Bringing home bulbs from Holland

herbthyme(6B ON)March 3, 2009

I will be visiting Holland this month, and would like to purchase some spring bulbs to bring home to Canada. Can anyone enlighten me as to the customs requirements for declaring them? As long as I purchased prepackaged bulbs, certified for export to Canada and the US, can I safely bring them home in my luggage?

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I am a grower and we import tens of thousands of plants from the Netherlands. It is not impossible to bring plants home from Holland but it requires preparation, money, and patience.

In order to import plants from the Netherlands you require an import permit. You will have to apply for it prior to leaving for the Netherlands and you will need to state exactly which genus (example: Gladiolus, Dahlia, etc.) you plan on bringing home with you. The cost of the import permit is about $ 50.00.

In addition, you will need a phytosanitary certificate from the Netherlands that states that the bulbs are grown under certain conditions. The phytosanitary certificate is issued by the company where you purchase your bulbs. There is a variable cost associated with this certificate.

Once you arrive in Canada with the bulbs and declare them to customs, they will inspect them. If there is any soil on the bulbs or plants, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Agriculture Canada) will probably confiscate them and charge you a fee to destroy the bulbs. They will also destroy the bulbs if they see that they do not appear on the import permit. It is very important that you add all the genera you want to import to the certificate.

As you can imagine, this is a costly and lengthy process for a private individual.

I have added a link for the import application should you decide to proceed.

Best of luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Import Permit application

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 6:01PM
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herbthyme(6B ON)

Thank you maryv montreal for your detailed message. However, you run a business, and I am just a traveler interested in a few bulbs for my home garden, so I delved deeper. I went to the Cdn Border Services Agency website and downloaded their 18 page document entitled "I Declare". I found out that I could bring home 20 kg of cheese if I wanted to ...(LOL)but nothing specific about bulbs. The site did give a phone number to call, but 2 people later, I was forwarded to CFIA which is the Cdn Food Inspection Agency (1-800-835-4486)

Jackpot. I can bring bulbs home as long as the following requirements are met:

a) for my own use, not for resale
b) dry packaged and labeled with no soil
c) of modest amounts (not by the bushel)
d) there should be a certificate of inspection sticker on each pkg from the grower in Holland

This is per code 060110-0002-01

I plan on printing a copy of this message and taking it with me, just in case I have any problems with declaring them when clearing customs.

I hope others may find this information useful.
And one more thing, I also found out that if I cross border shop in the US, I am allowed to bring home houseplants (pg 9 of 18) without a phytosanitary certificate, but this may not include cacti or orchids. This does not include bonsai, or plants for outside.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 10:59AM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

d) there should be a certificate of inspection sticker on each pkg from the grower in Holland

and as Mary as stated....this will cost you even if you bring home a few bulbs.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 3:51PM
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That is quite interesting about importing bulbs for personal use. I certainly think it is wise to bring along the paperwork your printed off from the Canada Border Inspection Agency.

Please let us all know how you fared.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 11:37PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Herbthyme, let us know how you make out with your bulbs when you arrive back in Canada.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 11:41PM
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herbthyme(6B ON)

Just an update. I am copying an e-mail I rec'd today, which answered my question. An 8 pg attachment(Directive D-01-02) was also sent to me outlining all the requirements. If you would like a copy, please contact Dominique Pelletier, for an e-mailed copy.

I am attaching a copy of the directive D-01-02 which sets the import requirements for Dutch bulbs imported into Canada by travelers. You will note that an import permit is not required as long as the package bear an import certificate. An example of such certificate is shown in appendix of the directive.

Dominique Pelletier
(613) 221-4570 : : Fax / Téléc.: (613) 228-6602
Horticulture Specialist, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Spécialiste en horticulture, Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments
59, Camelot Dr. : 59, Prom. Camelot Ottawa ON K1A 0Y9
Government of Canada : Gouvernement du Canada

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 2:52PM
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entirely off topic, but that's interesting about the cheese (20kg to a max of $20). I tried to bring a small amount of French cheese back to Canada but I had been in Belgium which at the time was proscribed. I pointed out at Pearson that the cheese was clearly from France, and had never been opened, so could not have been influenced by the bad Belgian cows, but no good. The officer did tell me though I could eat it there and then. I agree with maryv_montreal - it might be a good idea to print out your pages and relevant pages from something like the Automated Import Reference System.

Here is a link that might be useful: Automated Import Reference System

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 12:17PM
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herbthyme(6B ON)

Winnjoe - I couldn't access your link, but I plan on taking paper backup with me, to help in clearing customs at Pearson. I will post an update after I get back at the end of the month to let everyone know how I made out. Thanks for the support,

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:47AM
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