Small Lots of Seed
Lots of seed may be imported without a phytosanitary certificate under the following conditions:
- The importation of the seed is authorized by a written permit specifically for small lots of seed. Permits are usually valid for 3 years and cover multiple importations.
- The seed is not restricted under the Not Autorized Pending Pest Risk Analysis (NAPPRA) category in the Plants for Planting Manual; is not of any Federal noxious weed species; does not require an additional declaration on a phytosanitary certificate; does not require treatment; is not a parasitic plant; is not genetically modified; is not pelleted, coated, or imbedded in growing media, seed tape, cloth, or similar materials.
- If the seed is a field/agricultural crop or vegetable, it meets the requirements of the Federal Seed Act import provisions in 7 CFR 361.
- If the seed is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) or the Endangered Species Act, it meets the additional requirements.
- The seed meets the following packaging and shipping requirements:
- A typed or legibly printed seed list/invoice accompanies each shipment with the name of the collector/shipper, the botanical names (at least to genus, preferably to species level) listed alphabetically, as well as the country of origin, and country shipped from, for each taxon. Each seed packet is clearly labeled with the name of the collector/shipper, the country of origin, and the scientific name at least to the genus, and preferably to the species, level. The invoice/seed list may provide a code for each lot, which may be used on the seed packets in lieu of the full list of required information. In this case, each packet must at least include the appropriate code, which is referenced to the entry for that packet on the seed list/invoice.
- There are a maximum of 50 seeds of 1 taxon (taxonomic category such as genus, species, cultivar, etc.) per packet; or a maximum weight not to exceed 10 grams of seed of 1 taxon per packet;
There are a maximum of 50 seed packets per shipment;
The seeds are free from pesticides;
The seeds are securely packaged in packets or envelopes and sealed to prevent spillage [Note: we recommend that seeds are packed in resealable, clear plastic envelopes to facilitate inspection];
(vi) The shipment is free from soil, plant material other than seed, other foreign matter or debris, seeds in the fruit or seed pod, and living organisms such as parasitic plants, pathogens, insects, snails, mites; and
(vii) At the time of importation, the shipment is sent to an approved port of entry listed in the permit.
How to Apply for a Small Lots of Seed Permit: For fastest turn around time, apply on-line at https://epermits.aphis.usda.gov/epermits. Alternately, use PPQ Form 587, Application for Permit to Import Plants or Plant Products. On the first line of section 3 of the application, enter “SMALL LOTS OF SEED PROGRAM”. Starting on the second line, list the seed species and countries from which you want to ship each species. If the list of species is long, you may enter “eligible taxa”. By using this option, you are accepting responsibility for determining the eligibility of the seeds. The Permit Unit cannot tell you if the species are eligible for importation if you do not list them. A permit is issued for taxa that are admissible with no restrictions beyond the port of entry inspection. If port of entry inspectors find prohibited or restricted seeds in your shipment, they will seize and destroy the ineligible kinds.
To determine the entry status of seed taxa, see (2) above and refer to the Plant Protection and Quarantine Manual's reference section. Click on The Plants for Planting Manual, and then find the List of Plants for Planting on the Chapter 6 of the manual. Plants that are not listed in this section are generally admissible and eligible for the small lots of seed program. Plants that are listed in this section are ineligible for the small lots of seed program, with the following exceptions:
- A taxon is eligible for the small lots of seed program if the relevant manual entries exclude seeds (check entries at both the genus and species levels and note family-level listings for Cactaceae, Cycadaceae and Rutaceae).
- Species noted only as FSA-A or FSA-V in the “other requirements” column are eligible, but must meet the import provisions of the Federal Seed Act; i.e., the labeling must include variety names for vegetable seeds and lot numbers for both agricultural and vegetable seeds.
- Species noted only as CITES or ESA in the “other requirements” column are eligible if accompanied by any required CITES or ESA permits. Generally, seeds of both Threatened and Endangered plants are regulated under the Endangered Species Act; however, the seeds of Threatened plants are not regulated if they come from cultivated plants. For more information, visit the following web pages: