International Round Robins?

gardenfaerie(z5b Michigan)January 1, 2010

Hello! I'm wondering whether any of you has mailed a seed round robin to someone overseas, and more importantly, if they were able to mail it back to the US. As far as I can tell, I only need a normal customs form to get it out, but it seems it's really hard to get it back in. If anyone outside the US (especially England) has ever mailed a bunch of homemade seed packets successfully to the US, I'd really appreciate knowing what the procedure is. Thanks!

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A faster way to found out would be to go to the post office and ask. You'll have to go there anyway to get the proper forms and postage prices. You might be able to get some information at also.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 10:38AM
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gardenfaerie(z5b Michigan)

I've been to the post office. That's how I found out that i can mail seeds overseas. They were less clear on what had to be done to import them. There's no info banning seeds at, but there is from the US Dept of Ag. The Ag info is confusing ( and USPS doesn't seem to be up on it.

That's why I asked if anyone from a country *other then the US* has successfully shipped a robin in. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 10:45AM
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suecirish(6 SE MA)

You are correct that the USPS has nothing to do with seeds being sent INTO the US. That is the domain of US Customs enforcing the regulations set forth by US Dept of Agriculture, as you found. The USPS has no jurisdiction over WHAT is being sent out of the US to other countries (except for shipping of hazardous materials), and is only responsible to enforce that customs forms are completed and the proper postage is paid.

The proper and legal procedure is to apply and pay for the phyto. certificate from Agriculture, and then to have the sender complete a form with your certificate number and attach it to the package, so Customs can turn the package over to Ag. to be inspected before then being shipped on to you. Customs has the right and responsibility to confiscate any package determined to have plant products that are being shipped without the necessary certificate and so notify the recipient.

Each country has its own regulations and restrictions about what can be sent in and out. The US is one of the strictest with its regulations. Usually if you are ordering plant material from a big overseas commercial dealer, they will take care of all the business end for you and you don't even need to get the phyto. certificate.

All that being said, I have had several private individual swaps (not group/round robin) with people in other countries, including Canada, Netherlands, Malaysia and Hungary. I have received all envelopes intact without any inspection. I do not have a certificate, and the senders do not use customs forms or otherwise label the contents as "seeds." I do know other people who have said that their seeds have been confiscated on one or two occasions, but not always. When confiscated, they receive a letter notifying them of that action, but nothing else. So I guess my actions are illegal. You have to make the decision regarding what you will do.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 12:49PM
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gardenfaerie(z5b Michigan)

Thanks, Sue! That's the most informative answer I've found! i think that I will not send the swap overseas as i don't want to risk it being confiscated or otherwise not making it back. I can see that for one-on-one swaps it would be worth it not to label it as seeds, but for a big package like a round-robin i think it would be more obvious. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 12:55PM
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I traded with someone in pakistan, when I labeled them seeds they did not get there but when I just sent them no label they got thru slow but they made it. so I agree with Sue

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 10:29PM
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