Seed/bulb imports to the U.S.

Myke Ashley-Cooper
Thu, 25 Jan 2007 20:13:50 PST
Thanks Lee! That's a lot more helpful. Where do I apply for import permits?

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lee Poulsen 
  To: Pacific Bulb Society ; Myke Ashley-Cooper 
  Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 3:21 AM
  Subject: Re: [pbs] Seed/bulb imports to the U.S.

  On Jan 25, 2007, at 6:07 AM, Myke Ashley-Cooper wrote:

  > Here in South Africa, our postal authorities are too stupid or lazy to 
  > open parcels and seed arrives regularly without any hassle. However . 
  > . . . we are selling up to emigrate to Tallahassee and I'm thinking 
  > that the extra spare seed I have will merely be packed into the 40 
  > foot container and won't be found! Maybe you can advise me how to do 
  > it legally as the seed originates in most cases from the PBS or other 
  > American suppliers. If I bring South African bulbs, that's another 
  > story, I guess?

  If you have permits (which are free) and can get a phyto for all your 
  bulbs and plants (which I don't know how much they charge for in South 
  Africa), it's really really easy IMO, especially if you're bringing 
  them with you. Even if you don't live close to the Inspection Station 
  that the seeds or plants will go to. You might be able to drive to it 
  in a not unreasonable amount of time and pick them up. Or you can 
  always pay to ship them from the station (probably Miami?) to your home 
  domestically. With the seed import permit, you could actually mail them 
  to yourself ahead of time and pick them up after you got here or just 
  pay to have them ship them on to your new home. There are almost no 
  restrictions on seeds (most of the restricted ones tend to be a few 
  crop/fruit/vegetable items), and there is no charge for the inspection 
  or the permit.

  For all plants and bulbs not on the prohibited list (which is also 
  pretty small IMO, relatively speaking--again it's crop/food plants or 
  plants of commercial interest like a number of plants that are in the 
  florist/flower trade, timber, things like that) other than a standard 
  plant import permit (which is also free), the only necessity is a 
  phytosanitary certificate for all the items. If your plants/bulbs are 
  observably pest-free and have no soil on the roots or bulbs, the 
  inspection is completely straightforward and is also free. Basically, 
  the only thing that causes problems for us Americans in importing just 
  about anything from any country is getting that phyto in the country 
  they're coming from.

  Since Japan will do phyto inspections at the Tokyo International 
  Airport in Narita for free right before you fly out of the country, it 
  was easy for me to bring back plants and bulbs I got there on two 
  different occasions. At this end, I handed them over, along with a copy 
  of my permit and the phyto certificate, to the USDA inspection agents 
  who took them to their facility and the next business day (important!) 
  I got a phone call saying I could drive over and pick them up. It 
  really was that easy and didn't cost me a thing.

  There are some logistics you might have to work out. But other than 
  that there is nothing very difficult about the process--unlike 
  importing an animal, or like the Australians have to do to import bulbs 
  or plants. And it's much cheaper than what they have to pay for 
  quarantining the plants and everything.

  Good luck!
  --Lee Poulsen
  Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

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