State law requires anyone wishing to purchase, possess, import, sell, exhibit or breed a pet or animal in Vermont to first determine if a permit is required. This page can help you.
The collection, movement, and sale of animals around the globe and throughout the United States have resulted in serious impacts to wildlife populations through the introduction of diseases or exotic species that compete with native animals. For some species, collection for the animal trade is so great that it threatens the wild populations. And many wild animals are dangerous and can threaten human health and safety.
To protect Vermont’s wildlife and people the department monitors the movement of fish and wildlife through the following permit programs:
Importation and Possession Permit / Temporary Exhibition Permit
An Importation and Possession Permit is required before importing or possessing certain pets or animals in Vermont.
Review the following lists to determine if a permit is required.
- Domestic Species List
Species on this list do not require an Importation & Possession Permit from the Fish & Wildlife Department. It is recommended that you also check with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture (802-828-2421).
- Unrestricted Wild Animals List
Species on this list do not require an Importation & Possession Permit from the Fish & Wildlife Department.
- Restricted Wild Animals List
A permit from the Fish & Wildlife Department is required to possess, import or exhibit species on this list.
Any species not found on the Domestic Species List or Unrestricted Wild Animals List requires a permit from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. A permit may or may not be granted depending upon specific circumstances or conditions.
How do I get an Importation and Possession Permit?
To obtain a permit, complete the Importation and Possession Permit Application Form (Word format / pdf format) and submit it with the $100 application fee and a veterinarian’s certificate certifying that the animal is free of contagious, communicable diseases to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department PRIOR to importing and possessing the pet or wild animal. Allow at least 30 days for permit issuance.
Commercial Dealer Permit
Persons or businesses in Vermont that sell or trade wild animals (including amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles) must first obtain a Dealer's Permit.
To obtain a permit complete the Dealer’s Permit Application (Word format / pdf format) and submit to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department with a copy of your Pet Merchant License issued by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. There is no charge for the permit. Allow at least 30 days for permit issuance.
Persons in Vermont wishing to propagate (breed) wild animals including fish for consumption, stocking, sale or distribution must first obtain a Propagation Permit.
To obtain a permit complete the Propagation Permit Application (Word format / pdf format) and submit to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department with the $50 application fee and a map or site plan of propagation facility. Allow at least 30 days for permit issuance.
Commercial Collection Permit
Persons wishing to collect wildlife in Vermont for commercial sale must first obtain a Commercial Collection Permit.
To obtain a permit complete the Commercial Collection Permit Application (Word format / pdf format) and submit to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department with the $100 application fee. Allow at least 30 days for permit issuance.
Commercial Bait Dealers Permit
Those seeking to collect bait fish must obtain a Commercial Bait Dealers Permit.
Scientific Collection Permit
Scientific collection permits are issued under the authority of 10 VSA §4152 and are issued only to properly accredited persons or educational institutions for the purposes of public scientific research or the educational purposes of an institution.
Scientific collection permits are required to take birds, including nests and eggs, fish, amphibians, reptiles, freshwater mussels, tiger beetles, other rare invertebrate species, and mammals. Scientific collection permits are not valid for big game or federal and state endangered and threatened species.
A Fish Importation Permit is required before importing or possessing certain fish in Vermont. Visit the Fish Importation Permit webpage to learn more.
Why restrict animal importation?
The collection, movement, and sale of animals around the world and throughout the U. S. have resulted in serious impacts to wildlife populations. Restricting animal importation protects wildlife and people by:
- Preventing the introductions of disease or exotic species that compete with native species.
- Protecting wild populations from animal trade.
- Preventing the threat from dangerous animal to human health and safety.
What are the criteria for restricting importation?
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.
This regulation provides clear guidelines on the importation and possession requirements for all pet stores, dealers in wildlife, hobbyists, and prospective pet owners. The rule identifies which species can be imported and possessed without a permit and which species an individual or business must first obtain an importation and possession permit.