Traveling with Research Samples

International travelers returning to the United States with research samples are required to declare the research samples to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) for entry processing.

MSU travelers must comply with federal import and shipping regulations as required by the research sample type.

Graphic of a scientist wearing a MSU shirt experimenting with test tubes in a lab.

Partner Government Agencies (PGA)

There are 47 Partner Government Agencies (PGA), which may have a controlling interest over the sample type—including the Food and Drug Agency (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), among others.

Common Research Samples

  • Artifacts
  • Biological (including human, animal, agricultural, microbiological)
  • Chemical
  • Environmental

Traveler Requirements

  • The traveler declaring research sample entry is liable for the information and documentation provided to CBP.
  • If your samples are subject to a PGA, knowing the import and permit requirements will avoid unnecessary entry delays, potential forfeiture of samples, and possible PGA enforcement actions. 

 Recommendations for the Traveler

  • Consider using MSU’s preferred air service couriers, FedEx and/or DHL, to return samples.
  • Preplan the self-declared entry