Travelling with your parrots can be stressful, we suggest getting your bird used to being in the carrier well in advance of your trip.
Since we are asked this question very often, we have outlined below the steps you need to take in order to obtain your US permits.
STEP 1 - CONTACTING THE AIRLINE: Most airlines will allow you to travel with your parrot in the cargo hold. Westjet is the only airline that will allow you to store the carrier under the seat. You must have an airline approved soft sided carrier if storing under the seat in front of you. If your parrot uses the cargo hold, they may need to take them out for an inspection. Contact your airline first to discuss their requirements and the process before applying for your permits.
STEP 2 - VETERINARIAN APPOINTMENT & CITIES: Make an appointment with your avian vet well in advance of your trip. You will need to obtain a CITIES certificate (link below), show proof of ownership for 90 days or longer (ie: bill of sale), hatch certificate or letter from your veterinarian
CITIES Certificate Forms can be found HERE
STEP 3 - APPLYING FOR PERMITS: Travelling to the United States requires permits from 2 (possibly 3) departments, Fish & Wildlife, the US Department of Agriculture and the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA).
US Fish & Wildlife Forms can be found HERE
US Department of Agriculture Forms can be found HERE
Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) Forms may be required depending on the species of birds you are transporting. Information can be found HERE
STEP 4 - CONTACT PORT VETERINARIAN TO ARRANGE INSPECTION: Once you have received your permits, port veterinarian appointments must be made with each department 72 hours in advance of the day of travel. Government offices are closed on the weekends so appointments must be made during the week. The port veterinarian can provide you more information about the specific process at that border port and what you should expect on arrival (including fees and payment options).
STEP 5 - ON ARRIVAL: You will need to clear your pet bird with Customs Border Patrol (CBP) when you arrive in the U.S.
Whether you are entering the U.S. at a land border port or entering the U.S. at an air or sea port, you will need to declare and clear your pet bird with CBP. If you are driving to the U.S., arriving via boat, or flying and your bird is not manifested as cargo (i.e. you do not have an airway bill), you will need to declare your bird to CBP when you clear customs. Typically you will then be directed to a secondary CBP agriculture inspection, which is most likely where the VS port veterinarian (and FWS inspector if required) will examine your bird and all of the paperwork.
If your bird is flying as cargo, you will have to talk to the airline cargo company to find out where your bird will be transported for inspection, where to obtain your documentation, and what the procedures are for clearing your bird through customs. If you are on the same flight, you may have to travel to the cargo facility warehouse to meet the port veterinarian (and FWS inspector if required) after you clear customs and passport control. You may need to take your bird’s paperwork to another location to clear your bird through customs. If you have already arrived in the U.S. on an earlier flight, you will need to make arrangements for the time and place of inspection.
STEP 6 - PORT VETERINARIAN EXAM: For all Canadian origin pet birds, when you arrive in the U.S., the VS port veterinarian will examine your bird. The port veterinarian will examine your bird to make sure it appears healthy. If the bird does not appear healthy, the port veterinarian will discuss options with you at that time. You should be prepared to restrain your bird for the inspection. If your bird bites, you may want to bring a towel or glove for protection.
You will sign the “Agreement of Pet Bird Owner” after the initial inspection on arrival. You will be asked to affirm the following:
-The bird has been in your possession for at least 90 days, is apparently healthy, and has not been exposed to any other birds during those 90 days.
-The port veterinarian will provide you a copy of the Agreement of Pet Bird Owner
-Once your pet bird has been inspected by VS and has cleared customs, you will be free to continue your travel.
Again, obtaining the necessary permits is a very long process and it is not recommended that you take your bird with you for leisure travel to the US. But if you are moving to the United States you would need to follow this process as outlined above.
Written by The Parrot Shop
*Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided below is based on our research and steps are subject to change. This is merely a guide to assist with your travels*
Helpful resource : Travelling Abroad with your pet bird
Let us know your experience with travelling to the US from Canada in the comments below!