Melissa O'Dell (301) 734-5222
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623
WASHINGTON, April 3, 2006-As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's overall eGovernment initiative to transform and enhance the delivery of its programs, services and information, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today launched ePermits, a new electronic system to streamline the import process.
The new system, which is being released in multiple phases, is a Web-based tool that allows the electronic filing, processing and tracking of permit applications. Submitting applications and receiving permits via the Internet will save customers a tremendous amount of time and effort.
The current phase allows individuals to process permit applications on-line for certain plant protection and quarantine and biotechnology and regulatory services' notifications. Veterinary services is in the process of finalizing its system and plans to launch its ePermits section on July 3.
In addition to online applications, ePermits also features a payment engine capability so individuals can pay permit application fees by credit card, when applicable, as part of the on-line process. This feature is designed and operated in a way to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of applicant information.
More advances are underway including the ability to apply for more types of APHIS permits and a feature that will allow APHIS officials to generate and print shipment labels with barcodes. Once the barcode is scanned, it will immediately verify that the permit is valid. These capabilities, among others, result in improved turnaround times and better customer service. Additional information about ePermits is available online at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/permits.
In order to access the ePermits system, users must complete a registration process called eAuthentication. The eAuthentication system is used by USDA agencies to enable individuals to obtain accounts that allow access to certain USDA Web applications and services through the Internet. To learn more about eAuthentication, please visit, http://www.eauth.egov.usda.gov.
Note to Reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet. Go to the APHIS news release page at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/newsroom/. Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive APHIS press releases automatically. Send an e-mail message to email@example.com and leave the subject blank. In the message, type subscribe press_releases.