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