When plants and plant products are imported into the EU, there is a risk that new plant pests come with them, such as insects, nematodes, bacteria and virus. The so called quarantine pests are plant pests that have no or limited presence in the EU and that may cause substantial negative consequences if they spread here. The plant protection rules aim to prevent the spread of quarantine pests.
The EU countries have common plant protection rules on the import of plants and plant products from non-EU countries. These rules apply to both private individuals and to companies. Read more about the rules for private individuals to the left. There are certain possibilities for exceptions from the plant protection rules for import for scientific purposes, as we describe further down this page.
Some plants and plant products are banned from entry into the EU
Some plants from countries outside the EU you may not bring into the EU at all because of the severe risk that they may spread serious plant pests.
Import ban applies for example for plants of many species of conifers, citrus, Vitis, fruit trees, grasses and potato. In some cases the ban depends on which country the plant comes from.
You may not bring soil and other growing media, except pure peat, from most non-EU countries. Read more under More information.
We have made a summary of the plant protection import bans (only available in Swedish) which you find under More information.
Some other plants you may not bring into the EU because they are endangered. You find a link to our web page about endangered species under More information.
Import of both seed and ware potato is strictly regulated
Import of potato is strictly regulated. The reason is that potato is such an important crop and there are several severe potato diseases that threaten the possibilities for potato production and trade.
Seed potato is only allowed to be imported from Switzerland, of the non-EU countries. Such potato need to be certified seed and have a phytosanitary certificate.
Ware and industrial potato from a non-EU country needs a phytosanitary certificate. Import is only allowed from the following countries: Algeria, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Serbia, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey and Tunisia.
Potato import from certain areas in Egypt and Lebanon is also allowed to the EU, however at present there are no approved points of entry in Sweden for import of potato from these countries.
Please note that it is illegal to import any kind of potato for example from Norway and South America. This applies also to private individuals.
Plants, seeds and other plant products that must have a phytosanitary certificate
All plants that can be grown further (except seeds) must have a so-called phytosanitary certificate. Plants that can be grow further includes whole plants, cuttings, grafts, bulbs, tubers, rhizomes and any other plant propagation material.
A phytosanitary certificate is also required for many seeds intended from sowing and some fruits, vegetables and cut flowers.
Also wood from most conifers and some deciduous species require a phytosanitary certificate, if the wood is relatively raw. Bark from all conifers and some deciduous trees should have phytosanitary certificate if it comes from certain countries.
With few exceptions you also need a phytosanitary certificate for soil and growing media accompanying plants.
We have made two summaries of products that must have a phytosanitary certificate (only available in Swedish). One covers wood and the other covers plants and plant products other than wood. You find the summaries under More information. Note also the phytosanitary import bans above, which are listed in the same summaries.
What is a phytosanitary certificateand how do I get it?
A phytosanitary certificate is a document which the plant protection service of the exporting country issues after they have inspected the goods and found that it meets the requirements. The phytosanitary certificate shows that the goods fulfil the importing country's requirements regarding freedom from quarantine pests.
The Swedish import requirements conform to the EU plant protection rules. You find a link under Rules.
Contact the Plant Protection Service of the exporting country to get a phytosanitary certificate for a plant or plant product to be imported to the EU. You will probably have to pay a fee. If the Plant Protection Service has any questions about the Swedish plant protection import rules, they may contact us.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture makes a plant health inspection at the border
When the plant or plant product comes to Sweden the Swedish Board of Agriculture inspects the phytosanitary certificate and the plant or plant product itself. The fee is 450 SEK, or more for large consignments. If the goods do not comply with the EU import requirements we may reject the entry into the country or have the goods destroyed. To get an inspection, you must notify the arrival of the goods to us. Use the form on the right. The inspection takes place in Malmö, Helsingborg, Gothenburg, Landvetter, Stockholm or Arlanda. The importer in Sweden needs to be registered as an importer by the Swedish Board of Agriculture.
Contact our Plant Control Unit for detailed information about registration as an importer, import fees and routines for the inspection etc.
Wood packaging material
The plant protection rules for import of wood packaging material to Sweden and the EU conform to the international standard ISPM 15. You find a link to our information about wood packaging material under More information.
If you work on varieties, trials or other scientific activities and need to import a plant, plant product, quarantine pest or growing medium, you can apply for an exception from the plant protection import requirements. If there is an import ban, you may get a permit to import the banned item under certain conditions. If your plant, plant product or growing medium cannot fulfil the requirements for a phytosanitary certificate, you may get a permit to import the item without the certificate, under certain conditions.
You find the form for applying for an exception to the import requirements under Forms.
You need an import permit for certain plant pests
Organisms from the plant or animal kingdom, mycoplasma or other organisms that can cause disease or other harm to plants must not be brought to Sweden unless you have a permit from the Swedish Board of Agriculture. You find the form for applying for such a permit under Forms.
Other rules for the import of plants and plant products
In addition to the plant protection rules, many other rules apply to the import of plants and plant products into the EU. Please contact us for more information on:
- Endangered species
- Variety listing
- Seed certification
- Marketing standards
- Organic products
- Import licenses for example for sugar, rice and cereals
- Genetically modified organisms
- Placing seed on the market
- Placing plants on the market
- Placing potato on the market
In addition to the Swedish Board of Agriculture, other authorities may have rules that apply. Please read more under Authorities.