service Endangered Species Bulletin, Spring, 2009
Click here to download PDF file
Links to Fish and Wildlife Management Offices
State, Territorial, and Tribal:
Learn About Forestry Degrees:
Forestry Careers & Degrees: A Guide for Students:
Insects Listed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973:
Article: The Lacey Act: America's Premier Weapon in the Fight Against Unlawful Wildlife Trafficking
For more discussion on these issues, see the Legal and Enviromental Issues section in the InsectNet.com Forum.
* Notes from Connie Hurt, September, 2005:
The Federal Register Page 47217 Part 14 - on Import, Export and Transportation of Wildlife, clearly defines the word 'commercial' and 'export' and even 'accompanying baggage'. Simply said this regulation means people who leave the USA and collect overseas to collect for personal or exchange purpose, and people who trade or exchange via international mail with someone overseas, are required to be licensed, to pay fees each time this occurs, have inspections of specimens, and file import/export declarations. The regulations are the same for companies like Butterflies
And Things, Insect World and similar high profile businesses.
FYI, doing a google search for ss14.4 definitions one would find the entire ruling and law. In part as follows:
SS 14.4 Definitions
In addition to definitions contained in Part 10 of this subchapter, the following terms shall be construed to mean and include:
(a) Commercial means the offering for sale or resale, purchase, trade,
barter, or the actual or intended transfer in the pursuit of gain or profit,
of any item of wildlife and includes the use of any wildlife article as an
exhibit for the purpose of soliciting sales, without regard to quantity or
weight. There is a presumption that eight or more similar unused items
(except for antiques, collectibles, or curios) are for commercial use. This
presumption may be rebutted by the importer/exporter/owner or by the Service
based upon the particular facts and circumstances of each case.
(b) Export means to depart from, to send from, to ship from, or to carry out
of, or attempt to depart from, to send from the (sic) ship from, or to carry
out of any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether
or not such departure, sending or carrying or shipping constitutes and
exportation within the meaning of the Customs laws of the United States.
(c) Accompanying personal baggage includes all hand-carried items and all
checked baggage of a person entering into or departing from the United
States. When a passenger leaving the jurisdiction of the United States
enters the designated international area of embarkation of an airport, all
accompanying personal hand-carried items and checked baggage will be
regarded as exports.
Current USFW import/export license fees are:
$100.00 to get a license.
$55.00 for each import of insects regardless of value, or count $55.00 for each export of NON CITES insects regardless of value, or count $55.00 + $75.00 for each export of insects containing 1 or more CITES SPECIES. (The $75.00 is for a reexport certificate and the process of applying and receiving it must be done prior to shipping and may take 3-6 weeks or longer).
The shipment regardless of quantity or value (even if monetarily the
value is zero) is subject to import declaration requirements. When senders
declare on shipment containers the contents are 'for scientific purpose, no
commercial value' this is incorrect in most cases.
Last updated: 06/20/2014