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

Soil FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How long does it take for a permit to be issued?
A. It can take up to 30 days for a permit to be processed after the paperwork is received from the state.

Q. Will I need a permit to import soil?
A. Yes, any soil being imported from foreign sources requires an import permit.

Q. How long is the soil permit valid?
A. Unless special situations exist, the standard time frame for soil is up to 3 years from the date of issuance.

Q. Will I need a permit if I am importing rocks?
A. If the specimens are large enough and are not contaminated with soil or any other organic debris, an APHIS permit is not required.

Q. Will I need a permit if I am importing sediment?
A. If the sample was collected in salt water, an APHIS permit is not required.

Q. What will I need in my facility to become an approved soil laboratory? 
A. Generally, when Plant Protection and Quarantine Officials inspect a facility, they are looking for a laboratory type setting with adequate safeguards in place to prevent pest escape, a secure area to store soil when not in use, and an autoclave or incinerator.

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