Industry News

USDA APHIS Health Certificates Interim Guidance due to COVID

This post was originally published on USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service bulletin on 07/06/2020 12:33 PM EDT

USDA APHIS Extends Updated Interim Guidance for Veterinary Health Certificates through September 30, 2020

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) continues to recognize the unprecedented challenge that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses to trade. To alleviate impact on animal origin commodities imports, APHIS provides the following interim guidance to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists assigned to review required import information for animal products and by-products regulated by USDA APHIS. This guidance replaces previous editions that were communicated with CBP.

CBP’s agriculture specialists may accept all import documents ‒ including veterinary certificates ‒ uploaded to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)-Document Image System (DIS) regardless of disease status of the exporting country.


USDA APHIS continues to require original hard copy veterinary health certificates under the following conditions:

Shipments of high risk products:

  • Bovine serum: fetal bovine serum, newborn calf serum, calf serum, donor bovine serum, adult bovine serum from all countries, and
  • Fresh and/or frozen meat and poultry from all countries in situations when the original hard copy veterinary health certificate has not been provided to USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS); if the original certificate has been provided to FSIS, CBP agriculture specialists may accept a copy of the certificate uploaded to ACE-DIS.

No Health Certificate, no Entry

Shipments arriving in the United States without a veterinary health certificate, either original or copy uploaded into ACE-DIS, will be refused entry or held until the required documents are received. If there is reason to believe a certificate uploaded into ACE-DIS is fraudulent, CBP retains the shipment on hold until the original hard copy veterinary health certificate is reviewed.

This guidance is effective for shipments arriving through September 30, 2020.

APHIS will continue to evaluate the situation and provide updated guidance as appropriate.

Email for Pricing or Guidance

For information about importing products related to COVID-19 testing, please visit this website. For any questions regarding import of animal products and by-products, please contact Animal Product Imports at 301-851-3300, option 4 or send an email to APIE@usda.gov.

Click here to subscribe to the VS Animal Health Stakeholder Registry.


About Scarbrough

The Scarbrough Group of Companies, headquartered in Kansas City with local presence in every major port in the world, is a complete international and domestic supply chain service provider, offering U.S., Mexican, and Canadian Customs brokerage, Import & Export Transportation Solutions, Domestic brokerage and asset-based trucking, Warehouse fulfillment and distribution services, Trade Compliance Consulting, Large Equipment and Project Cargo moves, as well as Parcel Audit Savings.  Scarbrough is widely known for its trade experts, training, personalized customer service, and customized solutions.  Since 1984, Scarbrough has continued to satisfy its clients by following its motto on a daily basis: “It is our job to make your job easier.”  Moreover, our team of experts is available at your disposal.  We offer free consultations on any topic from supply chain optimization and duty savings opportunities to the basics, helping to guide new importers and exporters as they jump into the world of global trade.  Contact us

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