Importation of Wildlife
Florida law requires that any nonnative species imported into Florida must be authorized by FWC prior to entering the state. The term ‘import’ refers to any nonnative, non-domestic animal that will be physically entering Florida for any purpose. This requirement applies to nonnative animals coming into Florida for circumstances including but not limited to:
- Commercial use (exhibition or sale)
- Personal use (personal pet or hobbyist)
- Animal(s) which will be in Florida only temporarily (bringing a pet on vacation, animals brought into the state for resale out of state, etc.)
- Animal(s) which will reside in state (moving to Florida with a pet, in-state resident purchasing wildlife from out of state, etc.)
Reminder: The Captive Wildlife Office regulates nonnative mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. ‘Wildlife’ as referenced on this page only refers to nonnative mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. All other classes of animals (fish, insects, arachnids, invertebrates, etc.) are not regulated by the Captive Wildlife Office and importation of such animals is not authorized under any Captive Wildlife importation permit. The Captive Wildlife Office also does not regulate species designated as Conditional or Prohibited. A Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit is needed to import any Conditional or Prohibited species.
Any nonnative, non-domestic wildlife that will be entering Florida for any purpose by any means must be authorized by the FWC Captive Wildlife Office on an importation permit before the wildlife may physically enter the state of Florida.
Importation Permit Options
There are two permit types available which authorize the importation of nonnative wildlife into Florida. Please read the descriptions below to determine which permit is appropriate for your situation.
This is a one-time permit which authorizes a single importation event. This permit is valid for 45 days from the issuance date and authorizes the specified number and species of wildlife (indicated by the applicant) that will be entering Florida in a single importation event. There is no limit on the amount of Wildlife Importation Permits an individual or entity may obtain from the Captive Wildlife Office. A Wildlife Importation Permit is required for the following circumstances:
- Importation of any Class I wildlife, Class II wildlife, venomous reptiles, capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, woolly monkeys, or any game animals imported for possession on a game farm or hunt preserve.
- Class III wildlife imported by any individual or entity who does not possess a Class III Import Permit (see description on opposite tab). Examples of this scenario include importation of any Class III wildlife possessed for personal use on a Personal Pet No-Cost Permit (PPNC) or any Class III wildlife that does not require a permit to possess for personal use.
If you do not qualify for a Class III Import Permit (described in opposite tab), then a Wildlife Importation Permit is the appropriate permit to obtain in order to import wildlife into Florida.
Wildlife Importation Permit
- Duration: 45 days
- Cost: Free
- Activities covered: one-time importation of nonnative species
- Private or commercial: Both
- Age requirement: 16 for Class III, 18 for Class I/Class II/capuchin, spider, & woolly monkeys/venomous reptiles
Submit application to CWApps@myFWC.com at least 2 weeks prior to importation event.
IMPORTANT: This permit type (including the 72 hour online reporting option) is ONLY available if you already have an ESC license. If you do not have an ESC license with a facility address in Florida, you must obtain the one-time use Importation Permit described in the opposite tab for any importation into Florida.
Individuals or entities who hold a License to Possess Class III Wildlife for Exhibition or Public Sale (ESC) with a permanent facility address in Florida, may apply for a blanket Class III Import Permit. This permit allows the importation of Class III species in accordance with the licensee’s authorizations (excluding venomous reptiles, capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, woolly monkeys, and any cervid species) and is issued in conjunction with the ESC license. The blanket Class III Import Permit is valid for the duration of the ESC licensing period. The issuance of a blanket Class III Import Permit relieves the licensee from the single use Wildlife Importation Permit requirement for Class III species as described in opposite tab.
An ESC license holder who does not import wildlife frequently and does not wish to obtain a Class III Import Permit is not required to obtain one; however, they must still obtain a Wildlife Importation Permit as specified in opposite tab for any individual import event.
Reporting for Class III Import Permit: All wildlife imported under the authority of a blanket Class III Import Permit must be reported to the Captive Wildlife Office within 72 hours of each import event. This reporting can be done online using the Captive Wildlife Import Reporting Form online (preferred) or via email to CWApps@myFWC.com. A video tutorial for the Captive Wildlife Import Reporting Form is included at the bottom of this page. Class III Import Permit holders who need access to the online reporting form can email CWApps@myFWC.com for a copy of the link.
Class III Import Permit
- Duration: 1 year
- Cost: Free
- Activities covered: importation of Class III species throughout the year
- Private or commercial: Commercial
- Age requirement: 16
There is no formal application document for the blanket Class III Import Permit. Submit initial request for a permit to the Captive Wildlife Office per mail or email. Submit renewal request in writing with ESC license renewal packet.
Notice regarding transporters: Most wildlife requires a license or permit for possession in the state of Florida (see exceptions here). Any individual or entity transporting wildlife in Florida must have a license or permit for possession of the wildlife they are transporting. Individuals or businesses who transport wildlife in Florida for commercial purposes must obtain and maintain the appropriate Class I, II, III, or venomous reptile license for possession of wildlife for commercial purposes (ESA, ESB, ESC, or VRC). Individuals transporting wildlife in Florida for personal use (including those individuals who reside out of state who will be entering the state of Florida temporarily to transport a personal pet out of Florida) must obtain the appropriate Class II license or Class III permit for possession of wildlife for personal use (PPL or PPNC).
Cervids: In order to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, it is unlawful to import any live animal of the family Cervidae (deer, moose, etc.) into the state of Florida for any purpose. The only two exceptions are transfer of cervids (except white-tailed deer) between AZA accredited zoos and import of reindeer (Rangifer tarandas) for temporary possession (no longer than 90 days). The reindeer may not originate from a facility in any county or any county adjoining a county where CWD has been documented and may not be housed at a facility in Florida where other animals in the family Cervidae are also being housed.
OCVI/Health Certificate: An Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (OCVI, also known as a ‘Health Certificate’) is not required by the FWC Captive Wildlife Office for wildlife importation; however, in most cases, an OCVI is required by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) before wildlife can be imported into the State of Florida. For additional information regarding OCVI requirements, please visit the FDACS webpage regarding their animal movement requirements.