Questions and Answers - Permit Application Process

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What You Need to Know Before Applying for a Permit to Import Plants or Plant Products

How do I know if I need a permit?

Most plants or plant products originating from the Continental United States (U.S.) do not require a permit. To find out what plants or plant products require a permit from the Continental U.S., please consult the List of propagative plant material and other commodities that require an import permit if originating (i.e. place of propagation) from the Continental United States. We advise that you submit an application for a permit for all material being imported from any place other than the Continental U.S. Most import permits are valid for three years.

Find out more about what is required to import certain commodities by visiting the Automated Import Reference System.

Can a permit be issued for a shipment that has already arrived in Canada?

No. A permit must be issued before the shipment leaves the country of origin. Any imported plant or plant product that arrives in Canada without proper documentation will be ordered destroyed or removed from the country at the owner's expense under the authority of the Plant Protection Act and Regulations.

How can I expedite my application process?

You can expedite your application process by completely filling out the application form. You must also print and sign your name in the appropriate fields. Incomplete applications will be returned to you and will therefore result in delays.

Furthermore, applications with common names of plants will be returned for correction. The permit office only accepts scientific names as per the Plant Protection Regulations.

Do I need to attach other documents to my application when importing for scientific research?

No attached documents are required, however you must include on your application form a description of the research such as an outline and/or explanation of the proposed research project.

How long will it take to receive my permit?

Once all required permit application information is received, a review of the information takes place and the information is verified by the CFIA. Should the CFIA determine a permit is to be issued, it will be done as soon as possible on a first come first serve basis. Note: Peak season is between December and April. During this period the delay for the review and processing of the application, may be longer. When at all possible, the CFIA encourages you to submit your application during the off-season (June to September).

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