UPDATE: APHIS Will No Longer Accept Unoriginal Electronic Phytosanitary Certificates and Forms After March 31, 2022


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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), responded to the unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic on trade by allowing importers of plant commodities to upload copies of phytosanitary certificates and forms.

Starting March 31, 2022, APHIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will accept only original phytosanitary certificates and forms for plant commodities. PPQ and CBP will continue to accept digital exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates through the ePhyto system—a government-to-government sharing of electronic phytosanitary certificates.

The APHIS Core message set supports the transmission of ePhytos. A paper certificate would not need to be presented for cargo clearance by U.S. officials if the certificate is an ePhyto with a proper declaration in the APHIS Core message set using the PG13/14 code AE1. Please review the list of participating ePhyto countries.

Note: A trading partner that is marked “Yes” may choose to not send an ePhyto message set for a shipment. This could be due to limitations with the country’s system, outages, or other reasons.

 Acceptable phytosanitary certificates include:

  • Certificates created through a participating country’s ePhyto system, or signed paper forms.
  • Acceptable foreign site certificates of inspection and/or treatment include signed paper forms, signed copies of the master PPQ Form 203, and digitally signed electronic PPQ Form 203s.

For more information about plant or plant product imports, email plantproducts.permits@usda.gov or call 1-877-770-5990. For questions about plant or plant product exports, contact your local export certification specialist or email ppqexportservices@usda.gov.

PPQ is committed to facilitating the safe trade of agricultural products. We continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and will provide updates as needed. Be sure to regularly check the APHIS website for the latest information.