How to Obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate

Written by katherine williams
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How to Obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate
Field inspectors check seeds for pest infestation and disease. (agriculture-background image by Mykola Velychko from

There are two types of phytosanitary certifications--state and federal. State phytosanitary certification is required to ship agriculture goods like seeds and plants to other states. Federal phytosanitary certification is required when shipping agricultural products out of the country. The certificate confirms, to the receiving state or country, inspection of the shipped goods. Furthermore, the federal phytosanitary certification affirms that the commodities adhere to a foreign country's compliance of safety guidelines.

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  1. 1

    Apply for state phytosanitary certification by contacting your state's department of agriculture. The agriculture department's "plant quality officer" will send a state inspector to gather test samples from your facility.

  2. 2

    Apply for federal phytosanitary certification by contacting the United States Department of Agriculture. Complete an application (see Resources section) to have your plants and/or seed products inspected for export.

  3. 3

    Endorse a check, payable to your state's agriculture department, for sample analysis testing, if you are applying for state phytosanitary certification. If you are applying for federal certification, remit your check to USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The fee for federal testing as of June 2010 is £50 for commercial shipments, £27 for non-commercial shipments.

Tips and warnings

  • There are several fees associated with obtaining the phytosanitary certificates. These fees may include sample collection fees, testing fees, certificate fees, and administrative fees. Phytosanitary certificates will be issued only if your product samples test negative for diseases and pest infestations.

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