Regulated Organism and Soil Permits

Last Modified: April 04, 2024

APHIS Revises the Regulations for the Movement of Plant Pests and Biocontrol Agents

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a final rule to revise the regulations in Title 7 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 330 that govern the movement of plant pests. The final rule aligns plant pest regulations with current APHIS policies, removes obsolete requirements, streamlines the permit process for low risk organisms, and updates requirements for the import of foreign soil. 

Learn More

Under the authority of the Plant Protection and Honeybee Acts, a Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) 526 permit is required for the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of plant pests (plant feeding insects, mites, snails, slugs, and plant pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.), biological control organisms of plant pests and weeds, bees, parasitic plants, and Federally listed noxious weeds.

APHIS also requires a 526 permit for the importation and interstate movement of soil or other potentially infected host material for the purpose of isolating or culturing microorganisms from those materials. Those materials may include but are not necessarily restricted to; plant material, insects/arthropods, environmental samples such as water, dust, sediments, etc. If the organism is imported on/in host material, no separate permit is required for the host material if the host material is not intended for propagation.

APHIS is authorized to inspect shipments and/or facilities at any time to verify compliance with permit conditions. Receipt of a PPQ permit does not relieve the applicant from the obligation to comply with the regulations of other Federal, State, and local agencies (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Environmental Protection Agency).

PPQ 526 Permit

The PPQ 526 permit is required for the importation, interstate movement, possession, and/or environmental release of the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

View a list of the commonly asked questions and concerns associated with the application process for a permit to move live plant pests or noxious weeds.

How To Apply for a PPQ 526 Permit

APHIS offers both the online APHIS eFile system and a manual process for application submission. PPQ strongly recommends applicants submit permit applications online, via the APHIS eFile system because the online system efficiently provides applicants electronic access to their applications and permits. Select the following link to start the application process.

Apply for a Permit

Permit Processing Steps and Timelines

Applications for 526 permits are processed in the order received. PPQ receives over six thousand (6,000) 526 permit applications per year. The average application processing time is eighty (80) days. The processing time depends on the complexity of the request. On-line application submission using eFile can save up to thirty (30) days.

The PPQ 526 permit review process includes the following steps:*

StepTime Range
Review application for completeness of required information, such as: applicant contact information, genus and species of regulated material, destination state, origin, and shipment information. Add one month for processing paper applications that are not submitted on-line.1 week
Evaluate pest risk.1-4 weeks
Prepare environmental assessment and publish in the Federal Register, if necessary. Environmental assessments are typically required for first time releases of biological control agents.6 months - 1 year
Inspect containment facility, if necessary.1-4 months
Determine conditions necessary to mitigate risk.1-4 weeks
Consult with the State department of agriculture.1-4 weeks
Evaluate State response.1-2 weeks
Send draft permit to the applicant for agreement to permit conditions.1-4 weeks
Issue final permit. For importation only, issue Red and White Labels.1 week
Total8 weeks to 18 months

*These steps and timelines are not all-encompassing; if necessary, additional steps or time may be required.

Shipping Labels

Containment Facility Inspections

A facility inspection may be required before a PPQ 526 Permit is issued. A PPQ inspector will document aspects of the facility to determine if the facility and equipment are adequate for containment of the organism(s). A PPQ containment specialist will evaluate the documentation and determine if the facility is adequate. In most cases, if the application is for the receipt of foreign organisms (i.e., foreign strain, biotype, race, isolate) or a Program Pest (i.e., currently under federal quarantine) the facility must be inspected. Diagnostic facilities are also inspected. The applicant will be informed if their facility must be inspected after review of the permit application. Guidelines are available.

Containment Facility Inspections

Contact Us

For questions about permits for regulated organisms and soil:

Pest Permits Team

Stakeholder/Customer Satisfaction Survey

One of the goals and objectives of the APHIS-PPQ- Permit Unit's Quality Management System is to increase our customer service awareness. To address this, we are initiating our Stakeholder/Customer Satisfaction Survey to hear from you. We need your valuable feedback to help us evaluate and improve our customer service. We would like to thank you in advance for completing the survey.

Take the Survey