Shipping Requirements for Importing Plant and Plant Products Requiring Green and Yellow (PPQ 508) Labels

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is using electronic barcoded shipping labels for Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) imports that require shipping labels. APHIS has created a cost and time saving process for emailing non-gummed labels. Shipping labels and detailed instructions for using the labels will be emailed to the permittee as an attached PDF to the email address on record.

A shipping label directs the shipment to a designated port of entry or USDA Plant Inspection Station (PIS) where shipments are inspected and cleared by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and/or a United States Department of Agriculture (APHIS) inspector. Each label is individually numbered with a distinctive barcode. The permit conditions will state if a shipping label is required for the shipment, as not all permits require shipping labels. The PPQ 508 shipping labels are only required for importation, and not for domestic movement.

When shipments are to be imported by mail, the permittee should request a green and yellow mailing label for each parcel. Instructions for its use will be included with the label. If you are importing plants and seeds by mail (including express carrier parcel shipments), please instruct your supplier to attach to your parcel(s) the green and yellow labels that you requested as outlined in the conditions of your permit. It is especially important that the permittee's name, address, telephone number, and permit number be enclosed with each parcel. Instruct your supplier to place only green and yellow labels, and NOT your name or address, on the outside of the parcel. Green and yellow labels should be used only for mail importation. You may request the PPQ Form 508 (Green/Yellow labels) on-line through ePermits under the “My Shipments/Labels” feature. Otherwise, send your request to GreenandyellowPlantslabelrequest@aphis.usda.gov. Specify the approved port(s) listed on the permit where you wish the plant materials sent and the total number of labels needed in a multiple of four.

If the shipment is to be delivered by an express carrier, such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, etc., the address on the international airway bill must be the intended Plant Inspection Station (PIS). DO NOT INCLUDE PERSONAL SHIPMENT ADDRESS.  In addition, include a pre-paid domestic airway bill with your account number inside the box from the carrier of your choice that will ensure delivery to the final destination.

Shipments must be imported and presented for inspection at a USDA, PIS or designated port listed on the permit or the green and yellow label.If a shipment arrives at a port without a PIS, and CBP is not authorized to perform the inspection per the existing Memorandum of Understanding between our two agencies, then, any subsequent movement to a PIS, or any transfer and/or transloading, must be approved by USDA and/or CBP.

Labeling Specifics:

A maximum of four labels are generated per page to fit on 8 ½” x 11” sheets of paper in landscape orientation. Labels must be printed in color and securely attached to the exterior of each package using clear tape.

Hand Carry:

Green and Yellow labels are not required for hand carrying permitted articles. Permitted articles may be hand carried into the United States only if certain requirements are met. Hand carrying must be requested in the application and authorized in the permit conditions. The permit conditions will list the specific steps that must be taken in order to hand-carry the articles into the U.S. The applicant may request that someone else be allowed to hand carry the plant materials for them. However, that person must be identified on the permit by APHIS as being able to hand carry for them. The authorized hand-carrier must follow the permit conditions for the hand-carried shipment.