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Import Documentation

Imports into the United States may require an import or an export permit or other documentation such as a CITES certificate, USDA and/or CDC permits depending on the type of goods you wish to import.  Foreign countries may also have their own import/export requirements for certain commodities arriving from the U.S.  Below is an example, a non-inclusive list, of categories of items that may be subject to additional requirements such as quanrantine, permitting, inspection, etc., prior to import/export: 

CHEMICALS, BIOLOGICALS, NUCLEAR materials that may require additional documentation:

- Chemicals
- Genetic elements and genetically modified organisms
- Organisms and vectors
- Plant or animal products and pathogens
- Vaccines, immunotoxins, medical products, diagnostics, etc.
- Organism and Soil

How do I know if I will need an import or an export permit?

Review the information found here to determine if your shipment is subject to additional requirements. Please also contact the Caltech Environment, Health and Safety Office: or x6727.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC (, 404-718-2077)


USDA (, 301-851-3300)

United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

APHIS Permits

Duty-Free Waiver

Please contact us to determine if your scientific instrument or apparatus is eligible for a U.S. duty-free waiver, or to determine if it can be imported under a Temporary Importation in Bond (TIB) duty-free.