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  Buy Your License
Importing and Possessing Pets and Animals in Vermont

See also the Commercial Importation, Possession, and Sale of Pets and Animals in Vermont Page

Any person within the state of Vermont interested in purchasing, importing, or possessing a pet or animal must determine whether that pet or animal species first requires an Importation and Possession Permit from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Effective January 23, 2008, regulation 10 V.S.A. App. § 18 establishes a list of Domestic Species and Unrestricted Wild Animals for which no state Importation and Possession Permit is required by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Species not listed as Domestic or Unrestricted Wild Animals will continue to require an importation and possession permit.

Effective January 10, 2010, regulation 10 V.S.A. App. § 121. establishes a list of unrestricted fish species for which no state Importation and Possession Permit is required; a list of restricted species for which an Importation and Possession Permit is required; and a list of prohibited species for which importation into or possession within Vermont shall be prohibited except through a commissioner's Prohibited Fish Species Permit. Regulation 10 V.S.A. App. § 139. Fish importation establishes rules for fish importation.

Individuals, educational institutions, or research facilities seeking to import or collect animals for the purposes of education or bona fide research must first obtain a Scientific Collection Permit. Individuals conducting any research or field activity that may result in the pursuit, capture, disturbance, handling, injury, death, or importation of any State threatened and endangered species are required to first obtain an Endangered Species Permit.

Why Restrict Animal Importation?

The collection, movement, and sale of animals around the globe and throughout the United States have resulted in serious impacts to wildlife populations through introducing diseases or exotic species that compete with native animals. The collection of some species for the purposes of the animal trade is so great that, in some cases, it threatens the wild populations. Lastly, many of the animals are dangerous and simply a threat to human health and safety.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has statutory authority to restrict the importation and possession of animals in order to guard against the above threats to the public and the state's wildlife. The Department views these efforts as vital to meeting its conservation mission.

Importation and Possession Permit: regulation 10 V.S.A. App. § 18 provides clear guidelines on the importation and possession requirements for all pet stores, dealers in wildlife, hobbyists, and prospective pet owners. These are intended to provide the public with current Department guidelines that identify which species are allowed to be imported and possessed without a permit and which species an individual or business must first obtain an importation and possession permit.

Many wildlife species, ranging from mammals to invertebrates are designated as Domestic or Unrestricted Wild Animals. Descriptions and lists of species under each category are provided below. Species' designations are generally based upon the following criteria as to whether the species is:
  • Capable of competing with native wildlife species
  • A risk of transmitting diseases to native wildlife species
  • A threat to human health and safety
  • Threatened in other regions by collecting for the pet trade


Domestic Species: These species are exempt from Regulation #881 and do not require an Importation and Possession Permit from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. It is recommended that persons also review Title 6 V.S.A. 1151 for Vermont Department of Agriculture laws.

Unrestricted Wild Animals: No Importation and Possession Permit is needed to import and possess these species into the state. These species have been designated as Unrestricted based on the fact that the species satisfy none of the criteria listed above. Those species listed as Exemptions in the Appendix of the Unrestricted Wild Animals List do require an Importation and Possession Permit from the Department.

Species not listed as Domestic or Unrestricted Wild Animals require an Importation and Possession Permit, which may or may not be granted depending upon specific circumstances or conditions.

Businesses and persons interested in submitting an Application for Importation and Possession Permit (Word format / pdf format) must complete the application form accompanied with the application fee of $100.00 to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department PRIOR to importing and possessing the pet or wild animal.

Related Documents

See also the Commercial Importation, Possession, and Sale of Pets and Animals in Vermont Page
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