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Brazilian MTA Shipment Protocol

Specimens may be sent or received legally (via loan, gift, exchange, etc) only if a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is in place between the MCZ and the relevant Brazilian institution. This requirement is in accordance with Brazilian law (Provisional Act No. 2186-16/ 2001) with the purpose to monitor shipments of genetic heritage components entering and leaving Brazil.

MTAs involve a comprehensive process and must be renewed every two years. Therefore, the MCZ only establishes the agreement with Brazilian institutions with which there is an active research exchange.  If a new MTA is needed for a department’s collection and/or research work, the appropriate curatorial associate should provide the relevant information to Collections Operations to initiate the process. For more information, please contact Linda Ford at Collections Operations.


By signing the MTA, each institution agrees to a mandatory set of conditions when sending or receiving material.  It is the responsibility of MCZ curatorial and research staff to be in compliance with these required terms.  Additionally, the MCZ is held accountable for any researcher, student, or visitor that utilizes any relevant specimens; these affiliated users should be provided with and understand the agreed MTA conditions.


In addition to the standard international shipping protocol, three additional documents must accompany every MCZ shipment to an approved Brazilian institution.

  • Copy of the relevant MTA.  Print the appropriate MTA and place in adhesive packing list envelope on exterior of package.  It is recommended to enclose a second copy with the paperwork inside the package.
  • Specification of the type and quantity of packaged material.  Enclose detailed MCZ loan invoice or MCZ return invoice, whichever is appropriate, with the MTA.
  • Specialized shipping label.  This specific label must be visible on the outside of the package; otherwise, the package may be confiscated at the Brazilian border.  It is suggested to print the appropriate label (see below), cut, and securely affix to the exterior of the package with clear packing tape.


Example of Shipping Label for outgoing MCZ material to approved Brazilian institution: <printable pdf>

Sample of Brazilian Genetic Heritage
Shipment in accordance with Genetic Heritage Management Council Resolution No. 20, of June 29, 2006  (Provisional Act No. 2186-16/ 2001).


Example of Shipping Label for return of Brazilian material to approved Brazilian institution:   <printable pdf>

RETURN of a Sample of Genetic Heritage Component
In accordance with Article 15 of Genetic Heritage Management Council Resolution No. 20, of June 29, 2006.

Additional Protocol for Outgoing Material

As per current Brazilian regulations, specimens may only be sent to MAPA (Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento) accredited institutions in Brazil, which indicates their compliance with the ministry requirements to receive imported specimens. If an institution does not appear on the MAPA list, before proceeding with the shipment, request proof of accreditation and include that proof within the package documents. Any specimen package, including tissues, being sent to a non-accredited institution will be stopped by Brazilian authorities.
In addition, the specimen package, regardless of content, must be accompanied by a Declaration for Export of Biological Material which is a waiver for scientific specimens to avoid the same red tape as live animals being imported into Brazil. Whether the material is being shipped into or out of Brazil (i.e., import or export), and regardless of the preparation type of the specimens (e.g., skin, pinned), the declaration must be completed and accompany the package.

  • It is important that a detailed description of the specimens, including the type of material and preservation/storage method, be included in the declaration under the section titled "DESCRIÇÃO DETALHADA DO PRODUTO.”  Apparently, the more info that is added, the less probability that the shipment will be scrutinized.  It has also been suggested that this description should be in both English and Portuguese.  A list of translations for most common shipments is provided to help departments with these descriptions. If the specimen description needed for a shipment is not listed, contact Collections Operations to help get a translation and update the list accordingly.
  • The form is designed to be filled out and signed by the shipping institution; however, there has been some confusion in recent shipments about this form (including its name; i.e., Export). It is suggested that a representative of the Brazilian Institution to which the materials are being sent should help complete and sign this Declaration for Export before shipment. If you have not yet received this declaration paperwork, before shipping specimens from your department, send this form to the receiving Brazilian institution with a request for completion.

For Brazilian shipments, once all the paperwork is in order and the parcel is ready to send, copies of all documents should be available on the outside, as well as copies inside, of the package.  As with all outgoing international shipments, the pre-cleared 3-177 export paperwork should be included among these documents. It is recommended that the Declaration for Export be the first readily available document in the packing slip for shipments to Brazil.

For more information on any of these issues, please contact Linda S. Ford at Collections Operations.