Background

Starting Oct. 1, the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will permanently allow importers of plant commodities to upload copies of phytosanitary certificates and forms to the Automated Commercial Environment using the Document Image System. Acceptable documents will include the following.

- original hardcopies of phytosanitary certificates on plain paper or security paper that are wet signed or digitally signed

- scans of signed original hardcopies of phytosanitary certificates and forms

- original hardcopies of foreign site certificates of inspection and/or treatment that are wet signed or digitally signed, and wet signed or digitally signed copies of the master PPQ Form 203

- scans or digital copies of signed foreign site certificates of inspection and/or treatment and master PPQ Form 203s

- phytosanitary certificates created through a participating country’s ePhyto system

APHIS and CBP will also continue to accept digital exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates through the ePhyto system, a government-to-government sharing of electronic phytosanitary certificates. 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.

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