Are Seeds Okay To Take On A Flight? Our Guide!
If your travelling with seeds when flying there’s unfortunately not a wide range of information available regarding the rules, differing from country to country.
Most of the time, if you are flying domestically then there is no issue taking any kind of seed on a plane. However, when flying internationally the rules change. In terms of luggage, you can carry seeds in both your carry on and suitcase.
Down below in our guide we will take you through why seeds might not be allowed on a plane, other agricultural products which aren’t allowed on a plane, how to pack seeds for travelling and some tips for travelling with seeds and plants from abroad.
Why Are Seeds Not Allowed On Some Planes?
For the majority of airlines, TSA does not have rules on whether you can or cannot bring seeds on the plane, they can be packed in both hands and hold luggage with no issues, what matters is where you are flying to.
If you are flying to a domestic country, seeds of any kind are typically okay to fly with no matter the plant type as long as the plant seeds are not illegal.
For foreign countries, the type of plant products you are bringing matters, for example, if travelling to the US with seeds you are not allowed to bring seeds for trees or shrubs to the country from departure, only seeds for herb plants.
You would also need to bring a phytosanitary certificate to meet customs entry requirements and ensure there are no foreign pests and the plant seeds will be examined at the border.
We’ve listed some other rules for different countries’ entry requirements below.
Australia can be very strict on what international flights can bring into their country’s agriculture wise, you are not allowed to bring live plants in the country and only certain permitted species of seeds.
- Declare at customs (they might be sanitized or destroyed).
- Ensure they are pest-free.
- Check if it needs an import permit from the Department of agriculture, water and the environment.
To enter the EU with foreign plants from abroad you can bring both plants and seeds but you will need a phytosanitary certificate like the US, also avoid bringing blacklisted or illegal seeds and plants into the European country.
You will also need to declare them for further checks.
- Plants and seeds are allowed depending on the species.
- Should be declared with a phytosanitary certificate.
What Are The Rules For Agricultural Products & Flying?
Bringing plants and animal products in general from your country of origin to a foreign country is always risky, they could be confiscated and destroyed if they do not meet the requirements or have the right certification.
We’ve listed some general rules for bringing agricultural products on a plane below which apply to the US but also some other countries such as the EU.
- Fruit & veg – As we mentioned above, not all fruit and veg or plant and seeds need permission to be brought into the US but they must always be declared to customs so as they can be found pest free. Seeds and plants always need a phytosanitary certificate if they are brought for growing.
- Live animals and birds – The rules on bringing animals and live birds into the US vary a lot according to the type of animal. Some might need certification and quarantine as well as certain permits.
- Soil and sand – No soil, sand or minerals are allowed to be brought into the US unless a permit is obtained beforehand. If you have visited a farm your clothes and shoes might need to be inspected too.
- Biological material – Antibodies, vaccines and other kinds of biological substances need to be declared when brought into the country.
- Meat and other animal products – For the US, a lot of canned, fresh and other kinds of dried meats are not allowed to be brought in on a plane due to the risk of hand, foot and mouth. Animal hunting trophies are also restricted.
Why Is It Important To Declare Seeds You Are Travelling With?
Many people might find the rules regarding seeds and other agricultural products to be overwhelming or over the top when flying, however, the permits and processes are very important to protect the country you are flying to.
First of all, seeds from restricted countries might not be allowed into a certain country if it doesn’t fit the country’s environment or if they are not native. Putting these plants in soil could affect other plants and animals causing an outbreak.
Not to mention if agricultural items are carrying pests from the country of origin it could lead to severe health outbreaks of plant disease in the country you are flying to, affecting other plants, animals and even humans, think COVID-19 in this case.
How To Pack Seeds For A Plane
If you’ve checked the rules of where you are flying to or you are flying domestically and allowed to take seeds on the plane you might be wondering what the best way is to pack them for your flight.
We’ve listed a few worth knowing tips for packing your seeds below.
- Make sure they are easy to access – If you are travelling with your seeds internationally and you know they will need to be checked by customs make sure you can get to them quickly in your carry on luggage.
- Keep them sealed – When possible keep seeds in their original packaging and ensure they are sealed well to prevent them from spilling over your luggage, this goes for domestic flights and international flights.
- Remember permits and certification – The last thing you want is to transport your seeds to your country of destination only to find you didn’t have the required certification or permits on hand, double-check you have packed everything you need before flying.
Overall, plant seeds and agricultural items are mostly okay to take on a plane if flying domestically, for flying internationally however there are more restrictions on the import of plant seeds, with most countries requiring the examination of plants at customs.
Double-check the permits and certifications you might need for your certain seeds before flying to avoid potential fines and confiscation at the border.