University of Hawai‘i
Research Compliance

Authorizations to Transport Biomaterials

Contact Hubert B. Olipares, MSPH, SLS (ASCP) for assistance
(808) 956-3197

To import microorganisms into the state of Hawai‘i requires authorization from the Office of Research Compliance and also may require permits or letters of authorization from state regulators (e.g., the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture) and from federal regulators (e.g., CDC, USDA/APHIS, DOC). The procedures for obtaining each are described below:

University Authorization to Import Biological Materials
An authorization from the University of Hawaiʻi is required for any biological materials regulated by state and federal agencies. Please follow these steps to obtain University authorization:

State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) Authorization to Import Biological Materials

Materials Requiring a State HDOA Permit or Letter of Authorization
Most biological commodities imported into the State of Hawaiʻi require at minimum a state permit or a letter of authorization. The lists below will tell you whether a biological material requires a permit or letter of authorization.

Biological Commodities Requiring an HDOA Permit:

Biological Commodities Requiring an HDOA Letter of Authorization:

How to Obtain a State HDOA Permit or Letter of Authorization
To obtain a Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) permit to import biological commodities, complete an HDOA PQ-7 application form and submit it to, or call Biosafety Compliance at 808-956-3197 for additional information and instructions. The State of Hawaiʻi permit process is lengthy, all applicants should consider submitting their permit applications to the Research Compliance Office at least one year prior to the date needed.

Official Press Releases from Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture:

Inter-state Transport
When you are collecting samples on a neighbor island, contact the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) Plant Quarantine Branch(PQ) for that specific island (see below) in advance to give them notice of your permit and samples for interstate  (inter-island) transport. A permit for transport may need to be sought prior to shipment, 2-3 months in advance.  An appointment prior to shipment may be necessary. Provide the PQ office a copy of the advance permit and the conditions for their review. This aids the inspector on how to issue the interisland certificate sticker for regulated samples inspected prior to transporting to Honolulu.  If you are collecting samples on Lanai and Molokai, please contact the Manager of the Branch or the Maui PQ Supervisor for guidance. There  are no PQ offices on Lanai and Molokai.  At the end of the year, an annual report is due by January 31st of the following year.

Hawaii Island

16E Lanikaula Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720-4302
Phone: (808) 974-4141 FAX: (808) 974-4148

Keahole Airport, Kailua-Kona
Phone: (808) 326-1077, FAX: (808) 326-2126

Maui (Molokai and Lanai) Islands

635 Mua Street
Kahului, Hawaii 96732-2322
Phone: (808) 873-3962, FAX: (808) 873-3586

Kauai Islands

4398A Pua Loke Street
Lihue, Hawaii 96766-5671
Phone: (808) 241-7135,  FAX: (808) 241-7137

Do not ship samples directly to the Agriculture Diagnostic Service Center. All samples must be submitted through a CTAHR Extension Office. (Animal diagnostic specimens are exempt from permit, unless it is potentially infectious).

New plant diseases or insects must be notified directly to HDOA. An HDOA collection permit may be needed. Restricted shipment of diseased plant pests and insects are prohibited.

HDOH and DLNR may be required. A Scientific Collection permit must be specific to the location of collection and specify transport back to the laboratory.

Live animal transport will require IATA/DOT training that the University does not conduct. Contact your courier for specific information.

Chemicals and chemical preserved materials are not under the purview of UH Biosafety Program. Training is not conducted at the University. Contact your campus Environmental Health & Safety Office on hazardous material shipments.

Federal permits (CDC-Intrastate transport, USDA-APHIS, PPQ, VS, and BRS , NFWS/CITES and Custom and Border Protection) may apply. Check with the Federal Agencies directly.

All UH personnel who ship, transport, or move material into the University or export outside of the University/State must be trained and notify the Biosafety Program Office via a BSP2 form.

Federal Authorization to Import Biological Materials

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Etiologic Agent Import Permit Program
A CDC import permit is generally required for any infectious agent known or suspected to cause disease in humans. Visit the Centers for Disease Control Etiologic Agent Import Permit Program for more information.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/APHIS)
A USDA permit may be required for:

  • Imported veterinary biological products
  • Importation, interstate movement, or release of a genetically-engineered organism (e.g., animal, plant, microorganism)
  • Plant and plant products imported into the United States
  • Transit through and interstate movement within the United States of:
    • Plant pests (plant feeding insects, mite’s snails, slugs, and plant pathogens)
    • Biological control organisms of plant pets and weeds, parasitic plants, and federally-listed noxious weeds under regulatory authorities
  • Effective October 1, 2009 user fees associated with permit applications are as follows:
    • New permit application: $137
    • Renewal permit: $89
    • Amended permit: $68
    • FBS inspection: $469 (all fees are per application)
    • Import compliance fee: $514 per shipment

Please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture for more information.

Importation of Non-Regulated Biological Materials

Some biological materials are not regulated by state and federal agencies (Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, USDA, CDC) or require additional approval. Please read through the following exceptions carefully.

ATCC/BEI Request
American Type Tissue Culture Collection/BEI Resources requires all individuals to obtain an approval/exception letter from Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture prior to requesting any biological commodity from them. Please contact for the proper procedures.

Other Items that May Require Authorization

  • Biological toxins
  • Fetal Bovine Serum, Fetal Calf Serum
  • Micro-particles (bacteriophages, plasmids, and other DNA/RNA particles)
  • Native plant propagation
  • Plants and plant parts (cutting, grafts, scion, bud, seed, leaf, root, etc.)
  • Serum and like products from bovine, calf, sheep)
  • Soil samples
  • Quality control kits (i.e., biological indicators for autoclaves)
  • Reference strains

Email for additional information. 

Exporting Biological Commodities

All biological materials shipped out of the State of Hawaiʻi including inter-island transfers must comply with IATA, DOT shipping regulations. Individuals preparing the shipment must have current General Biosafety training and Transportation of Infectious and Biological Materials training.

Anyone who prepares a shipment containing a Category A, Infectious Substances and Select Agents and Toxins must receive approval from the Research Compliance office.

Complete the UH BSP2 application. Note: Any other versions of the BSP are no longer accepted. Include a copy of any required permits and licenses and submit to or fax to 808-956-2265. We are not responsible for documentation submitted to other email addresses or fax numbers. Only the Research Compliance Officer or the Research Compliance Assistant may sign and approve any transportation of biological commodities documents at the University of Hawaiʻi.

The export of some biological materials, chemicals, microorganisms, and toxins require an export license from the federal government. To determine what laws and regulations apply to U.S. exports, contact the UH Office of Export Controls for advice.

You may also use this Flow Chart to guide you through the process and requirements for exportation.