Importing Eggs – In a Nut Shell (er Egg Shell that is)

We get asked regularly what is entailed in importing hatching egg or birds – basically handled the same way.   This information is straight from the USDA website and there is no way around this procedure.  This is the only legal way to do it.

If you are purchasing eggs or chicks from someone who says they imported them, whether it was yesterday or 3 years ago, it is advised to always ask to see the import papers to make sure they were legally imported.

These laws are not made to annoy us (the consumers, sellers , buyers).  They are not made to make it difficult for us to import.  They are made for the protection of people of the USA as well as the protection of our birds that are already here.

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IMPORTANT UPDATED INFORMATION

There is one thing that I want to add to the information on this page.  The importing procedures are outlined below, yet there are people still importing illegally but going through the process below.  What I mean by that is buying eggs from a broker.  The process of purchasing eggs from a party who may only have a few birds, say 10-20 adults.  This person draws the permit and health certificate for those adult birds, but collects eggs to ship from various other breeders with hundreds of birds who do not test or ship to the USA themselves.

This practice is not only illegal but dangerous as it puts our birds here in the USA at risk for poultry diseases transmitted through the egg.  Diseases that the parent stock should have been tested for but in this case were not.

If you are importing eggs it is important to do the research and make sure the person shipping the eggs actually owns the birds they are collecting from.  Any other ways is not importing eggs legally.

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INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM USDA/APHIS WEBSITE

Procedures for Importing Poultry Hatching Eggs into the United States

ADVISORY: Until further notice, live avian commodities (including eggs for hatching) from the following countries or regions have been prohibited entry to the United States due to the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire), Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, People’s Republic of China, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Taipei Chinese/Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines poultry as chickens, doves, ducks, geese, grouse, guinea fowl, partridges, pea fowl, pheasants, pigeons, quail, swans, and turkeys (including hatching eggs of these species).

General Requirements

  • All hatching eggs of poultry imported into the United States must be accompanied by a USDA import permit VS Form 17-129(except through a land border port from Canada).
  • Current veterinary health certificate issued by a full-time salaried veterinarian of the agency responsible for animal health of the national government in the exporting country of origin.
  • Importers should submit the application and the processing fee for a permit by check, money order, charge card or by providing a USDA user fee account. If changes need to be made for a permit after it has been issued, there is an additional fee. Current fees can be found here.
  • Fees apply if arrival is during regular working hours (approximately 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday), and prior notification has been given. Overtime charges apply if the bird arrives before or after these hours. In addition, USDA port veterinarians are not stationed full-time at each port of entry, prior notification is critical to the import process.

Flock of origin veterinary health certification statements

The original veterinary health certificate must be in English or have the English translation, and must accompany the hatching eggs while in transit. It must state that:

  • The flock(s) of origin were found upon inspection to be free from evidence of communicable diseases of poultry;
  • No exotic Newcastle disease has occurred on the premises of origin or on adjoining premises during the 90 days immediately preceding the date of movement of the eggs from such region; and
  • As far as it has been possible to determine, such flock(s) were not exposed to such disease during the preceding 90 days.
  • At least 5 percent (%) or a minimum of 150 birds from the flock of origin were negative for egg drop syndrome (EDS 76).
  • The flock of origin is negative for Salmonella enteritidis (SE) by environmental culture, and there is no evidence or knowledge of SE present in the flock.
  • The flock(s) of origin for the hatching eggs were not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. The shipment will not transit through any regions where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist, as listed here.
  • The flocks of origin have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease (avian paramyxovirus) at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus.

Note: If the flock(s) of origin have not been vaccinated against Newcastle disease, the health certificate should indicate this status.

  • The hatching eggs were cleaned and sanitized as soon as possible after collection using an approved-for use-sanitizing agent, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Hatching eggs have been packed in clean/unused packing material.
  • The flock or the flock(s) of origin is negative within the previous 90 days for Avian Metapneumovirus (also known as Turkey Rhinotracheitis, (TRT), or Swollen Head Syndrome). At least 30 poultry per house were tested using any of the following methods: rRT-PCR, ELISA, or serology. The health certificate must state if poultry have or have not been vaccinated against this disease. Note: Testing for Avian Metapneumovirus does not apply to waterfowl species.
  • Flock(s) of origin for the hatching eggs were not vaccinated against any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza.
  • The shipment will not transit through any regions where APHIS considers highly pathogenic avian influenza to exist, as listed here on this web page.
  • The flock(s) of origin have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease (avian paramyxovirus) at least 21 days prior to export, using vaccines that do not contain any velogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus. OR:
  • The flock(s) of origin have not been vaccinated against Newcastle disease.

Requirements for importing poultry hatching eggs differ for eggs being imported from countries designated and free of exotic Newcastle disease (END) than those not designated as free of END.

Poultry hatching eggs imported from countries designated as free of END

Hatching eggs imported from these countries are not required to be quarantined. However, the hatching eggs must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued by a national government veterinarian of the exporting country as well as by a USDA import permit.

Hatching eggs originating in the EU-25 Poultry Trade Region (PTR) must have either of the following bulleted statements on all hatching eggs health certificate:

  • The consignment did not originate from or travel through, any zone within the EU-25 PTR that were restricted for outbreaks of Newcastle disease or HPAI in commercial poultry for the following period of time, whichever is later: 1). Until the restrictions were lifted by the national competent authority; or 2). 90 days after depopulation of all affected premises, followed by cleaning and disinfection of the last affected premises, in that zone. [note: only 1) applies if the restrictions had been placed for Newcastle disease or HPAI in racing pigeons, backyard flocks or wild birds.]
  • The consignment did not originate from, but did travel under official seal through, zones that were restricted for outbreaks of Newcastle disease or HPAI in commercial poultry for the following period of time, whichever is later: 1). until the restrictions were lifted by the national competent authority; or 2). 90 days after depopulation of all affected premises, followed by cleaning and disinfection of the last affected premises, in that zone. [Note: only 1) applies if the restrictions had been placed for Newcastle disease or HPAI in racing pigeons, backyard flocks or wild birds.][Note: under this option, the seal numbers must be noted in the health certificate signed by the certifying veterinarian, with an official veterinarian verifying the seals for such shipments were intact at the time of embarkation.]Countries comprising the EU 25-PTR can be found here

Poultry hatching eggs imported from countries not designated as free of END

In addition to the required veterinary health certificate and USDA import permit, importation of hatching eggs from countries not designated by the USDA to be free of END are restricted as follows:

  • Eggs must be transported from the port of entry to the hatchery in a vehicle sealed by the USDA.
  • Eggs must be hatched and brooded under the supervision of the Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC) in the State of destination. The hatchery must meet certain biosecurity standards and be inspected and approved by the AVIC prior to issuance of the import permit.
  • The poultry from such eggs must remain in quarantine for not less than 30 days following hatch.
  • During quarantine, the hatching eggs and poultry from such eggs are subject to any inspections, disinfections, and diagnostic testing as may be required by the USDA to determine their freedom from communicable diseases of poultry.

Poultry hatching eggs imported from Canada

Poultry hatching eggs imported from Canada must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued by a Canadian government veterinarian. However, no quarantine is required for hatching eggs of Canadian origin. Those hatching eggs imported through a U.S.-Canadian land border port do not require a USDA import permit, whereas eggs entering the United States from Canada via air do require a USDA import permit.

Note:  Hatching eggs are not allowed import from the primary control zone established for avian influenza in British Columbia, Canada until further notice. The control zone is defined as the area within British Columbia bounded by the following:

  • On the west, the Pacific Ocean
  • On the south, the United States Border
  • On the north, Highway 16
  • On the east, the border between the province of British Columbia and the province of Alberta

The import permit application (VS Form 17-129) can be downloaded from the Internet at:

 http://www.aphis.usda.gov/library/forms/index.shtml#vs or by contacting us at:

USDA, APHIS, VS
National Center for Import and Export
4700 River Road, Unit 39
Riverdale, MD 20737
(301) 851-3300 Telephone
(301) 734-4704 Fax

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION PROCESS

INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING VETERINARY SERVICES (VS) FORM 17-129 (APPLICATION FOR IMPORT OR IN TRANSIT PERMIT)  
• Please complete the entire application. The application must be legibly printed or typed. Do not abbreviate.   • Submit one application for each permit required (a separate permit is required for each importation of live animals, semen, embryos or hatching eggs).  • There is a $150.00 user fee charge for each application submitted. Payment is required before an application can be processed. Payment can be made by check or money order made out to USDA, APHIS; credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover Card); or through a user fee account established with the Agency.
In Box 1:    Please list the shipper’s contact information in the exporting country. If no shipper is involved, list the exporter’s contact information.
In Box 2:      The importer can be a person, agent or company, but there should be a US point of contact listed here. Please include name, address and telephone number.
In Box 3:      Please list the port in the exporting country from which the shipment will originate, and all other ports that will be involved before arrival in the U.S.
In Box 4:      Please list the country from which the shipment will originate, and all other countries that will            be involved before arrival in the U.S.
In Box 5:      Please list the type(s) of transportation that will be used for moving the shipment to the U.S port of entry.  (For transits through the U.S. to another country, list all types of transportation through the U.S.as well).  Please provide flight numbers (if known) for flights arriving at U.S. airports.
In Box 6:
• (Under the first column, list the number of animals. If a shipment is semen or embryos, indicate the number of doses, ampules, or straws. For hatching eggs, please include number of eggs.  • Under the Breed column, list the Breed of animal(s), where applicable  • Under the Species column, list the species of animal(s).  Use Latin names for fish  or wild/zoo ruminant species • Under the Description column, put a physical description of the animal(s), according to species (use additional sheets of paper if necessary).
In Box 6E:    Purpose of Importation — indicate if shipment is an importation or transit.    Note:  For animals transiting the United States by air to a third country, stops at U.S. airports may generally be made for crew change and refueling only.
Unloading of animals during transits may be permitted under certain conditions approved in advance by APHIS. (Please contact the National Center for Import and Export [NCIE] at 301-851-3300 for information regarding any transits where animals may need to be unloaded.)
Transiting animals, semen, embryos, or hatching eggs are subject to supervision by VS port personnel.  VS port personnel must be given at least 72 hours prior notice of exact time and date of arrival. For animals that are imported and intended for entry into the United States, please contact NCIE at 301-734-8364 regarding any required quarantines for imported animals (including hatching eggs).
In Box 7:    Please list all ports or other points in the route that is  involved in the transport of animals, semen, embryos or hatching eggs to or through the U.S.
In Box 8    Permits for semen, embryos and most species of live animals are valid for 14 days  & Box 9:      from the proposed shipping date (30 days for fish, birds, poultry and hatching eggs). Please be as accurate in listing proposed shipping and entry dates as possible.
In Box 10:    List the first port of arrival in the United States.  .
In Box 11     Leave blank for transits through the U.S. to another country.  For animals entering the U.S.,  & Box 12:    please provide contact information for the receiving party.  Use Box 11 for  shipments of animals that are not required to undergo a USDA quarantine, and Box 12 for shipmenets of animals that are required to undergo a USDA quarantine
In Box 13:    Please include an email address (if available) , also applicants list their payment method (bank card information or; a user fee account with the agency.); and any additional information you wish to send.
Submitting VS Form 17-129   After completing VS Form 17-129 please fax to 301-734-4704. Hard copies may alternatively be mailed or sent by courier to:  USDA APHIS VS National Center for Import and Export 4700 River Rd., Unit 39 Riverdale, MD 20737
Receiving Permits
After receipt, permit applications will be reviewed by staff at the National Center for Import and Export.  If all requirements for importation are met, a VS form 17-135 Permit to Import Animals, Semen or Embryos will be issued within 7 to 10 business days.  The VS form 17-135  is also issued as an in-transit permit for shipments transiting the U.S. to a third country.
Permits can be emailed electronically by NCIE to applicants listing an email address in Box 13.  For further assistance please call NCIE at (301) 851-3300.
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