APHIS Acceptance of Unoriginal Phytosanitary Docs Ending Dec. 31 (Updated)

APHIS Logo seen thru Original Plant Certificate (Thailand), Tropical Plants in Background

Trade Update • DECEMBER 15, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service this week advised that it will no longer be accepting unoriginal copies of phytosanitary certificates and forms after December 31.

Responding to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, APHIS had temporarily allowed importers of plant commodities to upload copies of these documents.

Beginning January 1, 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine will only accept original phytosanitary certificates and forms for plant commodities.

Original copies submitted through the ePhyto government-to-government electronic file sharing system will continue to be accepted by CBP and PPQ.

The agencies state that “a paper certificate would not need to be presented for cargo clearance by U.S. officials if the certificate is an ePhyto with a proper declaration in the APHIS Core message set using the PG13/14 code AE1.”

Note: A trading partner that is marked “Yes” may choose to not send an ePhyto message set for a shipment. This could be due to limitations with the country’s system, outages, or other reasons.

Acceptable phytosanitary certificates include:

  • Certificates created through a participating country’s ePhyto system, or signed paper forms.
  • Acceptable foreign site certificates of inspection and/or treatment include signed paper forms, signed copies of the master PPQ Form 203, and digitally signed electronic PPQ Form 203s.

Additional Information

For more information about plant or plant product imports, email plantproducts.permits@usda.gov or call 1-877-770-5990. For questions about plant or plant product exports, contact your local export certification specialist or email ppqexportservices@usda.gov.

Update

According to new guidance issued January 1, 2022, the end date for accepting unoriginal copies of phytosanitary certificates and forms has been changed to March 31, 2022. After this date, APHIS and CBP will accept only original phytosanitary certificates and forms for plant commodities.

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