You may need an import permit to transfer certain research materials to your laboratory. Failure to obtain the appropriate import permit may result in confiscation of samples by U.S. Customs or the U.S. Public Health Service Division of Quarantine. Import permits should be issued to the Principal Investigator. EHS can help you determine the appropriate regulatory agency to contact and if a permit is needed. Plan ahead when considering the importation of the materials described below, as the permit process may take several weeks and up to 2 months.
An Etiologic Agent Import Permit, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is required if you plan to import agents infectious to humans or biological materials that are suspected to contain a human pathogen. Hosts and vectors such as bats, snails and arthropods may also require a permit.
Permit applications and FAQs are available on the CDC website.
Animal Pathogens and Biological Materials of Animal Origin
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requires permits for the importation of animal pathogens and biological materials that contain animal material. Materials such as cell culture-grown pathogens containing growth simulants of bovine or other livestock agents will require a permit due to the potential for the presence of organisms/viruses that may be dangerous to animals.
FAQs, permit applications and fact sheets on materials that do and do not require permits can be found at the USDA website.
If you plan to import soil from a country outside of the U.S., or from certain areas within the U.S., you must be authorized by APHIS through their permitting system. The soil permits will stipulate storage conditions and disposal requirements, which are designed to prevent the introduction of pathogens that may be present in the samples.
Information can be found on the USDA/APHIS website.
Wildlife and Animals
Consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website to determine if you need a permit to import or export certain wildlife, including species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).