Many plants may enter the United States from foreign countries, provided they meet certain entry requirements. Entry requirements vary by plant, but the following requirements universally apply:
· If you bring back 12 or fewer articles of admissible plants that have no special restrictions, you do not need a permit. Special restrictions may include requirements such as a permit, post-entry quarantine, treatment, or ESA or CITES documentation.
· Plants must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate from the country of origin showing that the plants meet entry requirements for the United States.
· Plants should be bare rooted (no growing media attached to the roots).
· You should perform a basic visual inspection of plants. Look for insects or sickly looking plant parts.
· Wrap plants in damp newspaper or similar material to prevent them from drying out. Roots may be secured in a plastic bag.
Twelve or fewer plants are inspected by CBP at the first port of entry. Thirteen or more plants will be inspected by APHIS personnel at the nearest Plant Inspection Station. If the inspector finds plant pests that could cause harm to other plants, or if the plants do not meet entry requirements, they will be refused entry. This means you must forfeit the plants, which will either be destroyed or returned to the country of origin.
Travelers are advised to consult with their nearest APHIS PPQ Plant Inspection Station to determine the admissibility of propagative plant material (including live plants, bulbs, corms, cuttings, root crowns, seeds, etc.)
You can learn more about admissibility and entry requirements for certain plants by calling Permit Services at (301) 851-2046 or toll-free at (877) 770-5990 or by email at Permits@aphis.usda.gov