Import And Export Laws Apply To Pet Bird Owners

Increasing fees apply to pet parrot transport across U.S. borders.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, a rise in inspection fees applied in 2009 will affect traveling parrot owners. Pet parrot owners must comply with import and export laws regarding their bird when crossing the U.S. border.

“Pet owners are considered importers or exporters, albeit for noncommercial purposes, if they travel to and from the United States with their pet bird,” a USFWS representative said. “The importation or exportation of even one pet bird must be in compliance with all applicable regulations.”   

On January 8, 2009, USFWS began charging inspection fees for various commodities that require its clearance. USFWS attributes the fees, in part, to the “extremely time consuming” process of verifying foreign documents presented for clearance of shipments containing protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), such as all parrot species.

“In addition to the increased time required for document inspection, the inspection of parrots requires more thorough knowledge of Federal law or international treaty,” the representative said. Inspection fees typically apply upon exportation because no USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service authorized (designated) ports exist along the Canadian or Mexican border.

“At a typical nondesignated port, the inspection fee for the exportation of a parrot would be $251, calculated using a base inspection fee of $139 plus premium fees of $56 for a ‘live’ commodity and $56 for a ‘protected’ species,’” the representative said. Upon importation, there would typically be no inspection fee because these ports act as “designated” ports, eliminating the base inspection fee.

USFWS strongly urges parrot owners to confirm applicable inspection fees by contacting the port where they will export or import their parrot. Visit the USFWS website for additional fee information:

The department says inspection fees are a major source of funding for the compliance monitoring part of its wildlife inspection program. It last increased fees in 1996, and those fee collections “fell well short of covering the costs of providing inspection services to wildlife importers and exporters,” according to the representative.

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