The snowy owl is a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so a person cannot legally purchase or own one in the United States. However, in some instances, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may allow a licensed, trained individual to posses a snowy owl.
An individual may posses a snowy owl if he is rehabilitating the owl, using it for educational purposes or participating in falconry. Training is often required before permits are issued to legally possess an owl. Even with the proper permit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains stewardship of the owl and can remove it if licensing requirements are not met.