Importin 13 (IPO13) is a key member of the importin β superfamily, which can transport cargoes both into and out of the nucleus to contribute to a variety of important cellular processes. IPO13 is known to undergo phosphorylation, but the impact of this on function has not been investigated. Here, we show for the first time that IPO13 is phosphorylated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase A specifically at serine 193. Results from fluorescence recovery after photobleaching and fluorescence loss in photobleaching approaches establish that negative charge at serine 193 through phosphorylation or point mutation both reduces IPO13 nuclear import and increases its nuclear export. Importantly, phosphorylation also appears to enhance cargo interaction on the part of IPO13, with significant impact on localization, as shown for the Pax6 homeobox-containing transcription partner. This is the first report that IPO13 can be phosphorylated at Ser193 and that this modification regulates IPO13 subcellular localization and nucleocytoplasmic transport function, with important implications for IPO13’s role in development and other processes.