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Thread: nepenthes seeds from far away lands

  1. #9
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    If the seeds are declared as hobby or craft items rather than their true intended purpose (planting) then that's falsification of Customs declarations and violates US Code Title 19 (Customs). If the seeds are not sent through an APHIS (Agriculture Plant Health Inspection Services) center and are without permits and/or phytosanitary certificates then you are violating Code of Federal Regulations and US Code Title 7 (Agriculture). Under US Code Title 18 chapter 227 fines and prison sentences can by up to $250,000 and/or 6 years per count. This applies to plants, plant parts including pollen, tubers, tissue culture, cuttings and gemmae - basically anything that can be or used for growing or propagation. It's more complicated than that but for CP hobbyist this is enough.

    Note to the wise: it would appear USDA and Customs is monitoring these auctions and sellers.

    Importers of plants and seeds for planting have five important responsibilities:
    1. Before placing an order, the importer should obtain any required import permit or make
    certain that existing permits are valid and provide for the entry of the desired material. See
    Circular Q37-1, Suggestions to Applicants for Permits to Import Plant Material for Planting, for
    information about applying for an import permit.
    2. The importer should transmit appropriate instructions to the foreign shipper.
    3. The importer should make advance arrangements for meeting all of U.S. Customs and Border
    Protection (CBP) requirements.
    4. The importer should supply labor and materials or arrange for this through a broker or agent, when necessary.
    5. The importer should make the necessary shipping arrangements that ensure permitted plants and seeds are delivered for inspection to a USDA, Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) plant inspection station. Movement of restricted plant material to and from the plant inspection station is the responsibility of the consignee and/or broker.

    The permittee should make sure that the foreign shipper uses the desired means of transportation and approved packing material for exportation to the United States. The importer should remind the exporter that the plant material must be free from soil, must not be established in growing media except where exempted by the regulations in 7 CFR 319.37, must be within the size-age limitations, and must be properly labeled, invoiced and accompanied by the original phytosanitary certificate. If the Permit Unit has issued labels with a permit, the exporter must be instructed in the proper use of the labels. Translations of these instructions are available in French, German, and Spanish from our office. Plants for planting that require a permit must enter the United States through ports with an Inspection Station.

    Freedom from soil and growing media:
    All plant material must be free from sand, soil, earth and growing media, except for those plants approved to enter in growing media from APHIS-approved facilities (see 7 CFR 319.37-8(e) & (f). Leaf mold and other decayed vegetable molds are considered soil. Plants arriving in or contaminated with sand, soil, earth, or in a growing medium from an unapproved source, will be refused entry.

    Packing material:

    Packing material may only be used if plants are packed in the packing material immediately prior to shipment and must not have been previously used as packing material or otherwise. Only approved packing material may be used. A complete list of approved packing materials can be found in the regulations, Title 7 CFR 319.37-9. The commonly used approved packing materials include ground peat, sphagnum moss, perlite, pulp-free coconut or other vegetable fibers (excluding sugarcane and cotton), osmunda fiber, excelsior, wood or cork shavings, sawdust, rock wool, ground cork, buckwheat hulls, polymer stabilized cellulose, and exfoliated vermiculite. Nursery stock which has been wrapped, coated, dipped, sprayed, or otherwise packaged in
    plastic, wax or other impermeable material that prevents adequate inspection or treatment may be refused entry.

    Size-age limitations:
    The size-age restrictions, found in 7 CFR 319.37-2 (b), are complex. For a summary, please see the document “Size Age Limitations Chart” on the PPQ website at:

    All plant material must be plainly and legibly labeled with scientific names (genus, species, and if possible, variety). Plants or bundles of plants should be individually labeled. Lack of labeling results in handling delays.


    Plant Protection and Quarantine requires copies of invoices in addition to those required by CBP, the broker, and the importer. For cargo importations: A copy must be filed at the time U.S. Customs and Border Protection entry is made. In addition, a packing list must accompany each container of material or a copy of the invoice must be enclosed within container No. 1 for shipments having more than one container. For importations by mail: One copy of the invoice must be enclosed within the parcel or within one of the parcels in the event of a lot shipment.

    Title 7 CFR 319.37-4 requires that plants for planting offered for importation must be accompanied by an original phytosanitary certificate of inspection issued by the proper plant quarantine official in the country of origin. Also, please note that certain plants, or plants from certain countries, may require “additional declarations” on the phytosanitary certificate (see 7 CFR 319.37-5 for specifics). For cargo importations: The original certificate must be attached to the CBP entry documents. A copy of the certificate may be attached to each container. For importations by mail: A copy of the certificate must be attached to the outside of each parcel, and the original certificate must be enclosed within the parcel or within one of the parcels
    in the event of a lot shipment.

    Means of importation:
    The importer should provide instructions to the foreign shipper as to the means of importation. Mail shipments, whether by letter mail, parcel post, air parcel post, or other classes of mail, do not require a bonded carrier to transport the material to a USDA plant inspection station. Importations made by air express, air freight, and other means do require a bonded carrier. Air express and air freight (cargo) should not be confused with air mail and air parcel post. Also, see the section below about baggage entries.

    Mail shipments:

    If you are importing plants and seeds by mail, please instruct your supplier to attach to your parcel(s) the green-and-yellow labels provided with your permit. Green and yellow labels should be used only for mail importations. Not all countries offer air parcel post; moreover, the character of air parcel post service may vary by country. From some countries, air parcel post moves by air only to the port of first arrival and thence by surface transportation to the destination. Other countries provide air movement to the final destination; still other countries provide both types of air parcel post service, allowing the shipper to select the type desired. Information on air parcel post can best be obtained from the foreign shipper or your local post office. Letter-rate airmail, sometimes used for seeds or valuable cuttings when air parcel post is not available, carries material through to the destination by air. Regardless of the address on the green-and-yellow mailing label, the plant materials for propagation will be cleared at the first U.S. port of arrival which has a USDA plant inspection station. Ports with inspection stations are JFK International Airport, Jamaica, New York; Linden, New Jersey; Miami and Orlando, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Los Indios and Houston, Texas; Nogales, Arizona; San Diego, Los Angeles (Inglewood), and San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Honolulu, Hawaii; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Tamuning, Guam. Please remember that we do not have control over routing or in transit handling of international mail. Air transport may result in delivery of the plants to any approved port address. After agricultural clearance at the USDA plant inspection station, mail shipments are returned to the mail system and go forward to the destination under the original postage. If the value of the shipment is less than $1000.00, duty, if any, is collected at the post office of the destination. If valued at $1000.00 or more, the shipment goes to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection port closest to the destination post office where the importer must either make the formal entry directly or employ a customs broker or agent. The importer is notified by CBP of the arrival of the shipment and the port at which entry must be made.
    Addressing mail shipments: When shipments are to be imported by mail, the permittee should request a green-and-yellow mailing label for each parcel. Instructions for its use appear on the reverse side of the label. Instructions in French, German, and Spanish will be supplied to a permittee upon request. For mail shipments, it is especially important that the permittee's name, address, telephone number, and permit number be enclosed with each parcel. Instruct your supplier to place only the green and yellow label, and NOT your name or address, on the outside of the parcel.

    Shipments other than by mail:
    Importations arriving by means other than mail require a CBP entry regardless of value. The importer or importer's agent must arrange for delivery to a USDA plant inspection station, if necessary, and onward to the final destination. Shipments by Express Carrier: 1) You are required to meet all permit requirements regarding permit labels and your shipment must be accompanied by a copy of the permit at the time of arrival into the United States. In
    addition, you are encouraged to place inside the package a U.S. domestic shipping label from the express carrier you use (e.g. FEDEX, DHL, UPS, etc..) with your shipping account number included in the appropriate box. The additional shipping label will facilitate forwarding of packages after the USDA Plant Inspection Station has cleared the shipment. The plant inspection station personnel will fill out the rest of the information on the shipping label. 2) An invoice must accompany the shipment. (This is especially important if you are importing more than one genus or species). 3) If applicable, the documentation required by the permit must include the correct scientific name for the material. 4) If the plants or seeds you are importing by express carrier are perishable, you are encouraged to schedule the arrival of your shipments at the USDA plant inspection station facility as early in the week as possible to avoid delivery problems that may occur over weekends and holidays. 5) If a plant or seed shipment is refused entry at the USDA plant inspection station, you will be asked to re-export or destroy the materials generally within 48 to 72 hours from the time you are notified by PPQ.
    Addressing cargo, express, or freight shipments: Each case, box, or other container of a shipment shall be clearly and plainly marked to show the
    general nature and quantity of the contents and the country where grown, bear distinguishing marks, be individually numbered, and be addressed in the following way:
    "U. S. Customs and Border Protection _____________________________________
    (Name of port where material is authorized to clear quarantine)
    For delivery to the Plant Protection and Quarantine Inspection Station. For account of
    ________________________________ Permit No. ___________
    (Name and address of permittee)
    From ____________________________________________________________."
    (Name and address of foreign shipper)

    Meeting U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements for non parcel post importations:
    Delays resulting in loss or deterioration of material may occur because importers do not make arrangements in advance for a Customs broker or other agent to attend to CBP formalities in connection with freight, air freight, express, or air express consignments. Such shipments are in CBP custody and unless under an Immediate Transportation (IT) entry, cannot go forward until all CBP requirements have been completed. PPQ Plant Health Safeguarding Specialists do not have the authority to act as, or render the services of, a Customs Broker. Government employees cannot employ a Customs Broker on behalf of an importer nor can they recommend one. Arrangements with the broker or other agent should be made well in advance of the shipment’s
    arrival. The expected date and time of arrival, the flight number or name of vessel, invoice number and permit number, type of Customs entry, and forwarding instructions should be provided to the customs broker or agent. The broker or agent can arrange for transportation, labor, and materials if needed. Contact the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection for more information.

    Baggage entries:
    The importation of most plant material (except certain bulbs and flower seeds) by baggage may prove more costly than entry by mail. The importer may have to arrange for a bonded carrier (if available at the port of arrival) to transport the material to the nearest USDA plant inspection station. Also, upon completion of PPQ handling, the importer or broker will have to arrange to pay forwarding costs.

    Ports with USDA Plant Inspection Stations:

    Material may be offered for agricultural clearance at mainland destinations: New York, New York (including John F. Kennedy International Airport and Linden, New Jersey); Miami and Orlando, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Los Indios and Houston, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Nogales, Arizona; Los Angeles (Inglewood), San Diego, and San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Honolulu, Hawaii and Tamuning, Guam; and San Juan for destinations in Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands. Please note that USDA plant inspection stations are generally open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.,
    Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. If your permit does not specify entry of your plants at the desired USDA plant inspection station,
    please apply in writing for a permit revision. When applying, remember that uninspected and untreated material may not move long distances overland for clearance but must be inspected and treated (if necessary) at the authorized inspection station as the first port of arrival.
    Examples: European or African material arriving by air usually enters at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. South American material arriving by air may clear at Los Angeles, Miami, or New York (includingJohn F. Kennedy International Airport). The same material coming by sea would enter at New York and clear at Linden, New Jersey. Asian material coming by sea via the Suez Canal and
    African and European material arriving by sea usually clears at Linden, NJ. Most Mexican material entering by surface transportation clears at Brownsville, TX. By air, Mexican material may clear at Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, or New York depending upon the time and method of dispatch from origin.

    Labor, supplies, and handling:
    The importer must make arrangements and pay all costs for the labor, supplies, and special handling required to clear a shipment. Labor is usually required for shipments imported other than by mail, for the unpacking and repacking of plant material and to move containers into and out of the USDA plant inspection station. Costs vary with the size of the shipment and the amount of work that may be involved. Supplies such as lumber, packing material, etc., may be necessary depending upon the condition of the shipment.

    The Plant Protection Act gives the USDA, APHIS, PPQ the responsibility for protecting the United States from the introduction and dissemination of injurious arthropod plant pests, pathogens, and noxious weeds. Please be advised that approved methods used to control such organisms are not always available to eliminate pest risk and some treatments are phytotoxic. Improve your chances of avoiding such problems by communicating to the exporter the necessity for them to ship pest-free, healthy plant material using a timely means of conveyance. Treatments used by PPQ to control pest infestations on imported plants and seeds are those which are the most effective for the pest concerned and believed to be least likely to cause injury
    to the plants involved. All treatments are applied at the risk of the importer. The importer should carefully consider other measures communicated in the Emergency Action Notification (PPQ 523). These measures typically include the right to return the plant material to origin or destroy
    the plant material under official supervision. Perishable plant materials undergo much stress and are often weakened by adverse shipping conditions. Communicating to your supplier the importance of providing pest and disease free plants and seeds will help to reduce the chance of additional stress to the plants that may caused by treatments needed to keep foreign pests and diseases from entering the United States.


    Small seed lots (50 or less seeds per taxa and 50 or less taxa per shipment) are a lot simpler. Obtain PPQ 587 for Small Seed Lots. Mail the shipper a copy of your permit and the green and yellow label. Shipper slaps the label on the package and includes the docs you sent them. Mails the package which gets sent to an inspection center. Only cost to you is postage. Permit is free. No phytosanitary certificate required if small seed lots. Discussed ad infinitum elsewhere.

    More than 50 seeds of one taxa is not a small seed lot. A Phytosanitary Certificate is required.
    Last edited by Not a Number; 07-08-2012 at 09:54 AM.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

  2. #10
    dueoka's Avatar
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    So I can apply online for the PPQ 587 for a few pods of different seeds? The seeds are inspected and then it comes to me? Anyway, thanks for the write up, it was very informative!


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