Export Certification Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I apply for a federal phytosanitary certificate?
NDA now requires all federal phytosanitary certificates to be applied for electronically through the federal PCIT system. You can find PCIT at the their website. A user name and password must be obtained to access PCIT. Follow the directions on the sign-up menu for Level One Access. For assistance in setting up your account contact the PCIT Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-457-7248.
How long does it take to get a federal phytosanitary certificate?
Our turn-around time is 2-3 business days from the time the application is received by NDA staff. Turnaround time may be extended if the importing country requires special inspections or if a laboratory analysis result is required.
What if I have insufficient funds to pay for a federal phytosanitary certificate?
We cannot process a request if there are insufficient funds in your PCIT account.
Why do I need a federal phytosanitary certificate?
You need a phytosanitary certificate when the destination country or state requires one for the commodity you’re shipping to them. NDA will research this information for you.
Why does NDA say I don’t need a phytosanitary certificate but my customer says I do?
There is a difference between documentation required by a foreign government official and a request made by your customer. Not all countries require a phytosanitary certificate for all commodities as a condition of entry. If a phytosanitary certificate is not required for a commodity you wish to ship but your customer has requested you obtain one, NDA can issue the certificate as a courtesy provided the commodity is eligible for one.
What is an import permit?
An import permit is a document issued by a national government authorizing the importation of plants/plant products into its territory. An import permit is issued by the foreign government to your foreign customer, establishing certification requirements for your product; an import permit might be specific to your particular shipment. If a country’s requirements list an import permit as mandatory, we cannot issue a phytosanitary certificate without one. The import permit is not issued to you but to the importer, you will obtain the permit from them. You must provide us with a copy of the original AND an official English translation if necessary.
Can I get a phytosanitary certificate if the shipment is already en route?
What do I do if a shipment has left the country without an inspection and I don’t have phytosanitary inspection required by the destination?
A phytosanitary certificate cannot be issued by NDA for such shipments. Your options are to have the shipment diverted to a country that does not require phytosanitary certification; have the shipment returned to the U.S. for official inspection and reshipment; allow the shipment to proceed to destination without certification which, depending on the inspecting officials, may result in destruction or indefinite delays.
What are my responsibilities as an exporter?
- Your application must be submitted through PCIT enough in advance to allow adequate time for NDA to arrange for sampling and inspection.
- You must make the shipment available for inspection.
- Shipments cannot be inspected on board aircraft, ships, in tightly packed shipping containers. Items in the shipment must be spaced far enough apart in storage to permit inspection.
- The exporter is responsible to provide the labor necessary to open and seal packages for inspection and to transport packages/commodities from storage to inspection and back.
- The exporter is responsible to provide adequate facilities to perform the inspection, including supplies, equipment, and proper lighting
- The exporter is responsible to provide all the necessary documents to meet an importing country’s requirements.
- The exporter is responsible for any needed translations of an official document. Such translations must be “official translations” certified in writing as an accurate translation before an ACO can accept it.
- Provide any required treatments, duly documented and legally performed
- Export only those plants or plant products which have been inspected and certified
- Safeguard the shipment from infestation between the inspection and shipment.
* Excerpted from Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Plant Division