FAQs about CDC Regulations for the Importation of Nonhuman Primates (NHPs) into the United States
(42 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 71.53) – Importation of nonhuman primates into the United States.
Federal quarantine regulations (42 CFR Part 71.53) restrict the importation of NHPs into the United States. CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine carries out these regulations.
The term “nonhuman primate” means all nonhuman members of the order Primates, including but not limited to animals commonly known as monkeys, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, gibbons, apes, baboons, marmosets, tamarins, lemurs, and lorises.
These regulations are in place to protect U.S. residents from infectious diseases that can spread from NHPs to humans.
NHPs may carry infectious diseases that are dangerous and sometimes fatal to humans. These infections include those caused by Shigella, Salmonella, Ebola virus, herpes B virus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (bacteria that cause tuberculosis, or TB), yellow fever virus, and many others. People working in temporary or long-term NHP holding facilities or involved in transporting NHPs (e.g., cargo handlers and inspectors) are especially at risk for infection.
CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) is responsible for carrying out regulations for the importation of NHPs. Since 1975, the importation of NHPs has been allowed only for scientific, educational, or exhibition purposes. DGMQ regulates the importation of NHPs with help from federal partners.
- Scientific refers to the use of NHPs for research following a defined protocol and other standards for research projects as normally conducted at the university level.
- Educational refers to the use of NHPs in the teaching of a defined educational program at the university level or equivalent.
- Exhibition refers to the use of NHPs as part of a public display open to the public during routinely scheduled hours in a facility that meets or exceeds Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation standards.
These regulations apply to any person importing a live NHP into the United States, including currently registered importers and any person or organization applying to become a registered importer, as well as any person or organization importing NHP products, such as trophies or biological samples.
All NHPs imported into the United States must be held in a CDC-approved quarantine facility for at least 31 days after arrival. During the quarantine period, the NHPs must be tested for tuberculosis and monitored for signs of illness that could represent a zoonotic disease (a disease that can spread from animals to humans). NHPs that die of any cause other than injury during the quarantine period must have additional testing performed. Quarantine requirements for imported NHPs are designed to prevent zoonotic diseases from spreading to the public.
No one will be allowed to bring a monkey or other NHP into the United States to be kept as a pet, even if the person already had the pet before leaving the United States. To avoid having a pet monkey or other NHP taken away upon returning to the United States, travelers should make other arrangements to care for their pets rather than taking them along when traveling outside of the United States. Prospective travelers should also be aware that many U.S. states or local jurisdictions prohibit keeping a monkey or other NHP as a pet. Prospective travelers should be aware of the legal requirements for keeping a pet monkey or other NHP in their home state or local jurisdiction before making care arrangements when traveling outside the United States. Other countries may have similar restrictions on importation of NHPs.
Monkeys and other NHPs may not be imported as pets under any circumstances.
NHPs may only be imported by CDC-registered importers for science, education, and exhibition. These restrictions also apply to the re-importation of NHPs that originated in and are returning to the United States.
No. A person shall not accept, maintain, sell, resell, or otherwise distribute imported NHPs (including their offspring) for use as pets, as a hobby, or for an occasional display to the public.
Requirements for becoming a CDC-registered importer, including the types of documents applicants must submit to CDC, are listed in the Regulations for the Importation of Nonhuman Primatesexternal icon.
For more information on how to become a registered importer of nonhuman primates, email NHPImporters@cdc.gov.
An NHP product means skulls, skins, bodies, blood, tissues, or other biological samples from an NHP, including trophies, mounts, rugs, or other display items. A CDC permit is not required to import NHP products if the product has been rendered noninfectious by an approved method. For information about importing NHP hunting trophies and other NHP products, visit Bringing Animal Products into the United States.
A CDC permit is required for importing NHP products that have not been treated to render them noninfectious. Untreated NHP products may only be received by a facility equipped to handle potentially infectious NHP materials.
Apply for a permit online by visiting the CDC Import Permit Program website.
The imported NHP product must comply with all other applicable federal requirements, including those relating to packaging, shipping, and transport of potentially infectious biohazards, as well as those for select agents. To learn more, visit:
Any person who violates these regulations may be punished by a fine of up to $100,000 if the violation did not result in the death of a person. The fine may be up to $250,000 per violation if the death of a person has resulted. Individuals may also be imprisoned for up to 1 year. Organizations may be fined up to $200,000 per violation not resulting in death and $500,000 per violation resulting in death. These penalties are criminal in nature and would thus be imposed by a court, not administratively by HHS or CDC.
For more information regarding regulations governing the importation of NHPs, visit: