Bulb import permits

Mark Mazer markemazer@gmail.com
Tue, 08 Mar 2016 11:27:17 PST
Perhaps W. Aley could assist.  We receive our mail at at a PO Box and
APHIS's small lots of seed program requires a physical address. Can't get
there from here.  Advice more than welcome to wrangle our way through the

On Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 2:06 PM, William Aley <aley_wd@icloud.com> wrote:

> Every year I find this discussion interesting.
> This group is one of the more active of chat groups yet the misinformation
> still exists. I'll pass this on to my work unit for no more than an example
> of what needs to be addressed and changed in providing information.
> After 35 years in the gov I'll be retiring in a year. This may be one of
> your last chances to create some change with input to how APHIS regulates
> imports.
> Lee is probably the closest to providing information. By the way if you
> don't know about the controlled Import Permit you are missing out on
> opportunities.
> Feel free to hit me up to discuss how to import plants into the USA.
> Get the facts directly from the source.
> http://ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx/…
> William Aley
> Senior Regulatory Specialist, Plants for Planting, APHIS.
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On Mar 8, 2016, at 16:50, Lee Poulsen <wpoulsen@pacbell.net> wrote:
> >
> >> On Mar 7, 2016, at 4:43 PM, Jane McGary <janemcgary@earthlink.net>
> wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >> A friend and I would like to order some bulbs (in small quantities)
> from a European grower, but we don't know what level of USDA permits we
> need to do this. My only experiences importing occurred before the present
> regulations were instituted, and all I had to do was walk the shipment
> through Customs and show the phytosanitary documents. Can someone who
> imports from Europe tell us which permits are required, and perhaps reflect
> on how difficult it is to get them (probably VERY difficult, judging from
> the complexity of just getting the Small Lots of Seed permit)?
> >
> > I just imported a few bulbs from former (and maybe current) member Lauw
> de Jager’s nursery Bulb’Argence last fall.
> >
> > I renewed my plant import permit, which is different than the Small Lots
> of Seed permit, but is also free. The seed import permit lasts 3 years
> between renewals and the plant import permit lasts 5 years.
> >
> > There is a complex way to electronically request a renewal of an import
> permit, which as others have mentioned, includes an initial visit in-person
> to a USDA facility as one of the steps to set up your account. (The nearest
> location for me is an hour’s drive, one way, beyond the edge of the
> metropolitan area.)
> > However, as Timothy Chapman said, it’s much simpler to just do it the
> "old-fashioned" way by filling out a paper copy of the permit application
> (which you can find on the USDA APHIS/PPQ website as a downloadable PDF
> file which you then print out). Then you fax it to the number given on the
> form. Unlike Timothy, my renewed permit took 2 weeks to get to me rather
> than his 24-hour experience. However, like him, it *was* emailed to me as a
> PDF file. (I used to have to scan the paper permit they sent me into a PDF
> file I could email to the overseas nursery when I made my order.) However,
> this time I never got any green and yellow labels either as an emailed file
> or as snail-mailed paper labels. Also, in filling out the application, if
> you list multiple ports of entry (New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San
> Francisco, etc.) and multiple species you think you might want to import,
> maybe 4 or 5 ports and 5 or 6 species, they’ll issue you a permit that
> indicates you can import any allowed species through any port of entry.
> >
> > Before 9/11 occurred, no permit and no phytosanitary certificate was
> needed to import clean dormant bulbs from anywhere, and I did it many
> times. After 9/11, the USDA decided to take advantage of a clause in the
> plant and animal import law that gives them the authority to impose a
> permit and/or phyto requirement even for bulbs—which they chose to do.
> >
> > Initially they wanted to require a phytosanitary certificate for any
> plant material of any kind, including seeds. But a hue and cry went up
> across the country from plant people all over, and the USDA responded by
> inventing the Small Lots of Seeds permit which did *not* require the phyto.
> It is the only type of plant import permit that does not require a phyto
> certificate to accompany the plant material. All other plant materials
> require an accompanying phyto in order to import it legally.
> >
> > As several have mentioned, for small numbers of plant materials, I think
> it is 12 items or less as has been mentioned, I think an import permit is
> not required. However, the phyto *is* required.
> >
> > So the key to importing any plant material, bulbs, etc., other than
> seeds, is to obtain a phytosanitary certificate. As long as you have that
> (and the plants are not on the banned list), it’s very simple to import
> plants to the U.S. Getting that certificate is always the problem unless
> the nursery is already willing to obtain it for you. Lauw actually provides
> a phyto as an item you can order on his website along with the bulbs. And
> he only charges €10. That is about the cheapest I’ve seen unless it’s
> included in the purchase price somehow. Often I see charges of $50 or more,
> which means importing a few bulbs can cost more for the phyto than for the
> bulbs themselves. (And I think Australia charges in 15-minute increments
> which can make the phyto very expensive if it takes a long time to inspect
> your order.) And often it seems, I find a source for something I really
> really want and they state explicitly that they don’t or won’t provide
> phytos at all. (This is when I wish there was an option to pay the USDA
> inspection station to do a phyto inspection upon arrival in the U.S. But
> that is currently not an option.) I’ve heard some countries will not allow
> private individuals to get a phyto, only businesses, which makes it
> difficult to get bulbs from overseas friends who live in such countries. I
> don’t know if it’s still the case, but Japan has one of the easiest ways to
> get a phyto if you’re bringing the plants or bulbs back in person. They
> have an inspection station at the international airport in Narita (Tokyo).
> You just call ahead and make an appointment for a couple of hours before
> you originally planned to arrive at the airport and they inspect the plants
> right there and type out a phyto on the spot.
> >
> > Anyway, if you can get a phyto, whether by paying for it outright or
> having it provided by the seller, and a plant import permit, you can easily
> import any botanical item. (You can even import seeds with a standard plant
> import permit—as long as you get a phyto for them!)
> >
> > Now, my experience is that when importing from most first world
> countries, the postal system hardly ever intercepts packages with plants or
> seeds in them. I know this because the package arrives directly to me
> unopened and very quickly. I’ve experienced this in packages from England,
> France, Australia, and New Zealand, for example. The postal system
> apparently is more suspicious of packages from non-first world countries.
> I’ve had packages occasionally intercepted for inspection before being
> forwarded to me from Brazil, Chile, and South Africa. However, my
> experience has been that if it’s a small package, and it is sent
> international registered mail, those almost never get intercepted for
> inspection no matter which country they’re sent from.
> >
> > Anyway, the above summarizes my experience over the years with importing
> seeds, bulbs, and plants.
> >
> > --Lee Poulsen
> > Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
> > Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m
> >
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