Quarantine Permit Service Office
The Quarantine Permit Service Office (QPSO) is responsible for providing information and guidance to intramural NIH components on requirements for the import, transfer, and export of biological materials. The office coordinates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to process import permit applications on behalf of NIH applicants, and issues export declarations for biological materials leaving the United States.
Individuals wishing to import any biological material (infectious or non-infectious) to the NIH must submit an "Application for Permit to Import Biological Agents or Vectors of Human Disease into the United States" (CDC 0.753) to QPSO. If the biological material will require BSL-3 or BSL-4 containment, the applicant must also submit written concurrence from the IC Scientific Director. Upon review, QPSO will determine whether the intended importation requires the issuance of a CDC import permit and label or a NIH Letter for Non-Infectious Importation. QPSO will provide the required documentation to the applicant.
Domestic shipments may require the issuance of a transfer permit. For example, select agents and toxins may only be transferred after authorization from the CDC Division of Select Agents and Toxins. The CDC or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may also require transfer permits for the domestic transport of other etiologic agents or vectors (e.g. SARS coronavirus). Please contact QPSO for guidance before transporting etiologic agents or vectors that may be subject to permitting restrictions.
Individuals wishing to export any biological material (infectious or non-infectious) from the NIH to a destination outside of the United States must submit a "Declaration for Exportation of Biological Materials" (NIH 2388) to QPSO. Following successful review of the Export Administration Regulations and a restricted party screening, QPSO will provide declaration approval to the applicant. The declaration is valid for the date of shipment.
In some cases, more than one permit may be required for the import, transfer, or export of a biological material(s). Although QPSO does not issue Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) permits, the office will provide assistance in obtaining these permits.
Please submit completed applications or inquiries to email@example.com. Applications may also be sent to the QPSO via fax at (301) 480-0671. Please allow at least ten business days to process import applications and five business days to process export declarations. Turn-around time is workload dependent and contingent upon receiving complete information. In general, QPSO officers endeavor to return import requests within five business days and export requests within 2 business days. Copies of all import permits and labels, exemption letters, or declarations must accompany the shipping manifest.
Note: All persons must comply with applicable Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), and International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations pertaining to the transport of hazardous materials. Only individuals who maintain a current certificate that authorizes them to prepare infectious substances and dry ice for shipment may offer such materials for transport. The Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) offers a one-day training course on shipping biological materials. Additional information and registration can be found on the DOHS Training Website.