International Shipping

Shipping instructions for shipping animal teeth internationally, no matter the quantity.

International Shipping Requirements and Recommendations

Shipping Animal Teeth Internationally?
Follow These Instructions!

Shipping animal teeth or other tissue to Matson’s Lab for age analysis from outside of the United States requires international permitting and border inspection by the USFWS. Please carefully read the information on this page and follow the applicable instructions. Feel free to contact us with any questions prior to your shipment.

We recommend FedEx Air Express or UPS Worldwide for shipping animal teeth to Matson’s. They most efficiently deliver inspected and cleared parcels directly to our lab. Matson’s does charge our clients for the USFWS fee, which is either $125 (unprotected species) or $225 (protected species). If you do not have FedEx Air Express or UPS Worldwide service, please contact us for advice. Shipping animal teeth using Matson’s preferred shipping methods will ensure efficient and successful delivery, allowing us to do our part and return age data of the highest possible accuracy.

How To Ship Your Teeth

Dry your teeth

Packages may not be allowed into the U.S. if they contain specimens that are not fully dried or have more than minimal amounts of soft tissue and dried blood cells. Teeth that have been extracted and dried as per the recommendations of Matson’s Lab will be allowable for import.

For information about extracting your teeth, please visit Prepare Your Specimens.

1) Cover letter to Matson’s describing the shipment

2) Excel master list

3) Commercial Invoice

  • Should include: A unique invoice number assigned by you (for your records), your contact information, Matson’s Lab contact information, and quantity and value of all the teeth in the sample. We recommend using a value of $0.01 per tooth; no item can have a value of $0.00.
Common and Scientific NameQuantityUnit PriceAmount
Canine tooth from wolf (Canis lupus)250.010.25
PM1 tooth from brown bear (Ursus arctos)150.010.15

4) Your country’s export permit (if required)

5) Matson’s Lab U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Import/Export Permit

6) Matson’s Lab USDA Import Permit (ungulates only)

7) CITES Permit document (if applicable)

  • The CITES permit document must be validated by Customs before it leaves your country. Arrange to have the permit validated before it leaves your country.
  • Please give special attention to the full and correct completion of the CITES permit. Contact the lab prior to sending material from CITES species and refer to the information about the completion and validation of the permit below.

8) Matson’s ESA Permit (if required)

9) Air Waybill with Tracking Number

1) Original documents should be placed in an envelope inside the shipping container. Boldly mark the outside of this envelope as follows: “DO NOT REMOVE THESE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS. THEY ARE REQUIRED FOR CLEARANCE UPON ENTRY TO THE U.S.

2) The Waybill pouch should be secured on the outside of the box. This must contain the Air Waybill, Commercial Invoice, and copies of the validated CITES and USFWS permit(s).

Once your parcel has been sent out for shipment, email Matson’s Lab at and let us know that it is on the way!

In your email, please attach the following:

  • Copy of the commercial invoice
  • Copy of the CITES permit (if applicable)
  • Copy of the Waybill showing tracking number
  • Master list of samples

CITES Permits

In compliance with the International Convention for Threatened and Endangered Species (CITES), permits must accompany teeth sent to Matson’s Lab for processing. Please contact the lab prior to sending material from CITES species and study all of the information below. Any flaws in the CITES permit document, no matter how minor, may result in the shipment being seized by the USFWS with the potential loss of all samples. Seized shipments may or may not be returned to the sender.

  • To inquire about the status of a species, please contact us. For CITES permits, contact your government’s wildlife management agency.

  • Permits are required for mammals listed in CITES Appendix I or Appendix II, either in the country of origin or in the U.S.

  • Actual quantities and species of teeth sent to Matson’s Lab MUST BE LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO the quantities and species given in the accompanying CITES permits. If there is a greater quantity of teeth for any species, or if there are teeth from a species not listed on the permit, the shipment can be seized by USFWS inspectors.

CITES Permit Customs Validation

Invalid CITES permit due to missing information

The USFWS requires Customs validation of the CITES permit at the time of export. Before the parcel can be legally exported to our lab, a Customs official must add the required information, then sign and stamp the box located in the lower portion of the permit document. Please follow the steps below to confirm that the information on the permit is complete and correct and you are ready to ship:

Permit “valid until” date must not expire during handling and transportation and must still be valid when Matson’s Lab receives the parcel. To ensure the date will still be valid when your shipment reaches the lab, we recommend allowing at least 4 months on the permit to account for any time delays.

The quantity of tooth samples stated on the permit must be greater than or equal to the actual number of teeth that are being exported. If the quantity stated on the permit is less than what is found in the parcel, it may be seized by USFWS. Make sure to use the same unit of measurement as the CITES document for quantity of specimens.

All species being shipped must be listed on the permit. If there are species in the shipment that are not listed on the permitting, the parcel may not be admitted through customs.

Customs validation must be attached and all information must be completed as specified in the Validation Block (see photo to left). The document is not validated until it has received a stamp and signature from the inspecting authority at the time of export or re-export.

IMPORTANT: To obtain CITES permit Customs validation, it may be necessary to personally deliver the parcel to a Customs office for validation before shipping. The parcel can only be shipped after it has been validated.

Endangered or Threatened Species (ESA) Permits

Some species (e.g. Wood Bison throughout Canada) are on the U.S. Endangered or Threatened Species list but may not be listed in the CITES appendices. If you think that the species in your sample may fall under this category, please contact us before continuing shipment preparations. We must obtain an ESA permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which may take as long as 90 days.

Air Waybill

Once the shipment is scheduled, you will receive an Air Waybill. It is essential to include all of the Waybill information exactly as we have outlined below. If any information is omitted, it may result in the parcel not being inspected by the USFWS. How the parcel is handled upon import is largely determined by what is in the Air Waybill information box.

Matson’s Laboratory
(406) 258-6286
Import Permit No. 009816
135 Wooden Shoe Lane
Manhattan, MT 59741, USA

In the lower left corner, record “CODE 05079000.” This is the tariff code for teeth.

Thank you for trusting our wildlife professionals with your tooth aging needs, we greatly appreciate your efforts to send your shipment to us! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

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