Background

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has delayed from Jan. 1 to March 31 a change under which APHIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will accept only original phytosanitary certificates and forms for imports of plant commodities. The agencies had been allowing importers to upload copies of these documents in response to COVID-related challenges.

APHIS and CBP will continue to accept digital exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates through the ePhyto system, a government-to-government sharing of such documents. A paper certificate will 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.

Acceptable phytosanitary certificates include (1) those created through a participating country’s ePhyto system or signed paper forms and (2) foreign site certificates of inspection and/or treatment, including signed paper forms, signed copies of the master PPQ Form 203, and digitally signed electronic PPQ Form 203s.

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