Exporting Seed to the United States from Canada – An Overview
Imports of seed into the United States are governed by the U.S. Federal Seed Act.
- All lots of seed must be accompanied by a declaration from the importer. The declaration must state the kind, variety, and origin of each lot of seed and the use for which the seed is being imported.
- Each container of seed must be labeled. The label must include:
- The identification code or designation
- The name of the crop kind and the variety of seed. Hybrid seed must be identified.
- Prior approval has to be obtained to import treated seed. If approved, the label must indicate that it has been treated, and the name of the substance or the process used to treat the seed must be on the label. A sample of untreated seed from that same lot must accompany the shipment.
- If the seed is being imported in bulk, the information above must be provided on the invoice or other official forms that must accompany the seed.
- While Phytosanitary certificates are required for imports from other countries, they are not required for seed from Canada. For Canadian seed, an acceptable Seed Analysis Certificate (either USDA PPQ form 925 or CFIA form 5289) can be provided in lieu of a phytosanitary certificate. One certificate per seed lot is required.
- At the first point of arrival in the United States, the seed must be sampled and inspected by an inspector from the Animal and Plant Health Service (APHIS). The seed has to stay at the point of first arrival until it is released by the Inspector. Samples are examined for the presence of noxious weeds and the accuracy o fthe label. If there are noxious weeds present above allowable levels, or if the seed is deemed to be adulterated, it may be rejected, destroyed or other actions may be required. (see the US Federal Seed Act)
This doesn’t apply if:
- The seed is not being imported for planting
- The seed is being imported for experimental purposes and is not for sale
- The seed was originally grown in the USA, was exported and is returning. Documentation regarding the export must be provided.
Exporting Seed to the United States from Canada – Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a place where I can find all of the requirements for exporting seed to the United States?
All seed imported into the United States must comply with the Federal Seed Act.
Does seed going to the United States have to be a variety that is registered in the United States?
The United States does not require varieties to be registered.
Does seed going to the United States have to be pedigreed?
While the seed must be accompanied by an acceptable Seed Analysis Certificate, it need not be of a pedigreed grade to enter the United States.
Are fees charged?
Under the Federal Seed Act, fees are not charged for APHIS inspection services if performed during regulatory scheduled hours. Refer to the APHIS website here for further information.
Are phytosanitary certificates required?
Seed from Canada that is of an approved crop kind does not generally require phytosanitary certificates to enter the United States. The United States will accept an acceptable USDA PPQ form 925 in lieu of a phytosanitary certificate.
Does seed coming into the United States from Canada have to be labeled?
Yes, seed must be labeled in accordance with the U.S. Federal Seeds Act. Labeling requirements as described in point 2 above can be found on the USDA website.
Are there special requirements for genetically modified seeds (plants with novel traits)?
In some cases.