Steps for Importing Salmonids into the United States of America

To protect U.S. citizens, and our nation’s natural resources, it is important to allow only healthy fish, wildlife, and plants be imported into the United States.

The Lacey Act of 1900 is the United Sates law that regulates the trafficking in illegal wildlife. One part of the law covers the importation of wildlife deemed a threat to the wildlife of the United States.

Per 50 C.F.R. § 16.3, “Any importation or transportation of live wildlife or eggs thereof, or dead fish or eggs or salmonids of the fish family Salmonidae into the United States or its territories or possessions is deemed to be injurious or potentially injurious to the health and welfare of human beings, to the interest of forestry, agriculture, and horticulture, and to the welfare and survival of the wildlife or wildlife resources of the United States…”


Follow the steps below to import salmonids into the country.  If you are importing eviscerated fish (fish from which all internal organs, excluding gills, have been removed), please go to Step Two.

Step 1 -  Acquire a Fish Health Certificate from the Country of Origin

  • Complete a U.S. Title 50 Certification Form (FWS Form 3-2274). 
  • Except for eviscerated fish, salmonid imports require a U.S. Title 50 Certification Form be completed by a Service-certified aquatic animal health inspector in the country of origin.
  • This form certifies that the fish lots from which the shipments originated have been sampled and virus assays were completed consistent with requirements and that viruses causing Oncorhynchus masou virus, the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virusinfectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, and infectious pancreatic necrosis virus have not been detected.
  • A fish lot certification is valid for six months after the date of issue.
  • Please review the form to ensure you have included the required information.  For example, you must identify the Service port of entry that will be used to import your product.
  • If the country of origin does not have an existing aquatic animal health inspector, please have the appropriate foreign professional complete and submit the Title 50 Official Form (FWS Form 3-2273)After they have been approved by the Service, they may inspect your shipment and verify it is safe to import into the United States. Designation of a certifying official is valid for five years from date of issuance.
  • If you require additional information for obtaining a U.S. Title 50 Certification Form, please email the Service or call 703-358-2019.

Step 2 - Complete Addition U.S. Import Requirements

Please allow ample time to complete these steps.

  •  Determine if the imported species requires a permit. If the species is protected under domestic or international law, additional permits may be needed.  Some permits could take up to 90 days to process.
  •  Determine if you need a Designated Port Exception Permit (DPEP) (FWS Form 3-200-2). This permit could take up to 60 days to process.
  • You can choose a designated or non-designated Service port of entry to import your product. If the Service port of entry is a non-designated port, then you will need to file a DPEP and additional fees will be incurred.
  • Determine if you need a U.S. Import/Export License (FWS Form 3-200-3). This license could take up to 60 days to process.
  • Submit the completed Title 50 Importation Request Form (FWS Form 3-2275)and the U.S. Title 50 Certification Form(FWS Form 3-2274)to the Service at least 30 days prior to the import date.

    You may Email the forms or mail them to:

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    Branch of Hatchery Operations and Applied Science


    5275 Leesburg Pike

    Falls Church, Virginia 22041
  • The Service will review the U.S. Title 50 Importation Request and Certification Forms.

    If approved, you will receive a "Letter of Authorization" either by email (preferred) or mailed to your physical address.

    This "Letter of Authorization" is valid for 30 days after the issue date.

    If not approved, the Service will advise you on the necessary corrections and how to reapply.

Step 3 - Import Your Product

  • Notify Service staff at the Service port of entry (by phone or email) 48 hours prior to shipment’s arrival.

    Per 50 C.F.R. 14.54, “All wildlife arriving at a designated port must be cleared by a Service officer prior to Customs clearance and release. When importers or their agents expect live or perishable shipments of wildlife or wildlife products or request inspection at the time of arrival, they must notify the Service at least 48 hours prior to the estimated time of arrival…”
  • Submit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Declaration for Importation/Exportation for Fish or Wildlife Form (FWS Form 3-177)

    This import/export declaration may be:

    Filed through eDecs

    Presented in person at the Service port of entry, or;

    Mailed to the Service port of entry.
  • Provide to OLE Officials at Port of Entry the “Import/Export Declaration Package” before the shipment arrives.

    Paperwork should include:
  1.  A Service “Letter of Authorization” that was issued by the Service’s National Coordinator for Aquatic Animal Health, Aquaculture and Technology;
  2.  Original CITES and ESA permits (if required);
  3.  Copies of invoices and packing lists;
  4.  Copy of U.S. Title 50 Certification Form (FWS Form 3-2274);
  5.  Copy of the Air Waybill or Bill of Lading;
  6.  Copy of the Import/Export License;
  7.  Copy of the Designated Port Exemption Permit (if required); and
  8.  Copies of other relevant documentation that pertains to the shipment.
  • Service staff at the port of entry will process the declaration package and the importer will be notified whether the shipment is allowed entry into the United States.  Failure to provide these documents may cause importation delays.

Required Forms

Health certificate to be completed by the aquatic animal health inspector in the country of origin:

Forms to be completed by the importer:

Other Important Information:


Individual/General Public