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Before you apply for a permit to import plants or plant products

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

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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 from the Continental U.S. require a permit, please consult CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). We recommend 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.

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 ensuring that your application form is complete and accurate. You must also print and sign your name in the appropriate fields. Incomplete or unsigned applications may 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

Should the CFIA determine a permit is to be issued, once all required permit application information has been received, a review of the information has taken place and the information has been verified by the Centre of Administration, the Centre of Administration will strive to process it within their standard processing times.


Peak season is between December and April. During this period the time required for the review and processing of the application, may be longer. When possible, the CFIA encourages you to submit your application during the off-season (June to September).

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