(WPHL) – Christmas is nearly here and children everywhere are getting excited for Santa Claus and his reindeer to make their way across the country to deliver presents.
Luckily for Mr. Claus, he will have no issues flying into the U.S. this Christmas.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued a transit permit to Mr. Claus to allow his reindeer to enter and exit the United States between the hours of 6 p.m. on December 24, 2023, and 6 a.m. on December 25, 2023, the department wrote in a news release issued Thursday.
“USDA is delighted to grant Mr. Claus and his reindeer a special permit to enter the United States, ensuring a seamless journey for the joy they bring each holiday season,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
“We extend a warm welcome to Mr. Claus and recognize the vital role of U.S. milk and cookies in fueling his festive flight.”
Prior to issuing the permit, USDA veterinary officials inspected and ensured that all the reindeer, including Rudolph with his bright red nose, met all entry requirements for their big flight, the agency said.
“At a recent inspection, the reindeer were found to be healthy and able to prance and paw with each hoof,” said Dr. Rosemary Sifford, USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer.
Officials at the port of entry will also “disinfect the runners and underside of the sleigh,” and Mr. Claus will need to “disinfect his boots and thoroughly wash his hands,” the USDA wrote.
The USDA says these measures and more will help prevent the entry of any livestock diseases from entering farms and houses around the United States.
The news release even included a statement from Santa himself, who was identified by the USDA as a “distributor” working for the Gifts and Good Cheer, Inc.
“It’s important that Gifts and Good Cheer, Inc. take all the right steps and precautions to protect against the potential introduction of pests and diseases,” explained Mr. Claus. “I appreciate USDA’s assistance every year as we gear up for our big night.”
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