Import Regulations for Horses Amended

Trade Update • Sept 18, 2023

ffective Oct. 16, 2023, The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will finalize amendments to its import regulations for horses. These amendments will better align their regulations with international standards and allow more flexibility for permitted imports, while continuing to mitigate the risk of bringing equine diseases into the United States. The regulations also provide APHIS with more regulatory authority to enforce standards for transporting horses.


  • Increasing the amount of time allowed for horses to be in a contagious equine metritis (CEM)-affected region without testing upon their return to the United States from 60 to 90 days;
  • Requiring an import permit for horses transiting through CEM-affected regions and horses imported from regions affected with African Horse Sickness;
  • Updating ports designated for the importation of horses section;
  • Adding requirements for health certifications;
  • Requiring that horses transiting Central America or the West Indies comply with the same regulations that apply to horses directly imported from these regions, given the greater risk of equine diseases of concern from these areas;
  • Removing Los Angeles, California, and Miami, Florida from the list of air and ocean ports that APHIS has designated for the importation of horses;
  • Adding requirements for shipping containers, including disinfection requirements and measures to ensure horses are transported safely;
  • And miscellaneous clarifications and corrections.

Not Proceeding

APHIS has noted the following to which they will not be proceeding on:

  • will not be proceeding their proposal to remove, but instead maintain, the requirement that horses presented for permanent importation to the United States from Canada receive an inspection prior to entry.
  • will not be proceeding their amendments requiring additional details in documentation for imported Spanish pure breed horses from Spain and racing thoroughbred horses from France, Germany, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland.

More information can be found in the Federal Register here.

Questions/concerns on your imports of horses to the U.S.? We are always here to help, contact us.


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