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Thread: Legal to send seeds to other countries?

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    Nepenthesian Nepfreak's Avatar
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    Legal to send seeds to other countries?

    I've offered some Intermedia seeds for SASE in the trade forum, and I have a couple of members from other countries (Canada and Brazil) asking for seeds. Does anyone know whether it would be legal just to mail them normally? What's the risk in doing so?
    Thanks,
    Ben
    Insanity is a sane response to an insane world.

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    I have sent and received small lots of seeds from overseas for years -- well before I obtained USDA permits; but there are particular regulations in different countries to avoid the introduction of what the USDA playfully refers to as "noxious weeds." If anything other than a letter is sent overseas (i.e. a padded package or box), a Customs Declaration must be made -- truthfully. Trust me, you don't need a high-colonic from the Feds and any accusation of smuggling. Here are two links to the APHIS / USDA site, the second one dealing specifically with exportation of seeds and plants:

    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_exp...ots_seed.shtml
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_exp...rts/faqs.shtml

    Otherwise, the seeds can be simply placed in an envelope and sent as a letter . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    swords's Avatar
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    Technically you are not supposed to receive seeds from vendors outside the US, unless this has changed. IIRC it was one of those over-reactive homeland security measures put in place after 9/11 so maybe that's been relaxed now? I have accidentally ordered seeds from overseas plant shops online. I did receive my orders but there was the chance they could have been intercepted, confiscated and destroyed.

    What you do not want in any scenario is for the sender erroneously mark the package. Because if it gets opened and it says "collectible stamps" on the envelope and inside is plant seeds and esp. plant seeds for a cities listed species (most of our pet plants). That sort of mislabeling constitutes smuggling and then you've got a whole other mess of legal trouble/fines on your hands. On the other hand an unlabeled package that has seeds in it would likely "only" be confiscated and destroyed and you'd simply be left wondering where your seeds were.

    Just be careful who you trade with. It's always best to always do it in your own country or by the regulations to avoid any potential mishaps or fines.

    As far as just shipping them yourself I don't think any repercussions fall on the shipper if packages are confiscated at customs only the receiver, if they think there's reason for criminal prosecution. If you don't want to deal with legal paperwork/permits just don't label the package with anything other than the addresses and they may treat it as just another letter and it may slip by or may get destroyed. I once received a big Amorphophallus bulb shipped to me from Bali by a TF member who was just being kind. I didn't ask him for it, it just showed up in my PO box one day. It was obvious there was a big round something in the padded envelope but the PO never bothered to open it! lol

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    You need the people to check the regulations in their own country. I sent seeds to Norway (I think) in a regular envelope once and they had some specific requirements (must be labeled with full species name, couldnt be more than a certain weight, and the recipent had to pick them up at an inspection station in a near by town). This means you might have to do some very particular things if you want it go arrive safely. Just make sure you do it legally it would be a shame for you to send just to have them destroyed.
    "We're terrible animals. I think that the Earth's immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should." - Kurt Vonnegut

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