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U.S. government shutdown: what does it mean for importing/exporting

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1. You will not be able to obtain new permits or permit renewals from APHIS.

2. You will not be able to obtain new permits or permit renewals from the USFWS (if your import requires a USFWS permit) but see: 




As to continuation of activities under expired MBTA, BGEPA, and ESA permits (but NOT CITES). 


The Ornithological Council is attempting to ascertain the status of required clearance and inspection services at the ports. 


It appears that some Department of Homeland Security inspection will continue. The Agricultural Quality Inspectors are employees of the Department of Homeland Security, NOT APHIS. The DHS contingency plan states that "Administrative, research, or other support functions related to an exempt activity should 

also continue, but only to the extent that they are essential to maintain the effectiveness of 

those activities and/or functions that are engaged in the protection of life or property, and 

at a minimum level." It gives as an example:


"Continuing passenger processing and cargo inspection functions at ports of entry" 


The USFWS website is still operational but says nothing about the impact of the shutdown. The Department of the Interior website appears to be offline. The DOI contingency plan states that "Port inspectors would continue on duty as they are funded from non-lapsing funds."


The e-decs website is down so you will need to use a paper 3-177. A copy, with instructions,  is attached to this post. 


Therefore, it appears that imports will be unaffected. However, note that if there is a problem at the port, there will be no one to call. In the past, APHIS staffers at the ports and in the Riverdale, MD headquarters have been extremely helpful in addressing problems at the ports when the Ornithological Council has contacted them.


As agency people will not be around to help, it is now super-important that you comply with the myriad inspection procedures and have all paperwork (not just permits!) available and completed properly.



If yours is an export that requires clearance and inspection (i.e., anything that requires a USFWS permit), you should be OK. Remember - you have to export such shipments through a designated wildlife port. 


No APHIS permit is required for exports, but if the destination country requires a USDA certificate (most do), you won't be able to get one, so you won't be able to ship at this point. 


You won't be able to get a new USFWS permit or renew an expiring permit, but for MBTA, BGEPA, or ESA permits, see this information about continuing activities under an expired permit under certain conditions:





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