You used to be able to import small lots (50 or less) of pepper seeds with a small lots permit. But back in 2021, the USDA started requiring a phytosanitary certificate for tomatoes and peppers, effectively destroying international seed trade. I also received an email from the USDA stating they were no longer issuing or renewing small lots permits.
An import permit issued by APHIS specifies which seed species can enter the country and under what conditions. These conditions can include treatment, packaging, labeling, and shipping requirements, among other things. Only U.S. residents may apply for an import permit.
Most seeds for planting require a PPQ 587–Permit to Import Plants or Plant Products
. Some seeds are prohibited or restricted and may enter the United States only under a special permit and after meeting additional requirements. Please see Seeds with Additional Requirements
for more information.
To determine which permit you need, visit APHIS’ Plants and Plant Products Permits website
or contact APHIS’ Permits Help Desk by phone (301) 851-2046, toll free (877) 770-5990, or email email@example.com
Applying for a Permit
U.S. residents can apply for an import permit at no cost using APHIS eFile
. To begin, you must first create an account. Once you are registered, you may apply for a permit. Issuance of a Permit may take up to two months depending on the amount of permit being handled throughout the year and the complexity of the permit.
Tomato and pepper seed from all countries requires testing for virus and viroid diseases. These seeds must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate from the country of origin with the additional declaration that says “the seeds have been tested for (name of virus/viroid) of quarantine significance prior to entry into the United States or that the seeds are produced in a country in which these (name of virus/viroid) are not known to occur.”
Small quantities of tomato and pepper seeds are not eligible for import under a PPQ 587 permit for Small Lots of Seed