Biological Imports

Certain biological materials are regulated by federal and international departments for importation and interstate transfer. If your lab needs to acquire biologicals for research purposes, you may need to apply for importation/transfer permits, import declarations for port of entry, or supply descriptive shipping documentation to insure proper passing through U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

See the chart below to determine your next steps.


This is a chart describing the biological import process.

Permitting Department

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

  • Materials that are or may be infectious to humans
  • Vectors of human disease
    • bats
    • arthropods
    • snails
    • Human or non-human primate remains

Federal Select Agent Program (FSAP) 

  • Agents on the Federal Select Agent and Toxins List
  • Must also have approval from Responsible Official.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

  • Aquatic animals
  • Bats

​Food and Drug Administration

Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 

  • Endangered species and their materials

The following is not an exhaustive list of materials that may require documentation or permits. If you have any questions please contact

If you are sending biological materials to another country, export regulations may apply. 

Please note that all import permits and interstate transfer permits MUST be under the PI's name.