APHIS Acceptance of Unoriginal Phytosanitary Docs Extended to Sep. 30

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

Trade Update • FEBRUARY 21, 2022

In new guidance issued last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service advised that it will no longer be accepting unoriginal copies of phytosanitary certificates and forms after September 30, 2022.

Allowing importers of plant commodities to upload copies of these documents was a temporary measure taken by APHIS in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The agency had initially moved to end the measure by the end of December 2021, but postponed the date to March 31, 2922, prior to further extending this period by an additional six months.

Accordingly, starting on October 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 listed 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.


Stay in the loop, stay compliant! Get weekly or daily insights into all things trade and event invites, delivered right to your inbox.