Skip to main content
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE


Soil is strictly controlled under APHIS quarantine regulations 7 CFR 330 because it can readily provide a pathway for the introduction of a variety of dangerous organisms into the United States.

Importation of soil into the United States from foreign sources is prohibited, and movement within the continental U.S. is restricted unless authorized by APHIS under specific conditions, safeguards and controlled circumstances described in a permit and/or compliance agreement.

  • Apply for a Permit - Use PPQ Form 525-A, Application for Permit to Receive Soil or PPQ Form 526, Application for permit to move live plant pests, biological control agents, or noxious weeds

General Information

Shipping Labels
Shipping requirements for importing regulated soil requiring black, white, green, and yellow labels.   

Frequently Asked Questions 
View a list of the commonly asked questions and concerns associated with the application process for a soil permit.

Soil can contain numerous diseases and pests. Soil from almost all foreign countries and from many States of the United States can move only if conditions and safeguards are met. For more information on how to import and move soil, view circular.

Permit Process
The importation and movement of untreated soil is considered by APHIS to be an extremely high risk activity. For this reason, several levels of review and approval are required before a permit can be provided. For more information, view soil permit process.

Permit Eligibility For Graduate Students and Post-doctoral Workers

Hand-Carry Conditions
This web page contains information related to hand-carry conditions for all authorized soil hand carry events.

Foreign Soil Under 3 pounds
A permit can be issued by the Permit Unit usually within 2 weeks if the applicant has requested an authorization for less than three pounds of soil (per shipment), and the soil can be heat sterilized by PPQ at ports with appropriate facilities.

Foreign Soil Over 3 pounds 
Soil which cannot be treated at the port of entry may be authorized for movement to a facility approved in advance and authorized under a permit issued by PPQ. Specific safeguard provisions are described in the permit and also in a compliance agreement with the facility.

Domestic Soil 
Soil from Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands is handled as foreign soil and is authorized movement into the continental U.S. under the provisions described for foreign soil.

Canadian Soil Soil cannot enter the U.S. if from the following areas:

  • Alberta: A farm unit and associated land located near the municipality of Fort Saskatchewan; and a farm unit and associated land located near the municipality of Spruce Grove.
  • British Colombia: That portion of the municipality of Central Saanich on Vancouver Island, ease of the west Saanich Road.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: The entire Island of Newfoundland.
  • Quebec: The municipality of Saint- Amble.

Soil from other parts of Canada imported into the U.S. is subject only to inspection and verification of the origin.

Isolating Organisms

Importation of Plant Growth Enhancers

Complementary Content